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Chiropractic Care for Repetitive Strain Injuries in the Workplace


Does your job involve hunching over your computer for hours, constantly gripping power tools, or performing repetitive motions on an assembly line? If so, you may be one of the million workers who suffer from repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) across various industries. These work-related injuries can lead to pain, weakness, and stiffness, affecting productivity and quality of life.

Luckily, chiropractic care for repetitive strain injuries can help. This blog post will guide you through understanding and overcoming repetitive strain injuries. We’ll delve into the symptoms and causes of these injuries and how chiropractic care can treat and prevent RSIs.

What Is a Repetitive Strain Injury?

business woman having carpal tunnel syndrome | chiropractic care for repetitive strain injuries

Considered one of the common forms of work injuries, repetitive strain injuries are musculoskeletal disorders caused by repetitive stress and constant vibrations applied over long periods. Musculoskeletal disorders, including RSIs, account for 30% of workplace injuries.

Performing repetitive motion for extended periods can lead to inflammation, strain, and tears in the affected tendons, muscles, and joints. Improper posture and poor work setup can lead to and worsen RSIs.

Common examples of RSIs include the following:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome affects the median nerve in the wrist, causing weakness, numbness, and a tingling sensation in the hand and fingers. It's common among those who perform repetitive hand movements, such as typing or assembly line work.
  • Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendon, often presenting with pain and tenderness around the affected joint due to repetitive movements or overuse, such as tennis elbow and trigger finger.
  • Bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa, a fluid-filled sac cushioning joints. It occurs in the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, and other areas subjected to repetitive movements.
  • Rotator cuff tendonitis is the inflammation of the shoulder tendons caused by repetitive overhead movements or poor posture.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

RSIs can manifest various symptoms. Common ones are as follows:

  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Weakness

Early diagnosis and medical intervention can significantly improve your chances of recovery. Consult a healthcare professional if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, especially if they worsen or interfere with your daily activities.

Chiropractors specialize in musculoskeletal conditions, making them adept at diagnosing and treating RSIs. They will conduct a detailed medical history review, discussing your symptoms, past injuries, and work and daily activities that may contribute to your RSI. 

They will perform a thorough physical examination, assessing your range of motion, posture, and any signs of inflammation and tenderness. They may also recommend imaging tests if needed.

Chiropractic Approach to Repetitive Strain Injuries

Carpal tunnel syndrome treated by physiotherapist with wrist bandage | chiropractic care for repetitive strain injuries

Chiropractic care can provide a natural, holistic, and practical approach to treating RSIs. Subluxations, or misalignments in the spine, can interrupt nerve function, causing and contributing to pain and discomfort throughout the body. By addressing subluxations, chiropractors can reduce inflammation and pain, improve mobility, and boost the body's natural healing abilities. 

Chiropractors use various techniques for repetitive strain injuries, such as spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and muscle stretching and strengthening exercises. These techniques ease pain and inflammation and improve muscle strength, range of motion, and flexibility, promoting healing and preventing future injuries. 

Beyond providing immediate relief from symptoms, chiropractors also address the underlying issues causing RSI, such as poor posture, ergonomic factors, and muscle imbalances. By identifying and correcting these underlying issues, they can prevent the recurrence of such injuries and promote long-term health.

Treatment Modalities

A range of chiropractic techniques for repetitive strain injuries can ease pain and inflammation, address underlying causes, and promote the body’s natural healing process.

  • Spinal adjustments involve applying controlled force to specific spinal joints. This chiropractic care for repetitive strain injuries restores alignment, improves nerve function, and alleviates pain associated with RSIs. 
  • Soft tissue therapy techniques such as massage relax tight muscles, reduce inflammation, and enhance blood flow, effectively treating soft tissue injuries caused by repetitive movements. 
  • A chiropractor for RSI recovery can integrate complementary therapies like acupuncture, electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), and therapeutic ultrasound to further stimulate healing and alleviate symptoms of RSIs.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to RSIs. We at Kosak Chiropractic and Acupuncture understand that every patient is unique. We create RSI treatment plans tailored to your needs, medical history, overall health, occupation and daily activities, and the severity of your symptoms.

