In Arizona, many work in an office where they use a computer all day and might have pain in their wrists, forearms, or shoulders. Should you immediately be concerned that it is a repetitive strain injury?
Repetitive strain injury and diagnosis
A repetitive strain injury (RSI) is damage to your muscles, tendons, or nerves caused by repetitive motion over time. Besides using a computer for long periods of time, anything that requires repetitive motion can lead to RSI, such as athletes, cashiers, and assembly line workers.
Your doctor will ask you questions and perform a physical exam. Further, the doctor may order an MRI or ultrasound to assess tissue damage or an EMG to check for nerve damage.
Symptoms of repetitive strain injury
If you have RSI, you may have these symptoms listed below in your wrists and hands, forearms and elbows, and neck and shoulders:
- Sensitivity to cold or heat
Treatment for repetitive strain disorder
Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist or even recommend surgery if severe enough. Your physical therapist will likely recommend exercises to treat the injury and minimize stress.
But, if the damage is mild, you might just need to rest and ice the injury. Also, you might want to take an NSAID or receive a steroid injection.
What should you do?
RSI is a general term for damage to your muscle or tendons over time, so there are types of RSI, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, and tennis elbow. That is one of the reasons to schedule an appointment with a doctor to diagnose what kind of RSI you might have.