Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) Treatment


Repetitive Strain Injury, or RSI, is an increasingly common condition in America today. RSI is caused by overuse – repetitious use – of particular muscle and joint systems. One of the most common systems that gets overused is the wrist and hand. Computer users, musicians and athletes are especially prone to experiencing RSIs in this area.

What are some common repetitive strain injuries?

There are certain key areas in the body where repetitive strain injuries are more likely to occur. This is largely because we rely on certain systems more than others to function in our daily lives.

Some of the most common RSIs include the following:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: Pressure on a specific nerve in the wrist/hand area, the “median” nerve, causes carpal tunnel syndrome’s suite of symptoms, including numbness, tingling, pain and mobility issues.
  • Tendonitis: The tendons in the affected area become swollen and torn, resulting in pain and mobility issues.
  • Tenosynovitis: Both the tendons and the tendon sheaths in the affected area become injured and inflamed.
  • Epicondylitis: Also called “tennis elbow,” Epicondylitis actually refers to a couple of different RSIs that can affect the joint in the elbow.
  • Bursitis: Inflammation of the cushioning sac (the “bursa”) separating joints and muscles/tendons is the cause of bursitis.
  • Dystonia: Often termed “writer’s cramp,” dystonia causes involuntary cramping, twitching and/or spasming in the hand/wrist area.

There are many other variations and permutations on these common RSI themes, of course, and each relates directly back to the type of repetitive use that has been occurring.

What Causes Repetitive Strain Injuries?

The cause of repetitive strain injuries is actually quite simple – overuse. Overuse, plain and simple, is what requires the system of muscles/ligaments/tendons/joints to continue functioning without rest for extended periods of time. This can lead to inflammation, tears and tissue breakdown over time.

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What are the signs and symptoms of a RSI?

The symptoms of any RSI may vary depending on the type it is and the area where it is located. However, some symptoms are found across the board regardless of type.

The most common symptoms of any RSI include these:

  • Shooting and/or constant dull pain
  • Mobility issues
  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Tingling
  • Muscle spasms, twitches and/or cramps
  • Uncomfortable pressure and swelling in the area
  • Weakness

How can chiropractic care help heal repetitive strain injuries?

Chiropractic care focuses on treating imbalances in the nervous and musculoskeletal system. However, spinal manipulation, while one of the best-known forms of chiropractic treatment, is not the only treatment offered through chiropractic care.

Chiropractors skilled in treating RSIs often also prescribe rehabilitative exercises and stretches, dietary and nutritional guidance, biofeedback, ergonomic guidance, therapeutic tools and more as supplements to the manual manipulation being performed.

How Long is the Typical Healing Process?

Receptive strain injuries tend to be exacerbated daily due to the nature of the affected person’s daily activities. For this reason, it can be difficult to predict just how long the healing process will take.

However, what is known is that the earlier treatment is sought for RSI issues, the less severe and prolonged such injuries tend to be. This is because typically, not all of the injury is caused by the repetitive movements alone. Some of the root causes can also be traced back to ergonomics, lifestyle, dietary imbalances and inter-system body issues. Treatment can address areas where immediate change is possible while working with the patient to ease symptoms in areas where total rest is not possible.

What Works to Heal Repetitive Strain Injuries?

From the growing body of research, it has become clear that past treatments for RSIs are largely ineffective. Surgery, prolonged use of corticosteroids and over-the-counter NSAID pain relievers and cortisone shots may provide temporary relief. But the only truly effective long-term treatment comes in the form of rest combined with therapeutic intervention that helps the entire affected body system begin to function with more ease.

Since it is very difficult for many individuals suffering from RSIs to take full rest, the best approach tends to involve regular non-invasive therapeutic treatments (such as chiropractic care) combined with dietary changes, nutritional supplements, ergonomic changes at home and at work, rehabilitative stretches and exercises and direct stimulation of the injured system (through ultrasound, massage and other complementary modalities).

Why Chiropractic for RSIs?

Chiropractic practitioners are certified as physicians to provide care for RSIs, low back pain and other common health issues. Because chiropractic takes a whole-person approach to treating any localized issue, resolution of repetitive use issues tends to be long-lasting so long as the patient fully adheres to the recommended treatment plan.

Chiropractic care is also non-invasive (as compared with surgical alternatives) and thus carries with it a low risk of side effects (addition to prescription pain medication, surgical complications, relapse, et al).

Contact Us Today

Here at Heron Lakes Spine & Wellness Center, our highly trained staff offers a comprehensive approach to issues of pain related to repetitive use injuries. From spinal manipulation to therapeutic stretches and exercises, nutrition and dietary counseling to ultrasound and electric muscle stimulation, massage to myofascial release and manual traction, we design a customized treatment plan for each patient we treat. Just as no two patients are alike, no two treatment plans will ever be exactly alike.

The first step towards healing from repetitive use injuries is the patient-doctor consultation. We invite you to take that first step towards finding relief from your RSI pain by giving us a call.

Chiropractic care from Heron Lakes Spine & Wellness Center can be used in the treatment & pain management of RSI. We aim to restore normal functions to your joints & muscles.