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Repetitive Strain Injuries – Prevention and Management

In the previous article, Repetitive Strain Injuries – Are you a victim of it?, we highlighted that repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are mostly occupation related, but such oversue injuries can be caused by activities outside of work, such as sports and hobbies, including badminton, tennis, golf or playing a musical instrument.

Furthermore, older workers are more prone to RSIs because the body’s ability to repair the effects of wear and tear decreases with age.

xRSIs are mostly caused by job demands and workplace conditions. If the conditions and demands of a job causes RSIs, they can be corrected by using ‘Ergonomics’, the science of matching jobs, systems, product and environments to the physical and mental abilities and the limitations of workers, instead of making the worker fit the job. Prevention of RSIs is possible if either ergonomical changes can be made to accomodate the worker, by changing the physical set-up of the workstation or he position or way one does his tasks, or both.

The following are ergonomically friendly suggestions to avoid RSIs.

  1. Avoid Repetitive WorkMuscles work by contracting and relaxing, stretching your tendons in the process. Repeated stretching and pulling can cause the tendon to swell and get sore. If the muscles and tendons do not get enough time for rest and recovery, the risk of injury is increased. This is because as muscles get tired from doing the same motion repeatedly, more effort is exerted to do the job.

    Remedy

    Rest the muscles doing most of the work to prevent tiredness. Take frequent “micro” breaks, in which you use different muscles to do the task or pause for a few seconds. This relieves your muscles more effectively than uninterrupted periods of work with only one or two long rest breaks.

  2. Avoid Awkward and Static PosturesA “neutral” body position is the most comfortable working posture, in which the shoulders are downswards and relaxed, with the arms close by your sides, elbows bent with your wrists and hands straight. Deviating from the neutral posture will increase the stress on joints, muscles, tendons, nerves, and blood vessels. For instance, if you work bent over and leaning forward, with your arms above shoulder level in a “fixed” or “static” posture, you are likely to stress the lower back and shoulders. Such static activities are very tiring and stressful, and can potenially speed up the wear and tear of your back and shoulders.

    Remedy

    Move around and change your posture often. Take “micro” breaks. If you have been bending or kneeling, switch to other tasks to rest your back and knees. Also, using the right tool for your tasks can reduce awkward postures. For example, using an Allen key instead of a screwdriver can reduce twisting and bending of your wrist at awkward angles.

    In addition, minimize static postures that are “out of neutral” as these put further stresses on your body. For example:

    • Work tables, chairs and countertops should be designed to eliminate frequent bending and extended bending and leaning
    • Organize work tables so that materials are within easy reach
    • Keep arms and elbows low and close to your body while working and reach without stretching and straining
    • Keep reaches below shoulder level
    • Avoid stacking materials above shoulder height
    • Keep your elbows at the height of the work counter
    • Support your forearms with armrests or other padded surfaces
    • Have enough room in work area to use your arms while keeping your wrists straight
  3. Avoid Prolonged StandingStanding in one position for a long period of time can put stress on your spine, back muscles and legs.

    Remedy

    The stress caused by prolonged standing can be reduced by:

    • Using foot rests, to alternate the weight bearing foot by shifting your weight often
    • Stand with knees slightly bent to prevent locking, and thus relieving stress in the knees
    • Take “micro” breaks; general rule is a 5-minute break for every 45-60 minutes of standing. Take this opportunity to change positions or move around
  4. Reduce the Amount of Force You UseUsing a lot of effort & strength to do the job, even small movements like pounding fingers on keyboard will increase the stress your body takes. Forceful movements such as pushing, pulling, tugging, and sliding objects put strain on your lower back. They also stress the muscles, tendons, and joints of your shoulders, arms, upper back, and legs. The more force you use, the more you risk fatigue and injury.

    Remedy

    • When moving a heavy object, use trolley, carts or equipment designed for pushing instead of pulling. Pulling stresses your shoulders and arms compared to pushing. This is because when you push, your body weight is being used to an advantage.
    • Avoid pushing or pulling in an awkward posture as more force is required to move the object. Similarly, avoid pushing or pulling an object above shoulder height or below waist height. Modify your position to optimize your working position and strength.
    • Look out for large amounts of friction between the surface and the object as this increases the force used. Put a medium between the two to reduce the friction i.e. wheels or sliding board.
  5. Be Careful How you LiftFaulty lifting techniques stress the back muscles, tendons, ligaments and spine. Even if the load is mildly heavy (less than 10kg), improper lifting can cause serious back injuries.

