Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) is a condition that usually develops slowly over time and is caused by prolonged stress or overuse of a particular area of the body. Repeating the same action over and over causes inflammation and can lead to a more serious injury. Carpal tunnel syndrome is perhaps the best known form of RSI and is often found among office workers and those who work on assembly lines. Areas commonly affected by RSI are the neck, arms, wrists and shoulders, but this painful condition is not limited to the upper body. Athletes and those working in physically demanding occupations, such as construction, can develop RSI in the hips, knees, feet and ankles.
Symptoms of RSI include tingling, weakness or numbness in a particular area, as well as chronic stiffness and pain. The underlying cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is usually a compression or pinching of a nerve, which is often the result of a tight muscle. Other forms of RSI are caused by the tearing of ligament, tendon or muscle fibers which occurs from repeated overuse. Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications can aid with pain management, but do not address the root causes. In order to prevent further damage, the area must undergo regular stretching and strengthening. Stretching helps to ease pain and aids in flexibility, while strengthening the area will help to safeguard against increased injury.
Massage therapy holds many benefits for those suffering from a repetitive stress injury. For those who have carpal tunnel syndrome, massage lengthens and relaxes the muscles, which helps to alleviate pinching and compression of the nerve tissue. Therapeutic massage also aids in the healing of torn or damaged fibers by breaking up scar tissue and increasing circulation, which helps to remove toxins and deliver much needed nutrients to the affected areas.