What causes RSI?

Some of the ways RSI can be caused include:

  • repeating the same sequence of movements many times an hour or day;
  • static posture, i.e. sitting in the same position for hours on end;
  • having to work very fast under pressure;
  • having to use appreciable force, e.g. lifting, carrying, pulling, pushing etc.;
  • lack of control over the order of tasks or working methods;
  • working in awkward or tiring positions;
  • awkward grip;
  • organisational factors, such as lack of variety in the task; and
  • psychosocial factors such as stress. When you are under stress, continuing to work intensively will increase the likelihood of developing RSI-type symptoms.

RSI can produce what is called 'referred pain'. This is where you feel the pain in a different part of the body to the one that is causing it. So, for example, tightened and sore muscles in the neck can cause pain in your hands, fingers, wrists and forearms.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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