    Remedy

    The key to proper lifting is to keep the back in its natural position. Squat lifts put less stress on your back, but only if you can fit the object between your knees. Otherwise, attempt to fit the object as close to your body as you can. The best solution is to reduce the size and weight of the load and make repeated trips. Here are some tips for a safer lifting procedure:

    • Stand close to load with feet apart
    • Tighten stomach muscles and tuck in bottom
    • Arch your lower back inward by pulling shoulders back and sticking out your chest, keeping spine in neutral position
    • Keeping spine upright, bend knees or squat down
    • Face load directly. Do not twist your shoulders to reach the load. Bring object close to the body. The closer the load to the body, the less pressure it puts on your back
    • Use stronger thigh muscles rather than smaller muscles of the back for the lift
    • Never pick up a load unless both feet are firmly on the ground, and the load is no higher than your shoulders. Minimize long reaches and avoid fast, jerky movements
  6. Design Computer Workstations to Fit YouWorkstations must consider a worker’s ability to comfortably see and handle the work. Chairs with adjustable features and proper back support are essential to prevent injury and improve overall comfort and work performance. For example, the differences in chair height can affect the whole body.

    If the chair is too high, it can:

    • Press thighs against the table
    • Press seat against back of thigh
    • Reduce blood flow to the feet
    • Make wrists bend up
    • Force the head to lean forward and look down

    If the chair is too low, it can:

    • Raise knees higher than hips and encourage slouching
    • Raise shoulders and arms causing stress and fatigue especially if the table is at chest level.

    Remedy

    A good chair should have:

    • Adjustable seat heights and depth
    • Backrest that is adjustable for the height (up/down) and angle (forward/backward) to help support the lower backFurther suggestions can be found here.

