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In this concluding part of our series on Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) we discuss treatment and sources of help

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

Part 3


Treatment of RSI includes resting the affected area and the use of painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication. Heat and cold packs can help. Icing the affected area when pain and stiffness is severe can be very helpful as it will reduce inflammation in the area. Most pharmacies stock reusable ice packs. Elastic wrist supports or firm wrist splints can also help.

Where can you get help?


If you have followed the advice above and you are still suffering from aches and pains, you have a number of different options in relation to health professionals who can help you. If in doubt, your pharmacist can be your first point of call; there is no charge and no need to make an appointment. If you have exhausted all other non-drug options or the pain is particularly severe, I often advise the short-term use of anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen which is available over the counter. Ibuprofen is generally more effective than paracetamol for RSIs because as well as relieving pain it also reduces inflammation at the site of problem. This results in faster healing times. However, ibuprofen cannot be used by everyone. For example, it should be avoided by asthmatics, people suffering from stomach ulcers and people suffering from high blood pressure and heart conditions. It also interacts with many prescription medicines such as warfarin. Always check with your pharmacist or GP if you have any doubts.

General Practitioner

RSIs can also be treated by your GP and your GP can give you an accurate diagnosis. Your GP may prescribe stronger pain killers than are available over the counter. If there is well defined inflammation in the area, your GP may administer a steroid injection. In some severe cases, your GP may need to refer you to a specialist in rheumatology or orthopaedics. In the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, if pain killers and steroid injections do not work, an operation which cuts the ligament that is pressing on the nerve may be required. Infact, this operation is needed in up to 50% of people suffering from carpel tunnel syndrome. The operation is often successful, but healing can take several months.


Chartered physiotherapists are also very skilful at diagnosing and treating RSIs. A physiotherapist can help the patient adopt proper posture, as well as teaching him/her to strengthen muscles. A physiotherapist may use electrotherapy. This involves small electrical impulses being placed at specific points of the body to help reduce pain.

Occupational Therapist

An occupational therapist can assess factors that are causing RSI’s and help adopt measures to reduce symptoms. Factors an occupational therapist considers are ways of minimising strain when working on computers including devices that can reduce risk of injury. An occupational therapist will also advise on posture, breaks, improvements in the work environment and ways of reducing levels of stress.


 1st Contact Physio

 1st Contact Physio with Chartered Physiotherapist, Kevin D’Arcy. MISCP. Located in the private consultation suite, upstairs at Whelehans Pharmacy, 38 Pearse St, Mullingar


1st Contact Physio services include sports injuries, spinal injuries, back pain management, neck, and shoulder pain, post operative physiotherapy, sports rehabilitation, orthotics, and sports massage. Physiotherapy is €60 for initial session and €50 for follow up sessions, Kevin offers reduced physiotherapy rates for Medical Card holders, children, and sports clubs. Book your appointment on the Whelehans website or Call Kevin on 0873813473 or Email

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