RSI may cause sick worker syndrome

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by tansy, Oct 26, 2005.

  1. tansy

    tansy New Member

    As published in The Guardian, UK

    RSI may cause sick worker syndrome

    Alok Jha
    Science correspondent

    There could be more to repetitive strain injury than meets the eye:
    scientists say the nerve damage caused by repetitive motion could be a
    cause of "sick worker" syndrome and such symptoms as poor performance,
    fatigue and depression.

    RSI is an umbrella term for disorders including carpal tunnel
    syndrome, tendonitis, tennis elbow and tenosynovitis. Caused by highly
    repetitive movements, such as typing, it affects some 450,000 workers
    in Britain. Symptoms include weakness or loss of sensation in the
    neck, shoulders, upper back, or hands.

    Ann Barr and Mary Barbe of the College of Health Professions at Temple
    University in Philadelphia studied the early changes in nerves caused
    by repetitive activities. They found the injuries are caused by the
    action of proteins called cytokines, which help start the
    inflammation. The proteins appeared in rat models of RSI within three
    weeks.

    As the injury progressed, more cytokines were produced at the
    inflammation site. The researchers found unexpected links between the
    production of cytokines and the rats' psychosocial responses. "At
    three weeks, even before the rats experienced pain from their wrist
    injuries, we watched them self-regulate their work behaviour," Dr Barr
    said. "With inflammatory proteins in the bloodstream, they began to
    slack off." After five to eight weeks, many of the rats curled up and
    slept between tasks.

    The researchers said people who took days off work owing to undefined
    symptoms or slowed down their work rate may be suffering from the
    effects of the raised cytokine levels. A low-grade depression may also
    set in. As the proteins appear soon after nerve damage first happens,
    when actual pain is rare, many people might not make the connection
    between the "off" feeling and possible RSI. It could take months
    before the nerve damage is bad enough to be noticed.

    Dr Barbe said: "Cytokines are self-protective. This undefined feeling
    of malaise may be telling the body to take some time off to heal,
    before things get worse."
  2. matthewson

    matthewson New Member

    Very interesting article! My husband has problems with his right wrist because of repetitive movements. He worked for and airline catering company for 20 years and scooped a lot of ice into containers with his right hand and even after being out of there for 13 years now, he still has problems with that wrist!

    Thanks for the great article. Sally