Eliminate Repetitive Strain Injury – Valeo Physical Therapy
Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are “injuries to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that may be caused by repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibrations, mechanical compression, or sustained or awkward positions”. RSIs are also known as cumulative trauma disorders, repetitive stress injuries, repetitive motion injuries or disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, and occupational or sports overuse syndromes. (wiki) It has been reported that approximately 60% of all occupational injuries can be attributed to repetitive strain injury.
3 Main Causes
There are 3 main causes or contributing factors to repetitive strain injuries. (Repetitive strain fact sheet)
1. Repeated rapid movements.
2. Forceful muscle movements or using the muscle to move heavy loads.
3. Prolonged static loading of the arms or legs.
The stress placed on the soft tissues (muscle, tendons, nerves) of the extremities can result in compression, entrapments, changes in the anatomy of your muscle, and changes in the functioning of your muscles and tendons. This can lead to joint surfaces becoming maligned and increase your risk for inflammation and developing arthritis & muscle tendon tears.
Common symptoms may include:
- Stiff or achy joints
- Intermittent numbness
- Achy muscles
- Muscles that seem to always have “knots”. This is the most common and often times the earliest warning that something is not entirely right. If these “knots” are always there or don’t go away with massage therapy or come back after massage therapy, there is more that needs to be assessed! Call US Now if this is YOU!
If left untreated, these symptoms can become chronic conditions that can be difficult to treat including:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome CTS
- Various muscle strains or tears
- Joint arthritis
Prevention is Better than Treatment
It is important to recognize the symptoms as early as possible and then get help. When identified early and a plan of action set, repetitive strain injuries can be completely avoided. These plans can be completed and implemented usually within 2-4 sessions with the physical therapists at Valeo Physical Therapy. If more training is required we can also use our highly trained fitness trainers.
If you participate in a sport, job, or other recreational activity that includes repetitive activity, it is vital to get out of the prolonged position (sitting, slouching, & keyboarding) and experience corrective stress.
- Do not maintain any one position (sitting, slouching, static standing, bending, reaching, or keyboarding) for longer than 30 minutes. Super tip: you don’t have to completely stop and do some therapy just get out of that position. Example – keyboarding (Corrective Stress – stop typing, move chair back, sit forward in chair, 3 – correct breaths, then 3-5 reps of squeezing shoulder blades together). Go back to work.
- Maintain hydration – dehydrated soft tissue looses its ability to contract, relax, and respond to stress.
- Complete corrective exercise program specific to your primary repetitive strain activity. Example – prolonged sitting/keyboarding. Problem – Head drops tightening the stabilizing muscle of the front of the neck. Shoulders roll forward changing the joint and muscle relationships around the shoulder (leads to arthritis and rotator cuff strains/tears). Hips are flexed causing our abdominals and big glut max (hip extenders) to become dormant (leads to back/hip/knee pain and hip/knee arthritis). Corrective exercises may include glut squeezes or bridges, core strengthening (side plank), shoulder retractions, and neck stretches. If this person is a runner they need to do more glut activation as a warm up to running. If this person is a strength trainer then they need to work on the back 2 x for every 1 x they do chest.
Physical Therapy Treatment
If we have to treat it we can, and the body responds very quickly as long as it has not become a chronic issue (>12 months). Typical treatment includes:
- Normalizing flexibility and proper strengthening (re-activating) target muscles
- Postural retraining if related
- Bracing or taping if indicated
- Ergonomic assessment and intervention if required.
We Will Get You Back In The Game
The goal of physical therapy when treating RSI, is to reduce the immediate pain, correct imbalances, and normalize strength. Since RSI is often times a chronic injury and develops slowly over time, a physical therapy program is essential to begin the recovery process and requires the active participation of the patient.
We will provide a long-term solution to prevent further injury and return to normal life activities. Our programs are personalized and designed to meet your specific life demands to keep you in the game.
Call us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you or a someone you care about recover from repetitive strain injury.Valeo Physical Therapy 1235 Clear Lake City Blvd, Suite F Houston, TX 77062 281-402-1208