What is RSI/CANS?

RSI is also known as CANS (Complaints of the Arm, Neck and/or Shoulder).
RSI/CANS is an umbrella term for various types of pain symptoms in the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists and hands, and sometimes even in the legs. RSI/CANS occur from chronically overstrained muscles caused by repeated physical movements such as clicking on the mouse or rapid touch typing whereby no or little variation in the working posture is possible. A workstation which cannot be optimally adapted to the person's measurements, can cause RSI/CANS.

RSI/CANS symptoms are pain, a tingling sensation, numbness, coldness, stiffness and loss of strength in the body parts mentioned above. Sometimes it is difficult to localise the pain. The following are valid for all RSI/CANS symptoms: they worsen progressively if sufficient rest periods are not taken to allow recovery or if the symptoms are ignored for too long.

The progressive stages of RSI/CANS are:

  • Stage 1: The symptoms only appear while working. 
  • Stage 2: The symptoms also appear during other activities. The pain also appears in the evenings, and you can even be awoken with the pain during the night.
  • Stage 3: The symptoms are constantly present. Everyday things such as dressing and undressing become painful and even opening a door or turning a key in a lock becomes almost impossible.

It is not known how RSI/CANS precisely occurs. A considerable amount of research is being conducted into possible factors which may play a role in the development of RSI/CANS symptoms.