RSI - A Pain in the Neck, Back, Arm and ...

Repetitive strain injuries, also known as work-related musculoskeletal
disorders (WMSDs), is an umbrella term to describe a family of painful
disorders affecting tendons, muscles, nerves and joints in the neck, upper and
lower back, chest, shoulders, arms and hands. WMSDs are a serious occupational
health concern across the world and are recognized as leading causes of
significant human suffering, loss of productivity, and economic burdens on


WMSDs can be caused by work activities that are frequent and repetitive, or
activities with awkward postures, including:

  • fixed or constrained body positions

  • continual repetition of movements

  • force concentrated on small parts of the body, such as the hand or wrist

  • a pace of work that does not allow enough rest between movements

Heat, cold and vibration may also contribute to the development of WMSDs. These
disorders are generally caused by a combination of these factors - rather than
one individual factor.


The best way to eliminate a hazard is to eliminate the source. With WMSDs, the
main source of the hazard is the repetitiveness of work. Prevention efforts
should focus on avoiding the repetitiveness patterns of work through proper job
design. Where this is not possible, preventive strategies involving workplace
layout, tool and equipment design, and work practices should be considered. It
is important to recognize these disorders early because medical treatments
become less effective the longer these injuries go on.

Further Information - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety