Repetitive Strain Injury is an umbrella term for various musculo-skeletal conditions (e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome), which are often occupational in origin. Inadequate diagnosis or not having access to appropriate treatment can exacerbate the condition. Because GPs in the UK receive relatively little training in musculoskeletal disorders of this type, they will usually refer you for diagnosis to a specialist with an interest in RSI-type conditions, usually a rheumatologist or neurologist. Initial medical intervention is likely to involve some kind of ‘hands-on’ therapy to provide relief from symptoms.
Osteopathy involves the manipulation of joints in order to restore them to their normal positions, to regain mobility and to relieve tension in muscles and ligaments. In treating RSI, the osteopath will focus on the spinal column, especially the upper back and neck, through which the blood and nerve supply to the limbs are controlled.
Treatment will usually involve a combination of massage, mobilisation techniques and possibly spinal manipulation or gentle releasing techniques. However, chronic cases are less likely to respond and so scare should be taken to find a suitably experienced practitioner. Osteopathic treatment is no longer considered ‘unorthodox’ and most osteopaths work comfortably alongside conventional doctors and medical specialists. One form of RSI is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.