Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI)


Repetitive Strain Injury is a condition where pain and other symptoms occur in an area of the body (often the arms or hands) having done repetitive tasks, with forceful exertions, sustained vibrations, mechanical compression, or in awkward positions. The most common feature is the use of computers in the workplace that require long periods of repetitive motions in a fixed posture.


Examples of conditions that may sometimes be attributed to such causes include:

  • oedema
  • tendinosis (or less often tendinitis)
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • cubital tunnel syndrome
  • De Quervain’s tendinitis
  • thoracic outlet syndrome
  • golfer's elbow (medial epicondylitis)
  • tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
  • trigger finger (so-called stenosing tenosynovitis)


Early treatment is best, anti-inflammatory medication may help, as does rest splinting the joint, massage and manipulation. Therapists use their hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and mobility of the soft tissue. Using hand pressure, the practitioner works to remove or break up the fibrous adhesions, with the stretching motions generally in the direction of venous and lymphatic flow.


Osteopaths look at the whole context of your problem, for example with carpal tunnel syndrome we would assess and improve your posture, reduce excessive kyphosis or hunch, resulting in poor venous and lymphatic drainage from your arm (Thoracic Outlet) leading to oedema or swelling in your hand; provide you with exercises to reduce your symptoms.