Conservative treatment for repetitive strain injury

Scand J Work Environ Health. 2001 Oct;27(5):299-310. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.618.


Various conservative treatment options for repetitive strain injury are widely used, despite questionable evidence of their effectiveness. This systematic review evaluates the effectiveness of these treatment options for relieving symptoms of repetitive strain injury and improving activities of daily living. Searches in Medline and Embase, with additional reference checking resulted in 15 eligible trials for this review. Methodological quality was assessed, and data-extraction was performed. With the use of a "best-evidence synthesis", no strong evidence was found for the effectiveness of any of the treatment options. There is limited evidence that multidisciplinary rehabilitation, ergonomic intervention measures, exercises, and spinal manipulation combined with soft tissue therapy are effective in providing symptom relief or improving activities of daily living. There is conflicting evidence for the effectiveness of behavioral therapy. In conclusion, little is known about the effectiveness of conservative treatment options for repetitive strain injury. To establish strong evidence, more high-quality trials are needed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / complications
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / therapy*
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Humans
  • Manipulation, Chiropractic
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Physical Therapy Specialty
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Splints
  • Treatment Outcome