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I had an excellent sports massage by Wan Ling, which was very different from the usual massage I've tried elsewhere. Wan Ling skillfully and systematically loosened every muscle in my upper back and neck over the course of an hour. If anyone is seeking relief from tense muscles, I would highly recommend making an appointment with Wan Ling.
Rebecca Lim
Rebecca Lim
Came to see Xue Ting with a broken shoulder for the last 6 weeks and was impressed with her attentiveness and ability to make me feel me feel comforted in my condition . Very dedicated and good therapist indeed .
Janet Koh
Janet Koh
They adopt a scientific and personal approach. The therapists put in a lot of effort to diagnose the issue before attending to it. Overall, I would strongly recommend their professionalism and methods.
Varun Sharma
Varun Sharma
Really good sports massage! Booking process was efficient too :)
Charmaine Miranda
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Friendly and really professional service! I immediately felt welcomed the moment I stepped into the clinic! The physio offered me great advice beyond what I had asked, which allowed me to have a deeper understanding as to why I had my issue in the first place. With this kind of service, I would honestly recommend this physio if you are serious about getting better.
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Jimmy Allen Poh
Thoughtful and sincere service. Highly recommended!
Benedict Koh
Benedict Koh
My mum received her first Apos treatment. We intend to continue until her hip muscles become strong. We believe in the treatment as we saw how amazing it was. The idea was simple. Really love that she can be herself again, for long term. The hip and knee cap operations offers 15yrs. Hence we reject the cost and short-life. My wish is that the treatment cost can be lowered and more are aware of this treatment. God bless and thank you team.
Victoria Soh
Victoria Soh
Look for Soo, he is a great physiotherapist . Always communicating and always asking for my feedback. I’m on the right path to recovery all thanks to Soo. Two thumbs up.
Daniel Wang
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Xue Ting has been working on my troublesome QL, hip girdle - basically the whole left lower kinetic chain! She has been patient, strong and cerebral in her approach to my 48 year old compensatory mechanisms. Her strong massage will finish with an assessment of muscle imbalance and poor activation with finally a retraining back to healthy movement.I’m impressed! Thanks Core Concepts!
Brett McLaren
Brett McLaren
I went from barely understanding physical therapy for injuries, to highly recommending Core Concepts to friends and family for their aches and pains. Ken was knowledgeable, patient and explained symptoms and consequences in a simple, relatable manner. I hope more people will come to understand how physio is a much better alternative to short-term painkillers.
Manda Misso
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Ken is really amazing!
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Terry Tan
The physiotherapist here explained the problem very well and provided me with exercises that helped improved my condition.
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Ferdinand Mar
I have been experiencing great pain on my shoulder coupled with occasional numbness on my arm. Thanks to Ken Liew, I felt so much relieved after my first session. He was very patient and knowledgeable and had definitely made my 1st visit to a physiotherapy clinic a very memorable one. Thank you so much Ken
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Bee Choo Gian
I have been experiencing knee pains lately especially walking up and down the stairs. The pain was so bad that I was very concern. I chanced upon CoreConcept on FB and book an appointment with them at Camden Medical Centre. My therapist was Ken Liew, he is very professional and knowledgeable. He did a thorough job to assess my condition. To my surprise I felt immediate relieved on my knee after the first session with him! Amazing! Looking forward to my next session. 😊
Sandy Toh CH
Sandy Toh CH
Hi I am Sally and I am in my late sixties. I have endured a year of thigh(joint) pains and thought that it must be due to old age. Visited Core Concepts at Novena and after only 2 sessions, my condition improved so much that I was able to climb stairs easily again. THANKS to my Physiotherapist Samuel Ong who is extremely polite, professional and knowledgeable.
Shino Tutu
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I have had several sports related injuries and Core Concepts has saved me and put me "back to new" each times! The therapists are excellent - knowledgeable and professional, and the receptionists (Carol, Adiqah and Rin) are always friendly and helpful. They even give me oreo cookies for my children! :)
Paola Venturini Hubert
Paola Venturini Hubert
Highly recommended for sports massage
Simon Ray
Simon Ray
Extremely friendly staff and therapists! Folks Novena Square are just simply smiley and happy. Coming here towards the end of the work day always brings up my mood. Therapist and coach are fabulous. My condition improve so much that I can even start to train up some of my predominately unrealized problems. Highly recommended!
Von Ling Wei Hao
Von Ling Wei Hao
I go to Novena and Cheryl is my therapist. She was upfront from the get go about my neck condition. I liked her honesty and said we'll give it a try. I was better after 4 weekly sessions and continued to go to her every 2 weeks. With her help I am in a better condition, had to put in effort on the exercises she taught me as well.
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Tania Chevrez
Li Hoong is a very dedicated sports massage therapist and functional trainer. Her ultimate goal is the client's holistic well-being. Highly recommend.
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Pei Yee Wong
i have tried different physiotherapy sessions with almost 10 physiotherapists in india and in Singapore, my back pain was treated well by CHERYLL, with God's grace , i was pain free only after Cheryll attended to me. Thank you Cheryll and core concepts for the great experience.
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Madiha Sadiq
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YitKoon Gan
YitKoon Gan
Very friendly and professional physiotherapist as well as receptionists within the clinic. Dr. Issac Wong is easy to approach and came up with alternative ways for me to strengthen my weak thigh muscles and it really helped in reducing my knee pain! Thanks :)
Sam Costanza
Sam Costanza
The best physiotherapist ever. Cheryl is really good. Doesn't shortchange me of time and make sure I feel better before she lets me go. The front desk staff are great too. Very accomodating and friendly. Thank you Carol and Farrah. Only thing if they can give instructions to how to go to their place will be great. Usually only unit number but do give some details like mrt exits and directions to lift and such will be excellent. Coz I almost got lost in 2 different places. Overall still love core concept because of Cheryl! Thank you Cheryl!!
Jeanette Goh
Jeanette Goh
Found out about Core Concepts last year through social media and made an appointment as i was experiencing some neck and shoulder discomfort after a traffic accident. My therapist was evidently experienced and was able to pinpoint the cause of my aches. The one thing i loved about my experience at Core Concepts is that they are not like typical physiotherapists who simply prescribe take home exercises, instead my therapist was extremely hands on, helping me to massage my neck at the right spots to relief the stiffness - best massage ever! Would highly recommend Core Concepts!!
Claire Chia
Claire Chia
Easily the best physio clinic I've been to.
Natarajan Baradwaj
Natarajan Baradwaj
The only physio clinic i trust! A unique approach to treating pains, you simply have to try it out for yourself. Have recommended many friends and family and core concepts has not disappointed. Thumbs up!!!
Claire Chia
Claire Chia
From the reception to the therapist, they are friendly and nice. I was taught on a 2 steps stretching to strengthen my leg muscles that I can do it myself daily and It did help :) Will recommend to anyone who wish to have therapy sessions.
Jaz
Jaz
Knowledgeable and brilliant!
Brenda Chong
Brenda Chong
-emails with advertisement and birthday wishes came, but they didn't think that their customer (with 4/10 sessions remaining in his package) would have expected a reminder of ANY kind if his package was already expiring. I asked the clerk from my last visit how many sessions I had remaining, and she told me 4, with no update on the expiry at all. -assumed I wanted a physiotherapy (PT) appointment when my past SMS have always been for sports massage (SM); whenever I asked for "available slots", they would give me the slots for SM. yet they suddenly gave me the list of available slots for PT ytd. I'm also to blame for not verifying and reading their long SMS carefully.-their masseuse is very good though, skilful and respectful. They ask important questions to understand their client before starting on the SM. I'd still return even though the administrative process is lacking.
Beale Liu JieXiong
Beale Liu JieXiong
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