Images that show RSI is a real pain
Researchers believe they have pinpointed the source of repetitive strain injury, the condition which afflicts as many as 200,000 people in Britain.
Doctors at University College, London, have found that sufferers have loss of movement in a major nerve in the wrist.
It is the first time doctors have uncovered what is specifically happening inside the arm of a sufferer and could lead to a surge in compensation claims.
Medical and legal experts have often dismissed complaints of RSI as imagination or stress because there are no obvious signs of physical injury. A High Court judge ruled there was ‘no such thing’.
RSI, also known as nonspecific arm pain (NSAP), is most closely associated with intensive keyboard use, but it also afflicts a wide range of people doing repetitive work including musicians, checkout operators and assembly line workers. Sufferers say their chronic pain in the neck, fingers, shoulders or arms can be so severe it prevents them from lifting objects.
The research at University College used magnetic resonance imaging scans which showed that patients had only 31 per cent movement of a major nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel at the base of the hand. Physiotherapist Jane Greening, who led the study, said: ‘NSAP may be due in part to entrapment and loss of mobility of the median nerve at the carpal tunnel. ‘It has been shown that minor nerve compression will trigger marked changes in normal function and cause pain.’
Greening and her colleagues produced images of the wrists of seven RSI patients which showed the limited movement of the median nerve when compared with scans of people without RSI.