Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a general term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse. It’s also known as work-related upper limb disorder, or non-specific upper limb pain.
The condition mostly affects parts of the upper body, such as the:
- forearms and elbows
- wrists and hands
- neck and shoulders
Cold temperatures and vibrating equipment are also thought to increase the risk of getting RSI and can make the symptoms worse. Stress can also be a contributing factor. A variety of jobs can lead to RSI, such as working at an assembly line, at a supermarket checkout or typing at a computer.
It’s important to work in a comfortable environment which has been appropriately adjusted. Your employer has a legal duty to try to prevent work-related RSI and ensure anyone who already has the condition doesn’t get any worse.
How to prevent RSI:
Most employers carry out a risk assessment when you join a company to check that your work area is suitable and comfortable for you. You can request an assessment if you haven’t had one.
There are also things you can do to help reduce your risk of RSI, such as:
- maintaining good posture at work – see how to sit at a desk correctly
- taking regular breaks from long or repetitive tasks – it’s better to take smaller, more frequent breaks than one long lunch break
- trying relaxation techniques if you’re stressed