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RSI: The Invisible Injuries

"I have been having this mild thumb pain, it is not too bad, just bit irritating that it there everyday, I can do everything though!",

" My back feels achy then I do some twisting here and there and it goes away, but lately it is not going away",

" My neck feels so tired that I have to rest it on backrest of chair so then I slide forward and rest my neck",

" I been going for therapy for low back, it gets better and then it comes back again",

" I know my posture may be bad, but don't know how to fix it and get better from this pain",

Well.... well.. all above and many more such scenarios are my daily professional encounters for many many years now. These are personal level of reports or narration of symptoms.

At organizational level:

"Some of our employees are complaining of back pain, can you help and see what needs to be done",

" Can you look at our workplace and suggest solutions for employee comfort?",

" We want to do ergonomic study of our workplace",

" Need expert guidance for our employees about ergonomics at workplace"

" We are looking for new chairs, which is a good chair to buy?",

RSI: Repetitive Strain Injury (Also known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

It has many names (CTD: cumulative trauma disorders), Upper Quadrant Syndrome etc.

RSIs and MSDs account for more than 40 per cent of all lost-time injuries allowed by Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

Signs and Symptoms: What you should be aware about:

Effective Solutions: Good news majority of RSI is preventable.

At Organizational Level: Some of the solutions can be :

1. Awareness of these invisible conditions (educate and train)

2. Early reporting of signs/symptoms/getting screening of condition by health care professional

3. Implementation of Engineering solutions (Eliminate hazards), administrative solutions (Improve work policies and procedures) and PPE with right work practices training

At personal level: Some of the solutions but not limited to :

1. Setting up workspace optimal to your body's requirement

2. Following good/healthy work practices: e.g. taking micro-breaks ( Follow rule of 20-20-20: every 20 min. 20 second long break and look 20 feet away)

3. Making effective movement patterns (relevant stretches/exercises) a priority

Be aware, know your risk for RSI and remember get help early on, an ounce of Prevention is worth pound of cure!

Bharati Jajoo


"Health in your hands!"

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