Beware of Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI)

Beware of RSI. You ask what RSI is. Is it the creature from the Fire Swamp in Princess Bride? Nooooo that’s ROUS (click here if you love Princess Bride).

RSI is repetitive stress injury.  Not as scary as the ROUS (rodents of unusual size)

but it can be pretty painful (like getting attacked by a ROUS).  When you perform a motion hour after hour, day after day it will cause muscular changes. It does not have to be a major motion, it can be something small. Lifting heavy boxes on a conveyor belt like at UPS,  using a mouse and keying, performing a motion in a sport (golf swing, baseball pitch, running). All can cause RSI.

You can perform these activities all the time with no issues. You feel great and think nothing of it. Then one day you are in a backstroke when all of a sudden “ouch”. You stop, you stretch, it feels better and you move on. The next morning you wake up and WTH!….you feel like you aged 40 years overnight and can hardly move.  Your repetitive stress movement has caught up to you. Now you can call it an RSI (or if you want you can call it a ROUS because it may feel that way..ha).

Those muscles have been overused and abused. You have strengthened one area while neglecting the opposing. Causing one area to feel and possibly become much tighter than the other. Caused another to be stretched and locked in a long position. One area or both may be sore and painful. To put it simply it can hurt. You can lose sleep, days from work, and spend many hours frustrated trying to figure out what is the main cause and how to fix it.

RSI’s have taken time to become so and it will take time to heal and to get back to balance. Time off, physical therapy, exercise, and massage will help. What is best and how to approach treatment is different for everyone.  I always recommend seeing a PCP to rule out a major injury then go from there.  Everybody and every situation is different be your own advocate. Most of all don’t live with it. Living with pain and ignoring it can lead to further injury, greater complications, and more time in pain. When you get that first sensation of pain it is your body saying “YO! STOP! This could get bad.” Listen.

As I sit here typing away my body is aching and my neck is stiff. I have been living with it for weeks and it is starting to shout at me. I have booked a massage and I am trying to ease back on working out so hard. I am like everyone.  I have excuses for why I do what I do and why I don’t do what I tell every client to do. Yes, I am a typical parent (“Do as I say. Not as I do.”).  Take my advice and listen when you hear that quiet voice giving you a warning don’t wait for the shout. Take care. Live a balanced life. Eat well, exercise (get up and do what makes you happy), find time to relax and change your movement patterns when you can all to avoid an RSI.