We have been providing treatment for Repetitive Strain Injuries in San Francisco for 20 years now. Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is also known as repetitive stress injury, repetitive motion injuries, repetitive motion disorder (RMD), and cumulative trauma disorder (CT).
Basically, RSI is an injury to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that results from performing repetitive tasks over and over again…like operating a computer all day while sitting at a desk. Or cutting hair, or operating equipment.
At Executive Express Chiropractic, since we are located in the SF Financial District, we focus primarily on the repetitive motion injuries that develop in people who sit all day in front of a computer…but the examination and treatment is the same no matter what the cause. The difference would be in the prevention as far as ergonomics and proper use of equipment.
The most common type of RSI we see at our clinic involves either the neck, shoulder, arm, and hand (or various combinations)…and less frequently the low back. Now there may not be symptoms at all these joints…but they are all connected in a kinetic chain and must be considered.
For instance…a patient may present with arm and hand pain on the right (their mouse hand), but may actually have RSI in the neck and shoulders on the right, and possibly on the left…even though there is no pain…YET!
A doctor that spends the majority of their day treating patients that develop repetitive motion disorders will know to check the full spine and neck to fingertips on both sides. After-all…the nerves that control the upper extrmities exit from the neck and travel down the arm and through a tunnel in the wrist (carpal tunnel) into the fingers. If you have pressure on these nerves in the neck (which may or may not be causing you pain) it can cause all sorts ot problems in the shoulder, elbow, arm, and hand.
The treatment we provide RSI patients is chiropractic adjustments to the neck, back, shoulder, elbow, wrist and fingers…on both sides, massage/trigger point therapy/neuromuscular work to the same areas, special exercises, deep tissue laser if needed, cervical and wrist traction if needed, and targeted stretches.
We also are especially concerned with proper ergonomics and microbreaks, which are breif resting periods (2-10 min) throughout the day to give the body time to rest and recover from work (see proper ergonomic set-up here).
We also recommend getting up and moving around and even standing while you work. Switching your mouse back and forth from right hand to left is a good habit to get into as well.
There are specific general guidelines for sitting at your desk in front of your computer. We recommend following them.
Your mattress and pillow can also contribute to your vulnerability to RSI. A cervical pillow will help to restore and maintain your neck curve, while a soft pillow can result in loss of neck curve and nerve pressure. We like (and sell) Tempur-pedic pillows.
We recommend drinking half your body-weight in ounces per day of water, and avoiding salty and processed foods as best you can…plant foods are best. High animal food intake (meat, chicken poultry, dairy) can cause chronic inflammation in the joints and in the body, predisposing you to RSI.
Lots of stuff here huh?
Oh yeah…but this is what we do. We are Black Belts in the prevention and treatment of conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and other forms of RSI.
What I recommend if you feel you may have RSI of the neck, back, shoulder, arms or hands…is to find yourself a chiropractor that specializes in treating these conditions.
I know it sounds like a lot…but our typical office visit is 30 minutes or less…but that's because we have "no-waiting". Treatment starts almost immediately after you arrive.
Anyway…there is a ton of info on this blog as far as self-help stuff…but you can't adjust the joints back into alignment yourself (or most of the other things we do)…you need a chiropractor. One that knows RSI.
If you need help finding one, please email me at eben firstname.lastname@example.org. I have several hundred doctors around the country I have trained. I will check to see if there is an RSI expert near you.
Dr. Eben Davis is founder and clinic director of Executive Express Chiropractic in downtown San Francisco. To schedule an appointment with one of his San Francisco Chiropractors call 415-392-2225.
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