Repetitive Stress Disorder
Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) (or repetitive stress disorder) are injuries that occur when too much stress is frequently placed on a part of the body. The frequent stress compounds over time resulting in damage to muscles, tissue, tendons, and to nerves.
These injuries are particularly common for those whose occupation requires repetitive motion. In fact, repetitive stress disorders result in nearly 50 percent of work-related injuries. However, frequent high intensity activities such as sports or playing a musical instrument can also cause RSIs.
While repetitive stress injuries are most common in adults, these types of injuries are rapidly on the increase in teens. Many teens are spending a lot of time using computers and playing video games which can lead to repetitive stress injuries. In teens, these injuries most often occur at growth plates, especially at the shoulders, elbows, knees and heels.
Some common repetitive stress injuries include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Rotator cuff tendonitis
- Tennis elbow
What Causes Repetitive Stress Disorder?
Any task, sport, or hobby that involves repetitive tasks can cause this. Wait staff carrying heavy trays, or cashiers in grocery stores scanning items can lead to these injuries. Bottom line, any repetitive movement done on a frequent basis can cause an injury - even text messaging.
In particular, teenagers may be susceptible to repetitive stress injuries because of the significant physical growth that occurs during this time in their life. Growth spurts can create extra tightness and tension in muscles and tendons.
Repetitive Stress Injuries most frequently affects:
- Wrists and hands
- Forearms and elbows
- Neck and shoulders
Some symptoms may include:
- Mild to severe pain
- Tingling or numbness
Symptoms usually begin gradually and over time become frequent and more intense.
Treatment and Repetitive Stress Disorder
A qualified chiropractor or physiotherapist will ask you about your work environment and will perform a series of non-invasive tests such as range-of-motion, orthopedic and muscle testing. If need be, an MRI may be required. The first thing is to determine what exactly is the cause and specific condition (i.e., carpal tunnel, rotator cuff tendonitis, etc.) the patient has.
Chiropractors and physiotherapists can both provide safe and proven methods to manage and relieve swelling and pain caused by repetitive stress disorder. Regular care provides patients with a safe, non-invasive, non-addictive alternative to prescription medications or over-the-counter pain medications.
Chiropractic adjustments may be required to help reduce joint restrictions in an effort to reduce inflammation and improve function. Some patients may need a tailored exercise program to stretch and strengthen affected areas. In some cases a brace or splint may be necessary to immobilize the area as it heals.
Those with repetitive stress injuries under chiropractic and physiotherapy care will experience:
- Improved joint motion
- Relief from pain, discomfort, and inflammation
- Improved flexibility
Tips to Prevent Repetitive Stress Disorder
If your job requires you to sit at a desk then be sure to remember that good posture is key to avoiding unnecessary muscular stress. Be sure to check in with yourself every half hour or so to be sure that slouching hasn`t set in.
Adjust your work station to promote good posture and comfort.
Sit in a chair that provides you lower back support and keep your feet flat on the floor or on a foot rest. Thighs should be parallel to the ground, and your hands, wrists, and forearms should be aligned. Elbows should be in line with your keyboard to avoid strain.
Avoid sitting cross-legged.
If possible, get a stand-up desk with an anti-fatigue mat to stand on. Spending some computer time at a standing desk with a foot rest to alternate keeping one leg up every so often is a great alternative to traditional desks.
Your computer monitor should be about one arm’s length away from your body. Not only is this good for eye sight, looking at eye level helps with posture.
Taking frequent breaks from your desk throughout the day is as important as having an ergonomic workstation.
- Make circles with your arms
- Stretch or walk around
- Stretch your shoulders
- March in place
- Frequently exercise your fingers and flex your wrists
The same principles apply if you are not at a desk. Maintain good posture, figure out the least stressful positions for the repetitive tasks required, and take frequent mini-breaks. If you have to stand a lot, use an anti-fatigue mat. Be sure to frequently stretch and flex your fingers and wrists.
Established in 2007 by Dr. Behalf Sanjari, Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has a proven record of commitment providing quality health care services in the Greater Toronto Area. Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has qualified professionals who can provide chiropractic and physiotherapy to help with Repetitive Stress Disorder. We have clinics located in Richmond Hill and Newmarket, visit Chiro-Med online or call 905-918-0419 or 905-235-2620 for more information.