February 28, 2019 is International Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day. These injuries are the largest cause of lost time for employers and employees across Canada, and can cause a huge amount of pain, not to mention disruptions in your everyday life. The good news is, they are easily avoidable if the proper precautions are followed.

Causes

An RSI can be caused by a continual repetitive movement like:

  • twisting
  • bending
  • stretching
  • reaching
  • awkward posture
  • stress
  • fixed body positions
  • insufficient breaks

Generally, an RSI will affect small parts of the body like the hand, wrist, elbow or shoulder.

People who are afflicted with RSI are sometimes working on a computer, at a checkout counter, or an assembly line.

Symptoms

RSI can cause pain, aching, stiffness, tenderness, and numbness in muscles, nerves and tendons, and often require physiotherapy or surgery to repair. Everyday activities like texting, grabbing, gaming and even tying your shoes can become painful and difficult.

Solution

Employers have a legal responsibility to provide proper equipment and workstations to employees to try and prevent work-related RSI, but employees should also know how to prevent and correct these injuries.

Here are several ways to try and avoid RSI:

  • Avoid repetitive movements if possible.
  • Maintain proper posture.
  • Take frequent breaks from repetitive tasks.
  • Try to reduce stress using breathing exercises.
  • With the help of your employer, ensure your workstation is ergonomically correct.
  • Use the proper tools for your tasks to avoid muscle strain and sloppy positions.

For more information on RSI visit WCB.AB.CA