Did you know that artists are on the top list of those most likely to be affected by RSI because of the repetitive actions they’re required in performing their craft?
Repetitive Strain Injury or RSI, now also commonly known as Occupational Overuse Syndrome is a potentially debilitating condition resulting from overusing the hands to perform a repetitive task for a long period of time. It affects the muscles, nerve tissues and tendons of the hands, arms, chest, shoulders and the upper and lower back. RSI is usually mistaken as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) but it’s actually just one form of RSI.
Artists can get RSI from drawing, painting or even from stretching their canvas as these actions put a lot of strain on their arms and wrists. Additionally, a large amount of digital designers who spend long hours on the computer are also growing and a good number of them are now looking for help to treat their injuries.
Most people with RSI suffer from pain in the hand, wrist, elbow, shoulders, neck and back. Aside from artists, the majority of people affected by RSI is athletes, musicians and manual workers.
• Tenderness, discomfort and pain when moving the affected muscle or joint
• Throbbing and tingling sensation on the affected muscle or joint
• Loss of sensation or numbness in the hands
• Loss of strength and coordination in the hands
How to prevent RSI?
• Maintain good posture
• Use the proper techniques when working on a project
• Have a healthy lifestyle
• Exercise regularly. Stretching and strengthening exercises can greatly prevent you from developing RSI.
• Take breaks
For artists, having a repetitive strain injury can also be a mental torment, especially if they are working in isolation. Many are struggling to cope up with the ongoing and debilitating repetitive strain injury which leads to a disastrous cycle where the negative emotions end up causing more stress and more pain.
For some, healing their RSI required solving a combination of issues from ergonomic, physiological to psychological problems which makes the process of getting well much more stressful than it should be. Add to that the stress and anxiety artists feel when getting a piece commissioned and then having to produce it for a deadline, plus the mental tension leading up to art exhibitions. No wonder Van Gogh cut off his ear!
If you feel you have RSI, it’s time to seek professional medical advice from an osteopath, a licensed physical therapist or a chiropractor who can assist you and formulate a treatment plan that works for you. There are medical centres as well as RSI foundations and groups that provide education and facilitate the relief of sickness and distress amongst those suffering with this kind of injury.
The risk of developing a repetitive strain injury is growing but most people are uninformed and do not even understand what RSI is or how serious it can be. RSI commonly begins from aches and pains, but these injuries can progress to become crippling disorders which prevent sufferers from working or leading normal lives.