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  • Writer's pictureDr. Stephanie Juffs

Repetitive Strain Injuries and Chiropractic

Today is Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day! Technically, this day actually falls on February 29th, but since February 29th does not repeat every year (haha), it falls on the 28th this year!

RSIs are injuries that result from repetitive, prolonged or excessive strain on a particular area of your body. If your job requires you to do the same task over and over, or maintain the same posture, you are at an increased risk for an RSI. Some common symptoms include numbness, tingling and burning sensations, swelling, and aching pain. These types of injuries affect a variety of people, all the way from athletes such as tennis players and golfers to tradespeople (like jackhammer operators and assembly line workers) and people who work desk jobs for a prolonged time on a computer. Some people even get RSIs from playing video games, using their phone, and knitting.

Tips for Avoiding RSIs

For those who do repetitive tasks at work, preventing RSIs before they become an issue is ideal. I have put together some general tips below:

  • Take posture breaks every 30-50 minutes, and change positions, even if only for a brief moment.

  • Plan out your day: have 3 things to do? Switch up your tasks more frequently.

  • Optimize your workstation. Not only do you want to maintain a neutral posture, but also ideally be able to switch positions (i.e. from sitting to standing).

  • Use good posture. This takes practice and focus. Over time it will become second nature.

  • Work at a steady pace. Slow and steady wins the race.

  • Use your team members and switch duties where possible.

If you work outside or with equipment you can also:

  • Wear anti-vibration gloves with handheld tools. Vibration increases your risk of RSI.

  • Wear warm winter clothing when working outside.

  • Wear hearing protection.

If you want to decrease your risk of an RSI, regular exercise will also help to decrease your risk.

What Can My Chiropractor Do?

If you have a nagging injury, ignoring the symptoms won't make it go away. In fact, it can get worse. It’s important to treat not just the symptoms, but also the cause. As a chiropractor, I will assess your symptoms, diagnose your condition, and recommend a treatment plan to put you on the path to recovery. I will also provide advice to help prevent the injury from reoccurring.

As a chiropractor, when dealing with an RSI, I can provide:

Manual therapy: This can help you regain normal movement and function in the joints/muscles of your spine and extremities.

Soft tissue therapy: To give you relief from stiff and tight muscles.

Acupuncture and other modalities: This can be incredibly helpful for pain relief and improving function.

Exercise therapy: It is very important for you to do simple exercises at home to help with pain and help strengthen to avoid re-injury.

Self-management Strategies: Your treatment may require making changes to your workstation, taking more frequent breaks to relax overworked muscles and joints, and doing exercises at work. This will be geared towards your individual situation.

Let me know if you have any questions by using the contact me form on my website. If you're interested in having me visit your workplace to chat with employees about possible occupational risks, I'd love to be of service! Prevention is the best medicine. Let's work together to end your pain. Now that's a message worth repeating!

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