Have you ever experience having pain in a particular part of your body because you keep on using it? One good example is having eye strain if you watch TV for hours without rest. Another situation you can probably relate to is when you over-exercise or stay too long in the gym. Don’t you feel soreness in your body the next day?
Repetitive stress injury or RSI is similar to the examples mentioned above, although more serious. RSI is a collective term for injuries that occur when there is too much stress put to a particular part of the body. Stress, in this case, refers to repeating a specific body motion over and over again. Often, RSI results to inflammation of the area where pain and swelling are present, tissue damage, or muscle strain.
RSI is normally brought about by work-related activities and are common to adults, particularly those who use the computer keyword often. When you keep on typing for 8 hours a day, every day, you are putting too much stress on your hands and wrists that eventually will lead to injury. This is how RSI usually occurs, and is very common among typists, encoders, programmers, secretaries, and other office employees.
RSI and Teenagers
While RSI is often experienced by working adults, it is also now becoming prevalent among teenagers because of the time they spend on computers and video games. Engaging in sports such as tennis and playing musical instruments are also common causes of RSI on teenagers.
In general, there are over 100 different kinds of repetitive stress injuries brought about by the wear and tear of the body. In teenagers, the parts of the body that are often affected by RSI include the shoulders, elbows, heels, and knees.
What Teenagers Can Do to Prevent RSI
Adolescence is the time when boys and girls start to identify their passions and desires in life, and when they do, it’s as if no one can stop them from practicing what they like. This is why you can see them spending the whole day playing video games or sitting in front of the computer, or spending the entire weekend for band practice or sports training. As they push themselves to their limit, their body reacts in a way that is easily distinguished – through RSI.
Here are some helpful ways that you can advise teenagers so they won’t experience repetitive stress injuries as they explore their adolescence.
- Monitor teenagers’ use of computer and video games at home. Remind them to take a break every so often by standing up, moving around, and doing some stretching, especially the parts of the body that are most prone to injuries.
- Let them observe proper posture when sitting in front of the computer. Make sure that the computer screen is within their eye level and their back is rested well on the chair. Moreover, instruct them to place the keyboard and mouse close to their arms or body so they don’t exert much effort when typing or clicking.
- Use an ergonomic computer chair that provides lumbar support for the lower back, making sitting in front of the computer comfortable and easy.
- When engaging in sports, remind them to always do a warm up, cool down, and stretching exercise to properly prepare their body for the activity. Also, make sure that they wear proper clothing and protective gears, if necessary.
- Teenagers must drink plenty of fluids and keep themselves hydrated at all times. This will help prevent tightening of muscles that may lead to RSI.
- Teenagers must vary day-to-day activities. For example, alternate playing sports with running and swimming so ensure that all body parts are being used and not just a particular area. They should do eye-exercises to minimize eye strain from constant reading and scrolling their phones.
- Whenever they start to feel any pain in the body, teenagers must not neglect this symptom and should immediately consult their doctor for diagnosis and possible cure.
Teenagers are expected to be active and vigorous. However, they should also be mindful about the intensity of their activities to prevent repetitive stress injuries.