February 28 is International Repetitive Strain Injury Awareness Day. Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a potentially debilitating condition resulting from overusing the hands to perform a repetitive task, such as typing, clicking a mouse, or writing. The primary warning sign of RSI is pain in the upper extremities (fingers, palms, wrists, forearms, shoulders).The pain may feel like burning, aching, or shooting. It could be experienced locally (e.g., fingertips) or throughout (e.g., the entire forearm). The pain will typically be increased after a long sessions (e.g., prolonged  computer use), however you can have severe RSI without experiencing any pain symptoms as well.
Repetitive Strain Injuries are preventable.

Repetitive Strain Injuries are preventable.

As with all health-related issues, it is wise to eat well, exercise, listen to your body, and avoid destructive behavior. However, there are some specific precautions you can take to help prevent the onset of RSI. When you first notice symptoms of RSI, you have already done substantial damage to yourself. RSI can take months, even years to develop, and you can expect it to take at least twice as long to heal.  Even if you feel no pain or other symptoms of RSI, you would do well to heed the following advice for RSI prevention, especially if you meet one of the risk factors. Repetitive strain injuries, also known as work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs), is an umbrella term to describe a family of painful disorders affecting tendons, muscles, nerves and joints in the neck, upper and lower back, chest, shoulders, arms and hands. These disorders can be caused by work activities that are frequent and repetitive, or activities with awkward postures. Preventive and control measures, in order to be truly effective, require significant involvement on the part of the workers, their representatives, and management to improve occupational health and safety.  Did you know? Workplace injuries such as repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) account for 42% of all lost time claims and 50% of all lost time days. Repetitive Strain Injuries can be prevented, creating an effective Health and Safety program can eliminate the hazards that cause RSI’s and MSD’s.    

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