Repetitive Strain Injury Rsi Myths

RSI is an umbrella term that refers to a variety of conditions that arise out of constantly putting pressure on particular areas of the body over a long period of time. While some people experience RSI in their wrists and hands, others have RSI conditions that affect their shoulders and necks. Regardless of the area of the body that is affected, these condition cause numbness, pain, swelling and general discomfort.

Because RSI conditions take years to develop, understanding the root causes of them, as well as the associated preventative measures you can take, is important to warding off RSI or preventing it from worsening if you already suffer from it. In this article, we will dispel some of the most common myths associated with RSI to help you better understand the condition.

Here is a list of some common RSI myths:

  1. I don’t type that much, so I am not at risk. Nothing could be further from the truth! While people who type constantly for their jobs are at high risk, those who type for as little as two hours each day can also come down with serious cases of carpal tunnel or other forms of RSI. Other factors that contribute to the development of repetitive strain syndrome include having poor posture, using a mouse, playing an instrument or using machines that vibrate. As a result, if you fall into any one of these categories and start experiencing symptoms, consult a doctor immediately to get a proper diagnosis.
  2. RSI is another term for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). When most people hear the phrase “repetitive stain injury,” they often automatically assume that this term refers to CTS. Although CTS is a form of RSI, it is only one type among many. Those who incorrectly assume that repetitive strain injury is another word for carpal tunnel syndrome may suffer from the discomfort and pain of other forms of RSI for years without realizing they have it. Other common forms of RSI include trigger finger, thoracic outlet syndrome, tenosynovitis (tendon pain and swelling in the hands), ulnar nerve syndrome and rotator cuff syndrome.
  3. If I stop or limit my typing, the condition will go away. This is one of the most dangerous myths about RSI, because avoiding treatment and continuing with the activities that led to the condition will only make your repetitive strain injury worse. While you may not be able to avoid typing, getting RSI treatment, using ergonomic keyboards and performing certain exercises will prevent your RSI from worsening.
  4. I only experience symptoms sometimes, so I don’t need to see a doctor. Whether you have symptoms every day, once a week or a few times a year, seeing a doctor is essential to diagnosing the type of RSI you have and will help you understand how to avoid worsening it. Also, your doctor can explain your treatment options.
  5. If I wear a splint and use an ergonomic keyboard, I will be fine. While taking these two steps is part of treating RSI, treatment involves far more than wearing a splint and getting a new keyboard. Taking medication, going to physical therapy and performing specific exercises are extremely important to comprehensively treating RSI.


Quilter, Deborah (December 1997). Twelve Myths About RSI (1997). Retrieved June 28, 2007 from: