According to the legal information site Nolo, repetitive motion injuries are on the rise. They report that 60% of all workplace injuries are from repetitive stress and that it’s “mostly because of the increased use of computers in the workplace.” Since so many of us hold jobs where we have to use a computer to do our work, we are at increased risk for developing repetitive stress injuries. But there’s hope! There are treatments for repetitive stress injuries, as well as ways of avoiding them. With a little thought and care, you don’t have to let repetitive motion injuries slow you down!
Symptoms of Repetitive Stress
Repetitive motion injuries, also known as repetitive stress injuries or RSI, generally cause the following in the muscles used frequently and over and over in the same motion:
Although these symptoms often start out mildly, if the person experiencing them doesn’t take action, the discomfort can intensify over time until the pain becomes so intense the person can no longer complete tasks.
Common Repetitive Stress Injuries
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – You’ve probably heard of this one. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome causes burning or other pain in the hand and fingers. It happens when the median nerve, which runs down your forearm to your hand through a “tunnel” in your wrist, is compressed by inflamed tendons and ligaments. The inflammation occurs due to a frequently repeated motion such as using a computer mouse.
Tendonitis – Tendonitis frequently affects athletes, as well as “weekend warriors”: people who exercise vigorously on the weekend but not during the week. Your tendons connect your muscles to your bones. If you use a certain muscle over and over again in a repetitive motion, the tendon can become inflamed.
Bursitis – You have small sacs called bursae attached to your joints. They’re filled with synovial fluid and serve as little cushions for your bones, tendons, and ligaments. When they become inflamed and swollen, it hurts to move your joints.
How to Prevent and Treat RSI
There are a few things you can do to alleviate the strain from repetitive motion tasks. As I’ve mentioned earlier here on Ask Dr. Maxwell adjustable standing desks offer a number of health benefits. One of these benefits is that when you become uncomfortable in one position, you can adjust your position by adjusting your whole desk. This can help change the motions you’re making and relieve some RSI.
Another way to help prevent RSI is by using tools that alleviate the associated pain. For example, in the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, ergonomic mice and mouse pads may relieve the pain that develops when working for long stretches at a computer.
Using natural anti-inflammatory supplements like Inflamments Formula by Diamond Nutritionals is another great way to reduce RSI.
Icing the sore area is a great and easily available home treatment for the pain caused by repetitive motion injuries. You don’t even need a special ice pack. Just grab a sack of some frozen veggies, wrap it in a soft cloth and apply to the affected area.
Exercise is another option for relieving RSI. Some people find that swimming regularly or going for relaxed walks helps.
If none of these treatments or tools help relieve your RSI, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor. There are other conditions and diseases that have some of the same symptoms, like rheumatoid arthritis, that will necessitate a different treatment approach.
Feel free to contact me to schedule a telemedicine (phone) consultation or office consultation at our Integrative Medical Center in Metamora, Indiana. I will be glad to help you.