Repetitive Strain Injury in Southend-on-Sea & Leigh-on-Sea, Essex

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Repetitive Strain Injury

We offer advice and treatment for repetitive strain injury in Southend at The Body Matters. Treatments are available from our clinic based in Leigh-on-Sea, Southend, Essex. We also offer telephone & online support and remote consultations.

What is repetitive strain injury?

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a condition stemming from overuse of muscles, tendons, and nerves, causing pain and discomfort. It commonly affects the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and neck, manifesting as stiffness, numbness, tingling, and weakness. Typing, using a mouse, playing musical instruments, or lifting heavy objects are frequent culprits.

What causes repetitive strain injury?

Repetitive strain injuries can be caused by the repetition, duration and/or intensity of our routine and recreational activities. Although mild to moderate cases can resolve with rest and activity modification, this is not always easy where precise activity patterns that are part and parcel of our work can lead to such pain and stiffness.

The more focused and dedicated we are in our jobs and routines, the more habitual such stresses on the body become and can manifest in persistent pain and suffering. These could be nasty muscle knots, technically known as trigger points, which are small patches of localized muscle spasm and involve no actual damage to the muscle.

Are there any complications associated with RSI?

Complications of repetitive strain injury (RSI) include chronic pain, decreased mobility, and loss of function in affected areas. Persistent symptoms can impact daily activities and diminish quality of life. Without proper management, RSI may lead to long-term musculoskeletal issues, such as tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome. Mental health effects, including anxiety and depression due to chronic pain, are also possible. Ignoring symptoms or failing to address underlying causes can exacerbate complications. Early intervention, proper treatment, and lifestyle adjustments are essential for mitigating the impact of RSI and preventing further complications.

What type of pain is associated with RSI?

Muscle pain can be incredibly intense, to the point that some people cannot lift their head off the pillow in the morning if their neck is stiff and painful. Conventional wisdom tells us that such intense pain and significant impact on our lives must be some type of serious pathology or injury; we do not consider that it could be just a repetitive strain of some muscles.

Most of these issues are “non-specific” which covers pains that have no specific pathology or mechanism of injury that has a well-understood healing or treatment process. The non-specific nature of these types of pains makes them difficult to manage in the medical setting as there can be other factors involved in, first, the intensity of the pain and secondly the persistent nature, i.e. why is it lasting so long?

Strain, pain, spasm, contracture, scar tissue, tone, tension, and stiffness are all poorly understood and routinely confused. They are not only surprisingly complex topics scientifically, but clinicians are not always aware of the research that has been done.

Some theories describe the underlying pathophysiology of repetitive strain injuries and include incomplete repair of local muscle tissue, but there also could be local scarring, tendon changes or even injury to the local nerve or connective tissues that make up the soft tissues in the region other than the muscles themselves.

Should I rest a repetitive strain injury?

When dealing with repetitive strain injuries, usually, the advice these days with non-acute injuries is to get the affected area moving again as soon as possible. The movement itself can improve circulation and have a healing effect on the injury, promoting healing and regeneration of the tissue. However, it is not always easy to follow this advice without encountering more problems, especially when you are not dealing with a fresh injury, but a repetitive, chronic issue that keeps flaring up whenever you move it in a certain way.

Can RSI be prevented?

Preventing Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) involves adopting ergonomic practices, taking regular breaks, maintaining proper posture and technique, and incorporating stretching and strengthening exercises into daily routines. Using ergonomic equipment, such as supportive chairs and ergonomic keyboards, can reduce strain. Varying tasks and avoiding prolonged periods of repetitive motion are essential. Regular breaks allow muscles to rest and recover while stretching exercises improve flexibility and reduce tension. Proper posture and technique distribute stress evenly across muscles and joints, minimising the risk of injury. Overall, a proactive approach to ergonomics and movement habits can significantly reduce the likelihood of developing RSI.

Are there any treatments available for repetitive strain injuries?

Muscle pain is mostly simple to diagnose and self-treat, yet plenty of people seek treatment for muscle strains that have been diagnosed incorrectly as something else or have something else that has been misdiagnosed as a muscle strain.

Complications arise in the diagnosis and management when we take into consideration that persistent tissue sensitivity does not always occur due to tissue injury but can be due to adaptations in the nervous system that increase sensory input to the brain. The process of increased sensitivity can lead to a more vigilante protective system, which affects motor control to tense the muscles in the affected region to protect from further perceived injury. The pain is worse and we tense up to protect ourselves from the pain, which irritates the muscles further. Essentially, a vicious cycle!

Therefore, it is important to rule out more serious pathology before determining a plan of action to manage a repetitive strain injury.

Management will often include manual treatments such as massage or dry needling, but should also include advice on activity adaptation and rehabilitation to desensitise the area and avoid deconditioning and weakening of the area through avoidance of painful movements.

Remote Consultations Available

We continue to use remote consultations to provide our services without physical interaction, if required, by shifting some appointments to video consultations.

Read our Remote Consultations page for more information.

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Call 01702 714968 for more information about treatment for repetitive strain injury in Southend-on-Sea & Leigh-on-Sea Essex at The Body Matters.

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We are open on weekdays and Saturdays, with early morning and evening appointments available on request. We offer remote consultations to provide our services without physical interaction.

To book an appointment telephone 01702 714968 or click here to send us an email.