RSI (repetitive strain injury) is a widely used umbrella term that encompasses many painful wrist and arm conditions, most commonly:
- Tennis elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis) – Over-use/strain of the wrist extensors. Pain increases over time due to micro tears occurring in the muscles attaching to the outer side of the elbow (lateral epicondyle). Twisting of the wrist agitates the pain.
- Golfer’s elbow (Medial Epicondylitis) – Over-use/strain of the wrist flexors, causing pain around the inner side of the elbow (medial epicondyle). Pain may radiate up and down the arms, all the way to the shoulder, as well as the little finger side of the hand. Flexion and pronation of the wrist are particularly painful.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome – Often associated with diabetes, hypothyroidism, arthritis and pregnancy as well as PC-based work. Inflamed tendons of the flexor muscles put pressure on the median nerve within the carpal tunnel of the wrist, and this nerve entrapment causes hand and wrist pain, numbness and weakness, tingling and weakness in the hand. If not treated, carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to permanent nerve and muscle damage.
- DeQuervian’s Thumb – A condition particularly common amongst texting/gaming addicts! Caused by irritation of the tendon sheaths at the base of the thumb.
Treatment of RSI conditions
It is important to identify the aggravating activity, and stop it. This will often relieve symptoms. However when pain persists it is wise to seek treatment. Doctors will often offer patients corticosteroids, anti-inflammatories or even surgery; options which all serve to treat the symptom rather than the root cause of the problem.
How massage can help
A number of effective massage techniques can help relieve RSI symptoms, reduce the chance of needing surgery, and improve recovery times. At Brighton Bodyworks I combine work directly on the troublesome areas, whilst also addressing wider muscle groups which may be contributing to the problem. Did you know that carpal tunnel symptoms, for example, can be caused by nerve entrapment in the neck? Tight pecs are also involved in RSI pain patterns. I may use hot and cold flushing to promote blood circulation and healing; where there is inflammation, cold treatment is very beneficial. And I advise all my clients on simple stretching exercises they can do themselves to aid and sustain continued recovery.
Work smarter, not harder
If you are suffering from RSI symptoms in your wrists or arms, do get in touch. Working together we can put together a treatment plan to help you out of pain, and in to sustained recovery.
Brighton Bodyworks Massage Therapy – 01273 729691
1hr treatment, £40
Amy Weinberger trained in Advanced Clinical Massage Therapies for the Treatment of Wrist and Arm RSIs at the JING Institute.