Career commentary RSI

It’s the little movements that hurt with RSI

I came across an article on the Dorset Echo’s website that referenced an employee who had been sacked by her employer for an alleged attempt to defraud them over an RSI claim. As part of their legal challenge to her claim, her employer produced over 60 hours worth of surveillance footage of her outside her home, shopping and going to the gym, and relied on around five minutes of this in her disciplinary hearing to disprove that she had a computer induced RSI ailment.

Civil liberty infringements aside, this example shows how ignorant some employers are to RSI and how it manifests itself. RSI is pain induced by micro movements of a repetitive nature, which ‘flares up’ and produces painful symptoms when doing many small micro movements over long periods of time eg typing on a keyboard or clicking a mouse. In bad cases, it can cause pain and weakness, for example in wrists, which may affect other activities, or other repetitive everyday tasks. The condition does not, however, generally affect the muscles groups associated with doing many tasks requiring larger motion, including most motions involved in working out at the gym.

The irony is that with RSI, activity that is based on large non-repetitive motions and especially cardio based activity should be encouraged since movement of the larger muscular groups will enhance blood flow to injured areas and promote natural healing. It should not be criticised and brought up as evidence against an RSI claim. To do so just shows the complete ignorance of the individuals and organisations involved.

It is a travesty that the perception is that someone with an RSI condition should be effectively seen to be in a wheelchair and/or doing nothing before they look like they have RSI to an employer. If they were observed continually texting on their phone or playing video games all day that would be a different story! However, being criticised for living a normal macro movement life whilst trying to keep fit and healthy is an outrage.

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3 replies on “It’s the little movements that hurt with RSI”

Did this happen in the UK ? In which century ?!?
As an RSI-sufferer on a quest for information, I came across your blog and my jaw just dropped – not to my knee but to the floor – by reading this post !!
In any case I live in Belgium and I know for a fact that this kind of “evidence” would not be admissible by a longshot ! Any employee here who would have been treated this way would file a complaint based upon violations of privacy. Here it is prohibited to film anyone without their consent, and certainly to use information this way !

Besides all that, I truly believe RSI is one of the most underestimated medical conditions, probably because we “don’t look sick” or don’t walk around with big bloody bandages or band-aids, and probably also because we have since long learned to live with our condition and don’t spend our time complaining all day long. Well at least that is my own attitude and experiences, but a positive attitude alone doesn’t make the problem go away of course !


Well said Kristina, I also 100% agree with your comments.

They tell us to keep moving, go to physio, go to a gym etc etc however when we do some people frown on it and don’t “believe”. As you said if you can’t see it……………..
Very frustrationg.


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