Ergonomic Recommendations

Ergonomics plays a vital role in preventing RSIs in the workplace. Optimizing your workspace setup and maintaining healthy working habits can lower your risk of developing such injuries.

Follow these basic ergonomic recommendations to prevent RSIs.

  • Chair Comfort: Use an adjustable chair with good lumbar support. Ensure your feet can also rest comfortably on the floor or a footrest.
  • Keyboard and Mouse Placement: Keep your keyboard and mouse close to your body. Your wrists should be straight as you work with your computer. For added comfort, you can also use a wrist rest.
  • Monitor Height: Your monitor should be positioned slightly below eye level to allow you to maintain good neck posture while working. 
  • Sit Up Straight: Keep a good sitting posture with relaxed shoulders and back supported by your chair to avoid back and shoulder pain.
  • Take Short Breaks: Step away from your workspace for a few minutes every hour. Walk around, stretch, or perform simple exercises to improve circulation and prevent muscle fatigue.
  • Stretch: Regularly perform stretches that target the muscles commonly affected by RSIs, such as your neck, shoulders, wrists, and back, to prevent such injuries.
  • Avoid Awkward Positions: Minimize unnecessary and sudden movements such as reaching, twisting, or bending. When lifting or working with heavy machinery, take your time and carefully adjust your hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and neck to avoid injuries.

Consult a healthcare professional, such as a chiropractor, for tailored advice on ergonomics. 

Rehabilitation and Prevention Strategies

Complete recovery from an RSI requires rehabilitative efforts and preventive measures. Chiropractors can recommend strengthening and stretching exercises to promote healing and prevent future injuries. Below are examples of rehabilitation exercises and stretches for RSI recovery.

chiropractic care for repetitive strain injuries
  • Wrist Extensor Stretch: Stand facing a wall and place your hands flat against it with your fingers pointing up. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in your forearms, hold for 15–30 seconds, and repeat two to three times. You can also stretch your hands like that by holding and gently stretching one hand with the other.
  • Wrist Rotations: Slowly rotate your wrists in a circular motion with your elbows bent and palms facing up, doing it clockwise and then counter-clockwise. Do ten rotations in each direction.
  • Neck Stretches: Raise one arm over your head, gently cup the ear on the opposite side, and tilt your head to the same side as your arm, bringing the ear toward your shoulder. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on the other side. You can also stretch by gently leaning your head forward and then backward. You may also do neck rolls by slowly rotating your head in a circular motion.
  • Chest Opener: Stand up with feet shoulder-width apart and raise your arms forward parallel to the ground, palms facing each other. Gently push your palms apart, making a T shape with your arms and body and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold that for 15–30 seconds and repeat two to three times.

Consult a chiropractor to provide a personalized exercise and rehabilitation program, as well as guidance on proper forms and techniques.

Beyond chiropractic care and exercises, healthy habits can contribute to RSI prevention and musculoskeletal health. Staying active with regular exercise and hobbies such as sports, hiking, and other outdoor activities improves overall fitness, making you less likely to get RSIs in the first place. Eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, observing proper posture and ergonomics, and managing stress can help you recover from your RSI sooner.


Repetitive strain injuries pose a big challenge in the modern workplace. They slow down productivity and have a detrimental effect on our daily lives. Chiropractic care can treat, manage, and prevent such injuries. By addressing musculoskeletal imbalances and promoting proper ergonomics, chiropractors can provide holistic solutions to treating RSI symptoms, restoring mobility, and preventing future injuries.

If you’re experiencing RSI symptoms, visit Kosak Chiropractic and Acupuncture. We offer personalized chiropractic care for repetitive strain injuries, combining spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and acupuncture to provide a comprehensive treatment.

Take control of your life today. Call (402) 382-6337 to request an appointment.

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    contact information

    14450 Eagle Run Dr #150
    Omaha, NE 68116
    United States
    Phone: (402) 964-0300

    office hours

    9:30am-12:30pm &