Repetitive stress disorders stem from repetitive motions, vibrations, or compression that has caused injury in the musculoskeletal system or the nervous system. These disorders most often affect our joints, neck, arms, legs, and hands, usually occurring from overuse or poor technique. They are also referred to as repetitive strain injury (RSI), repetitive motion disorder, and overuse injury.
Certain occupations and occupational activities can make you particularly prone to repetitive stress disorders, such as factory work, typing, fashion, and playing music. Athletes are also prone to developing this type of injury. Let’s talk about why this type of injury develops, how to prevent it, and who can help you resolve it.
How Do Repetitive Stress Disorders Happen?
Repetitive stress injuries are painful or debilitating conditions that result from uninterrupted or repeated motions that are unnatural and stress your body. Over a prolonged period of continuing this awkward position or motion, a repetitive stress injury can develop. It may be due to your job, a hobby, or an unergonomic arrangement.
Examples of repetitive motion injuries are:
- Runner’s knee
- Tennis elbow
- Golfer’s elbow
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Shoulder impingement
- Shin splints
- Stress fracture
Symptoms of Overuse Injuries
Repetitive stress disorders have symptoms that become worse over time, and they can include:
- Tingling feeling
- Loss of flexibility
- Loss of strength
- Difficulty performing tasks
Diagnosing a Repetitive Stress Disorder
To diagnose a repetitive motion injury, a doctor will ask you about your symptoms and will conduct a physical examination. The physician may also order diagnostic imaging tests to get a clear picture of the injury and to rule out other possible underlying conditions that can cause the same symptoms.
How Are Repetitive Strain Injuries Treated?
Fortunately, treating repetitive stress disorders usually does not involve surgery. The first step is to stop or modify the activities or motions that caused the injury in the first place.
You have to rest the injured area so it can recover. Ice and/or heat therapy, pain relievers, and steroid injections are common treatment methods for a repetitive stress disorder.
Doctors typically recommend that you see a physical therapist who can help with stretching and strengthening exercises and the use of assistive ergonomic devices. A physical therapist can also show you how to continue performing your job or hobby while minimizing injury risk.
How Can This Injury Be Prevented?
As with other injuries, prevention is always better than treatment. If you are an athlete, take time to stretch, warm up, and cool down every time you practice or compete. If you work or have a hobby, be sure to take frequent breaks, and use ergonomic devices that are available to you.
Work with your doctor and physical therapist to avoid repetitive stress disorders that can lead to permanent damage. You may need to have your workstation or technique evaluated to determine whether you are inadvertently causing an overuse injury by performing tasks in an unnatural position.
Orthopedic Doctors in Naples, Florida
If pain is preventing you from completing your tasks, visit an experienced orthopedist at the Joint Replacement Institute. Our comprehensive on-site services include diagnostic testing, pain management, and physical therapy.
If you would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today by calling our friendly staff at (239) 261-2663 or request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to helping you get over your pain and get on with life!