Repetitive Strain Injury Back in Singapore

In general, repetitive strain injuries, also known as RSI, cover a range of musculoskeletal injuries that can affect almost any movable part of the body (although this term usually refers to injuries concentrated on the hands, arms and upper body). 

As the name suggests, repetitive strain injuries are commonly associated with trauma caused to the body due to repeated activities. Repetitive strain injuries, particularly in the back, can be caused by continuous bending of the back when doing manual labour tasks, bad postural habits from sitting in front of your computer screen the whole day, or injuries brought on by playing sports with excessive force. Research suggests that psychosocial factors such as work stress can also contribute to a worsening of repetitive strain back injury symptoms.

Other names for repetitive strain injuries include repetitive motion injuries, occupational overuse injuries, regional musculoskeletal disorders or upper limb disorders, among others.

It’s important to learn more about repetitive strain injuries and partner with a healthcare professional in Singapore to manage the symptoms experienced by your back.

Common Symptoms Experienced on Your Back Due to Repetitive Strain Injury

  • Discomfort or pain in the back that could worsen with continuous activity over time
  • Limited range of motion or stiffness in your back
  • Tingling, numbness, or other uncomfortable sensations in your back or extremities
  • Weakness or decreased endurance when performing any physical activity
  • Swelling of your back muscles due to inflammation

When experiencing any of these symptoms on your back, you must see a healthcare professional in Singapore that can help with repetitive strain injuries treatment, like Orthofoot MD. That way, you will know how to better manage them and improve your overall well-being.

Who Is at High Risk of Repetitive Strain Injury on the Back?

As mentioned, repetitive strain back injury is caused by trauma to the body due to repetitive actions. Some occupations in general are at higher risk of developing repetitive strain back injury due to the nature of their jobs. These include:

  • Office or deskbound workers who spend a lot of time typing in front of the monitor. 
  • Manual workers or factory workers who have to lift heavy objects or complete repetitive packaging duties.
  • Occupations that require a high degree of precision and control with the hands, such as seamstress or dentist.
  • Professional athletes that train rigorously and engage in high-intensity sports. A repetitive strain injury can also affect your back or other joints of your body, leading to painful conditions such as meniscus injury or plantar fasciitis. For all such conditions, you can visit our qualified doctor in Singapore.

How Repetitive Strain Injuries Are Diagnosed

When you visit a clinic in Singapore, your physician will be able to diagnose repetitive strain injuries by understanding your medical history and conducting a physical examination of your back. You may be asked questions regarding the repetitive tasks you frequently carry out and their relation to the corresponding area of the strain.

Also, depending on your symptoms and the area of your back where the pain is most prominent, your physician may require you to undergo tests, including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or an ultrasound. This is to learn more about your injury, identify the diagnosis, and determine the right treatment for you.

After the physician’s thorough examination of your back, you may be diagnosed with any of the following repetitive strain injury types:

  • Type 1 RSI - This is classified as a musculoskeletal disorder. Symptoms typically include inflammation and swelling of your tendons or muscles. 
  • Type 2 RSI - This is a result of a wide range of causes. Usually, it’s related to nerve damage from work activities or sports-related activities. 

Treatment for Repetitive Strain Injuries for Your Back

Treatment in Singapore ranges from conservative methods like using a cold compress to surgery for more serious cases. Below is a list of treatment options your physician may recommend to manage your repetitive strain injuries for your back:

  • Cold Compress - Ice packs help in reducing pain and swelling as the cold temperature helps in constricting the blood vessels and limits circulation. Make sure not to put the ice pack directly on the skin as this may cause a burn.
  • Steroid Injections - These are directly administered by the physician on the affected area, so it reduces inflammation and lessens pain. They also protect your joints from damage caused by inflammation, which puts extra pressure on the bones and tissues of your joints. 
  • Oral and Topical Anti-inflammatory Drugs - These prescriptions can be used to address short-term back pain. They work by reducing the body’s production of chemicals called prostaglandins, which promotes inflammation and pain.
  • Physical Therapy Exercises - Your healthcare professional may recommend that you undergo some therapeutic exercises. These exercises can improve your strength and flexibility, leading to reduced pain over time. They may also help you avoid reinjuring yourself in the future.
  • Stress Reduction and Relaxation Techniques - Stress can also be a contributing factor to the pain and discomfort you feel from your repetitive strain back injury. This is because when you’re stressed, your muscles remain in a constant state of tension. With this, learning stress reduction and relaxation techniques can prove useful. These techniques help relax your muscles and improve your overall well-being. Examples of stress reduction and relaxation techniques include positive self-talk, mindfulness meditation, and four-square breathing exercises.
  • Surgery - This treatment may only be necessary in severe cases where conservative treatments are no longer effective in managing symptoms. With surgery, the healthcare professional will correct structural problems in the affected area, so you can regain optimal body function and better quality of life.

