Elbow Pain from R.S.I.

Repetitive Strain Injury

This problem is usually a combination of tendonitis, muscle pain and dysfunction and nerve irritation in the hands ,arms and upper back.This starts after repetitive motions of the hands or arms over variable amounts of time at work or play.It is also known as cumulative trauma disorder, work related upper limb disorder and non-specific arm pain. A multi-diciplinary approach is vital to the effective management of this condition. The problem can not be resolved until the cause is determined and eliminated. The physiotherapist will most likely want to liaiase with the G.P. , occupational health department and ergonomist.

Risk Factors For Repetitive Strain Injury

Work place risks would be

1. repeating movements with the same body part.

2.posture- holding a joint at end range [fully straight or bent]

3. over loading a muscle

4. holding a part of the body still.

5. contact stress-direct pressure on nerves or tendons e.g. having to lean on your elbow or “funny bone” to preform a task.

Some medical conditions can increase risk such as thyroid disease, obesity, pregnancy [- when there is fluid retention] and previous injuries .



Difuse muscle pain in the neck, upper back, shoulder and hand.There can be pins and needles and other sensory problems such as burning sensations or numbness. Joints  and muscles can feel stiff, sore and weak.


Physiotherapy for Repetitive Strain Injury

The physiotherapist will asess the musculo skeletal system to determine which joints, muscles, tendons and nerves are involved. Resting and working posture will be evaluated.

Bases on assessment findings postural correction and ergonomic advise may be advised. The work station may need to be modified . The type and position of the chair, desk and computer screen may need modification.

A physiotherapy treatment plan will be made to target the individuals dysfunction and symptoms. This will involve stretching and strenghtening exercises, manual therapy . Electrotherapeutic modalities such as ultrasound  andT.E.N.S.   may be used to reduce pain levels.  Myofascial dry needling can help allieviate muscle pain and dysfunction associated with the problem. In chronic repetitive strain injuries pain management forms an important part of the physiotherapy .


Relevant downloads


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Severe cases may also need medication and the physiotherapist will keep G.P. involved with treatment plan as well as advising them on appropriate return to work/ sport dates and modifications that may need to be made.

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