Research indicates that to many RSI is often overlooked as a problem that has either gone away or was never really a serious issue. However HSE figures indicate that in 2009/10 (the latest reported figures) that around 230,000 people reported upper limb issues. This was an 8% increase on the previous year.
Maybe this is partially down to the current economic climate where organisations are having to make cuts and staff are generally working harder and longer hours. Staff themselves will often overlook the initial symptoms thinking the problem will go away, which of course they don`t. As the pain develops if corrective action is not taken quickly then an acute problem becomes a chronic condition.
The problem is that these conditions tend to heal very slowly and respond poorly to injury. Treatment such as physiotherapy is in many instances the first step, however without changes to working practices the treatment is likely to prove to be ineffective. Often what is needed is to avoid further strain on the tissues, tendons, ligaments and nerves etc.
The frustrating part of this is that if organisations and people took RSI as a potential serious risk then so many of the RSI conditions could be avoided through simple changes to the workstations and/or working practices.
We find that all too often when many organisations approach DSE assessments they do it for the wrong reason; they look for the tick in the box. Done correctly; through firstly training to educate the individual of potential risks and what they can do to avoid these being realised. Followed by an individual assessment (which in the first instance can be undertaken by an on-line self assessment approach) will pay dividends in the long term.
Obviously where health problems are highlighted then it is important to get professional assistance; but if the right steps are taken early on then RSI conditions can be avoided.