Repetitive movements of the hands, wrists, and arms cause repetitive stress injuries (RSI). These include:
Many professions require constant hand and arm movement, which can lead to RSI. Factory workers, cooks, teachers, writers, and nurses all risk injury because of repetitive tasks.
Repetitive stress can also injure muscles and ligaments in the shoulder. Problems with the shoulder typically involve the rotator cuff and labral tears.
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What are repetitive stress injuries?
Repetitive stress injuries are a type of injury that develops slowly over time from repeated physical movements. They can occur in various parts of the body, including the muscles, tendons, and nerves, and are often caused by using the same body part over and over again.
Some examples of repetitive stress injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, and rotator cuff injuries. These conditions can cause pain, swelling, and reduced mobility.
If left untreated, they can lead to chronic pain and disability. It’s essential to take breaks, stretch, and use proper ergonomic techniques to prevent repetitive stress injuries.
What causes repetitive stress injuries?
What are some common causes of repetitive strain injuries? It’s everywhere you look, stress. We’re constantly worrying about something or someone, being concerned about the present or the future, being motivated by something or someone, etc.
We’re constantly in motion too: we’re running around at work or school, we’re engaged in a physical activity like playing a sport or exercising, we’re moving from one place to another like going to work or shopping, etc.
Furthermore, we all have things that make us stressed out and things that motivate us, but how can we protect ourselves from all of this stress?
There are three categories of repetitive stress that people need to be aware of and protect against occupational (work-related) repetitive stress; lifestyle (social/financial) repetitive stress; and physiological (body) repetitive stress.
What are the symptoms of RSD?
Symptoms of RSD include pain, sensitivity to touch and temperature changes in the affected area, muscle spasms, and limited movement. Some people with RSD experience involuntary movements or tremors in affected muscles.
Some people with RSD develop symptoms in areas next to the affected region, such as sweats, chills, or anxiety. These are called cross-domain symptoms.
Although these symptoms can occur in people without RSD, they are more common in those with the syndrome. One in five people suffering from RSD experiences these cross-domain symptoms.
Many people mistakenly believe that these cross-domain symptoms are because of anxiety or stress. However, doctors can distinguish between these symptoms and those caused by stress by performing physical tests and asking questions about the onset of symptoms.
How can repetitive stress affect you?
Repetitive stress injuries can happen when you perform the same action repeatedly. Like when you type on a keyboard or phone, write, sweep or clean, cook or eat, and so many other everyday actions.
Most times, you don’t even realize you’re overusing certain muscles until you experience pain and discomfort. By that point, it’s difficult to recover from the injury because of the continuous nature of the action.
The health of your nerves plays a significant role in preventing repetitive stress injuries. Your nerves control how your body moves and reacts to external stimuli, such as physical activity.
If your nerves are damaged or dysfunctional, then your body may not properly protect itself from repetitive activity. This can eventually lead to injury.
What are some tips for reducing your risk of developing repetitive stress disorder?
You can learn more about the risks of repetitive stress and how to prevent them by attending education sessions organized by your employer. You can also consult with your health insurance provider, as they may offer similar educational sessions or referrals to resources.
Your employer is very concerned with your health and safety, so they are a great source of information.
You can also learn more about repetitive stress disorders by reading up on ergonomics. Many books and online resources detail the best ways to work efficiently and safely.
Many involve simple changes, like moving around periodically, taking breaks, switching hands or arms when working, and keeping items at the proper height and distance to prevent excessive strain.
Others include organizing workspace materials in the best way to prevent reaching or pulling, and shifting positions to exercise more regularly.
Who should be most concerned about developing repetitive stress disorder?
Anyone can develop RSI, but certain groups of people are more likely to develop symptoms.
Those who perform repetitive tasks in their job or hobby are at higher risk. Anyone who conducts several similar motions can be at risk, however.
Office workers, computer programmers, car mechanics, hairstylists, and chefs are among the most prevalent cases of RSI. Many of these professions require the use of tools that further increase the risk of developing symptoms.
People with lower levels of strength, fitness, or stamina are also more likely to develop RSI. Those with weak muscles or limited energy may find it challenging to change tasks without taking a break. This can lead to overuse and eventual injury.
Are there any treatments if I develop repetitive stress disorder?
Yes, there are several treatment options for people who develop repetitive stress disorder. Changing how you work can help reduce pain and the risk of injury.
Some companies offer work adjustment services where an occupational health physician or therapist helps you change your work setup. You can also seek an occupational health physician or therapist to get help to make these changes.
Others recommend using a keyboard (sometimes called an ergonomic keyboard) with cushioned wrists and two-handed typing (using both left and right hands to type). These recommendations are given because they help prevent repetitive strain on the wrists, hands, and arms.
Some companies offer training on how to do these adjustments so that they become permanent changes within the company. This is done to protect the health of employees, as well as protect the company from paying for health issues because of poor safety practices.
What is the long-term impact of repetitive stress disorder on your health?
Repetitive stress injury can cause pain and disability that may take years to heal. Sometimes, people never fully recover. Additionally, repetitive stress injuries can lead to other problems, such as depression and anxiety because of the stress of living with constant pain or disability.
The more you understand about RSI, the more likely you are to make changes that prevent it. For example, knowing how to adjust your workstation based on your job and knowing how to exercise properly can help reduce the risk of developing RSI.
Understanding how exercise can help reduce the risk of developing RSI is important. Exercise is a way to both relieve pain and strengthen muscles affected by repetitive stress injury.
Exercise is a way to both relieve pain and strengthen muscles affected by repetitive stress injury.
How can you prevent the development of symptoms?
In most cases, we can prevent symptoms by taking some time to relax and rest our hands and wrists. When you feel the onset of pain or fatigue, take a few days off to rest.
Some people choose to wear wrist braces to prevent flexion of the wrist. This can be worn during everyday activities and work hours, making it an effective prevention tool.
Others choose to take a few weeks off of work to fully recover, but this depends on your job and time off. It is up to you to decide which option is more effective for you!
Many people find relief by using ergonomic tools and devices for their work. Some companies offer help in finding and purchasing ergonomic tools at a reasonable price.