How to Prevent Repetitive Strain Injury on Your Back

If you’re exposed to activities that could put you at risk of RSI or potential re-injury, get proper help from a healthcare professional in Singapore. You can also check out these tips on how you can prevent symptoms of repetitive strain injuries on your back:

  • Examine your workstation and make necessary adjustments to promote good posture and comfort for your back. 
  • Don’t slouch or hunch over your desk and opt for a chair that provides your lower back with enough support.
  • Take short breaks throughout the day to stretch your body and prevent muscle strains. 
  • If your work is away from a desk and requires manual labour, the main way to prevent your back’s condition from worsening is to stop or reduce the intensity of the activity. This also applies to repetitive strain injuries caused by playing high-intensity sports. 
  • Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight will help your back in the long run.

Why Choose OrthofootMD to Treat Your Repetitive Strain Injury on Your Back?

When it comes to lower limb orthopaedic conditions, like repetitive strain injuries on the back, you can count on OrthofootMD to give you the treatment that you need. Through comprehensive physical examination, our specialist will determine the appropriate possible treatment plan based on your condition and needs. 

OrthofootMD uses evidence-based approaches along with patient-centred care in our treatment to help you fully recover and regain an optimal quality of life. Additionally, our orthopaedic specialist, Dr. Gowreeson Thevendranworks closely with you to prevent the possibility of re-injury or severe conditions in the future.

About Our Surgeon - Dr. Gowreeson Thevendran

Dr. Gowreeson Thevendran practises orthopaedics and trauma surgery with a specialty interest in lower limb orthopaedic injuries, including repetitive strain injuries for the back. He has worked with a number of patients over the years, considering various treatment options to help them manage their symptoms.

His qualifications include a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Bristol, England and being a Diplomate Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine in the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. He is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh and Academy of Medicine in Singapore. Furthermore, Dr. Gowreeson has an international portfolio under his name and authored over 50 scientific articles. 

Get Treatment for Repetitive Strain Injury in Singapore Now

If left untreated, repetitive strain injury will lead to chronic back pain that will compromise your quality of life. You will also be more susceptible to developing further, secondary injuries. 

Speak to Dr Gowreeson Thevendran, an orthopaedic specialist at OrthofootMD in Singapore, to find a suitable treatment for your back. We also provide treatment for other conditions, like knee replacement and shoulder tendon pain.

Book an appointment and visit Dr Gowreeson’s sports and orthopaedic clinic in Singapore today.

Dr Gowreeson Thevendran

MBChB (Bristol), MRCS.Ed, Dip. Sports Med.Ed, FRCS.Ed ( Trauma & Ortho. ), FAMS (Singapore)


  • Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery

Languages Spoken

  • English, Malay, Tamil


  • Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, University of Bristol, England
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh
  • Diplomate Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh
  • Fellow of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore


  • SICOT PIONEER Founders Award 2020
  • 2015 European Foot & Ankle Society ‘Best Podium Presentation’ Award
  • 2013 Singapore Orthopaedic Association Junior Travelling Fellowship
  • 2012 NHG Critical Talent Special Recognition Award
  • 1998 Enid Lindt Prize in Clinical Surgery
  • 1995 Public Services Department Full Medical scholarship

Frequently Asked Questions About Repetitive Strain Back Injury Treatment in Singapore

1When should I seek treatment for repetitive strain injury?
If you suspect that a part of your body, whether it’s the back, arms, or hands, might be suffering from repetitive strain injury, it is always better to seek the help of a professional physician in Singapore for evaluation and treatment sooner rather than later. A minor discomfort can develop into a lifelong chronic condition that severely limits your body functioning, quality of life, and the activities you will be able to do. You’ll also want to look into modifying factors that might be contributing to your present pain or discomfort.
2Is it possible for repetitive strain injuries to be permanent?
When the trauma or strain of the affected area, especially on your back, is too severe, it can lead to permanent damage, like herniated discs, chronic pain, and nerve damage. Therefore, going to an orthopaedic clinic in Singapore for early intervention and proper treatment is crucial in preventing any detrimental conditions and alleviating symptoms of repetitive strain injuries in the long run.
3How long does it take to recover from repetitive strain injury on the back?
Recovery time from any type of repetitive strain injury will depend on its severity and your overall health. Often, it takes a few days or weeks with the help of conservative treatment like RICE treatment or medications. If it’s something as severe as chronic pain or nerve damage, it may take several months or longer. Just make sure to adhere to the treatment plan provided by your doctor in Singapore for better healing.

Clinic Location


OrthofootMD@Mount Alvernia Hospital

Dr Gowreeson Thevendran is currently an orthopaedic surgeon with Island Orthopaedic, a one-stop care centre for orthopaedic health under Healthway Medical Group. He specialises in treating lower limb orthopaedic conditions, as well as trauma and fracture surgery of both the upper and lower limbs. Prior to establishing his private practice, Dr Gowreeson was Chief of Foot & Ankle Surgery at the Department of Orthopaedics at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). Today, he continues to serve the Orthopaedic Department at TTSH as a visiting consultant.

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