Repetitive Strain Injury Rsi Treatments Alternative

While physical therapy, prescription medication and other traditional methods of treatment for repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) can be effective, recovery and dealing with an RSI on an everyday basis can also be aided through alternative treatments.

Most alternative treatments for RSI are meant to be used in conjunction with traditional methods of treatment, and none should be used without consulting a doctor. Inaccurate self-diagnosis and self-treatment can worsen the existing condition and can even create new problems, so consulting a medical professional before beginning any RSI treatments is essential.

Additionally, for any RSI to improve, it is most often necessary to stop the behavior that led to the injury. This may mean changing some elements of a work or home environment and can be difficult, but change may be necessary for a chance at recovery.

RSI Treatment Types

Alternative treatments for RSI include:

  • Acupuncture and acupressure
  • Biofeedback
  • Braces or splints
  • Chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation
  • Exercise
  • Heat or ice packs
  • Magnet therapy
  • Myofascial release
  • Occupational therapy
  • Relaxation
  • Shiatsu
  • Tai chi
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
  • Yoga or pilates.

Acupuncture and Acupressure

Acupuncture involves the use of needles to stimulate nerve endings, and may take a few sessions to have an effect on pain.

Acupressure seeks to apply pressure to specific areas that are triggering pain. A bonus of acupressure is that it can be self-administered after training with a professional.


Biofeedback teaches people to control their body functions to control their pain. Biofeedback helps people assume control over heart rate, tension level in muscles and more.

Braces or Splints

Braces and splints relieve pain, and sometimes inflammation, by restricting certain types of movement in areas that cause the most pain.

Some braces and splints can weaken muscles, so exercises may be recommended by a doctor or physical therapist to counteract this effect.

Chiropractic or Osteopathic Manipulation

These methods focus on bone alignment and mobility. This can involve medications, massage, mobilization techniques and possibly even surgery, but will focus on the forms of bone and muscle manipulation intended to free up restricted areas and return joints to their correct positions. Very little patient involvement is required, so it’s important to choose a skilled and experienced doctor when implementing chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation.


Exercise releases endorphins, which naturally fight pain. Exercise also strengthens the body and fights against lost muscle mass. Exercise makes the body less susceptible to injury, and can stimulate healing.

A medical professional can recommend a specific exercise program and can give people tips on what exercises will give them the best results.

In addition to fighting pain, exercise can also:

  • Decrease fatigue and tension
  • Increase energy level and flexibility
  • Increase muscle strength.

Heat or Ice Packs

Warm showers or heat packs can ease tension and help chronic pain, and ice packs can numb pain and reduce inflammation and swelling.

Most people prefer heat’s effects or cold’s effects strongly over the other, so choose what works best for you.

Magnet Therapy

Magnet therapy seeks to help RSIs by influencing the body’s natural bio-electrical currents. This therapy type assumes that human body cells all have a magnetic force. Magnets are placed over certain parts of the body to stimulate blood flow, thereby providing more oxygen to certain body areas and helping the healing process.

Myofascial Release

This method focuses on the soft tissue to help treat RSI by decompressing areas surrounding the pain site, stimulating blood flow and circulation to allow healing.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy teaches people to heal through different exercises and methods and helps people re-learn the skills they need to function in their jobs.


Relaxation can be using as a strategy for coping with pain and treating RSI, with tapes or simply through deep, slow breathing and the repetition of relaxing phrases. Imagery and relaxation are often combined to help ease pain and tension.


Shiatsu is a Japanese finger-pressure therapy that is similar to massage. Shiatsu targets the same points that acupuncture uses.

Tai Chi

Tai chi helps RSI sufferers with posture, and thus can solve some pain issues. Tai chi is a type of moving meditation.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

TENS involves sending small electrical signals to certain parts of the body to block pain. The use of TENS must be approved by a doctor, but TENS can be used in the home with a proper prescription.

Yoga or Pilates

Yoga and Pilates strengthen muscles and flexibility, so, like exercise, they increase blood flow and make people less susceptible to RSIs and other injuries and can stimulate healing.

Not every alternative RSI treatment will work for every person with RSI. Talking to a medical professional about the options is the best way to choose the most effective RSI treatments.


Harvard RSI Action Staff. (2007). Treatment approaches. Retrieved June 28, 2007, from:

RSI Staff. (2007). Treatment. Retrieved June 28, 2007, from: