Repetitive motion injuries are common and often avoidable
Have you ever heard of repetitive motion injuries? How about carpal tunnel syndrome? These conditions are a common problem for many American workers, but the right knowledge will equip you to avoid them or help alleviate the pain they cause.
What are “repetitive motion injuries?”
The basics are all in the name: Repetitive motion injuries occur when a person makes a repeated motion over and over again. While a single action, such as a golf swing or typing on a keyboard, doesn’t seem like a dangerous activity, constant repetition over a long period of time presents a problem. They can also stem from trauma, crystal deposits, or systemic diseases.
Repetitive motion injuries are actually some of the most common injuries in the United States and former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich assessed that by preventing them, “American companies could save $20 billion each year in workers’ compensation.”
There are two frequent causes of repetitive motion injuries: tendinitis and bursitis. Tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons caused by repeated movement, and it most commonly affects the shoulder, elbow, and biceps. Bursitis, on the other hand, is a condition affecting the bursae, which are small pouches that act as cushions between the tendon and the bone. The bursae sac becomes inflamed, resulting in discomfort and pain.
Common forms of repetitive motion injuries
These types of injuries can be caused by numerous factors, but there are a few common varieties that everyone should be aware of, regardless of age, occupation, or sex.
One of the most common and well-documented forms of repetitive motion injury is carpal tunnel syndrome caused by constant typing on a keyboard. This problem starts when the median nerve, which travels through a small tunnel in the wrist, is pinched. Inflamed ligaments can compress the nerve, causing pain.
Workers who make a single repetitive motion all day, such as factory employees, are also subject to repetitive motion injuries in the shoulder, elbow, or wrist. And many athletic activities, such as tennis, golf, running, and baseball can also cause the condition.
How to avoid repetitive motion injuries
If you work on a computer for a living, one of the best things you can do to avoid a repetitive motion injury is to simply take a few breaks. There are also wrist and forearm stretches you can do to avoid inflammation, and keyboard accessories that vary the position of your wrists. And if you work in any other job with a repetitive motion, the same basic principle applies. Use your breaks and stretch your limbs for long-term comfort.
To avoid repetitive motion injuries caused by sports and athletic activities, always stop if you experience pain, and vary the type of exercise you do to stay active. Pre-activity stretching can also help you avoid muscle problems and could decrease your chances of injury.
When should you seek care for repetitive motion injuries?
It can be difficult to know whether you should seek medical care for this common condition. Are you simply experiencing sore muscles or is it something more serious? It’s rarely easy to tell.
The first sign that you may need medical attention is pain when you move your arm, shoulder, wrist, or leg. If the pain is accompanied by tenderness to touch, or redness and increased warmth, you may need to see a doctor. Of course, if the pain is waking you up at night or lasts for more than a few days, don’t take chances – seek a professional opinion.
Find pain relief with Pines Spine & Joint
You deserve the finest care possible. If you are experiencing prolonged pain from repetitive motion injuries, contact Pines Spine & Joint at 954-589-2319 (East Pines office), 954-430-8000 (West Pines office), or through our online form to make an appointment today. We offer a host of chiropractic, massage, pain management, and physical therapy services that can help relieve your discomfort and find a long-term solution for your injury.