Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) at the wrist is common and can involve nagging and ongoing pain.
Treating RSI is often not a simple fix, it involves a multifaceted approach. Passive treatment techniques, such as; massage, ultrasound, dry needling, alone rarely get quick results or prevent symptoms from returning.
Gaining a good understanding of the problem and cause, is valuable, and often essential, to getting back to doing the things you love quicker and for longer.
To help you manage your wrist RSI try the following;
Resting the involved area will help prevent overuse and the likely cause of pain. This may involve stopping what you are doing, or slowing down the speed at which you conduct a task. A hand therapist can help to provide you with an orthosis (or splint) which can help to rest your wrist, fingers or thumb- whist still being able to carryout the activites you love.
Applying cold immediately after an aggitating activity can help to alleviate swelling and pain. Running the area under a cold tap for 5mintues, or applying ice (covered by a towel to avoid direct splin contact) are ways to apply cold. Keep in mind that cold is best used AFTER activity, not during or before.
Stretching out the sore area before, during and after a task which causes aggitation can help. Start by stretching gently, until the amount of stretch would equal a 2/10 feeling of discomfort. Gentle stretch is far more advantageous than forceful stretching, particularly early on and when there is reasonable to significant pain.
Stretch can be applied along with heat, stretch with heat will help to lengthen the involved parts. Applying gentle stretch with the palm of your hand is a great way to achieve combination of warmth and stretch.
The key to massage when the symptoms are acute (new and most painful), is to massage the area gently yet firmly. The idea of gentle and firm don't seem to go together, but try this;
- start by applying a gentle constant pressure over the sore area,
- after a minute or so you may try pressing a little furmer on the area,
- and then after another minute or so start slowly yet firmly over the area. The warmth and pressure and movement will help the body to recover.
Using a roller or rolling a spikey or tennis ball over the area might help once the symptoms settle and the pain has decreased.
Having regular massages from a remedial massage therapist is a good way to prevent RSI.
It is vital to stay strong even when you are resting the sore area. Maintaining strength through sore muscles and tendons can be achieved with targeted exercises, which won't cause more pain or harm. An experienced hand therapist or physio will know how to keep muscles strong without aggitating your symptoms.
Of vital importance is knowing how your body works and how your body reacts to certain tasks and positions. This understanding will help you to keep doing the things you love, whilst letting the RSI heal. Do see the opinion of an Accredited and Certified Hand Therapist who will take the time to listen to how you use your body and recommend alternative methods or equipment to help during your recovery from wrist RSI.
For more see our blog on , How to prevent RSI, Prune in June pay for it in July. Preventing musician RSI, Gamer's thumb.
Author Jo Marsh
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