Also known in the adult world as occupational overuse, work-related musculoskeletal disorders which show up as neck, back, shoulder, hand wrist and arm pain. You know the syndrome if you work at a computer or in jobs like assembly and manufacturing, repeating the same motions all day and taking infrequent breaks to counteract the unnatural body position.
Cumulative “micro-traumas” that go beyond the body’s natural healing ability
Poor job design and poor work behaviors (not stretching, infrequent breaks, holding your neck forward for too long, etc.) set your body up for repeated stresses which result in injury and even damage in the long run to your muscles, tendons and nerves. Those body parts never get a chance to fully recover over months and years of the same strain day in and day out. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one such repeated musculoskeletal strain.
Symptoms of work-related strain or Repetitive Motion Disorder RMD
- lack of endurance,
- and a feeling of heaviness.
RMD is responsible for nearly half of worker’s compensation claims
Symptoms can be worse at night or while driving. Who is at risk? Those who stand or sit in one position for long periods of time doing a limited set of motions and not taking the time to break and stretch.
Swelling and inflammation can also become a part of the injury
The most common way that workers deal with the pain or awkward feeling is to avoid the very motions that cause the problem in the first place. But then you are over compensating in other parts of your body and end up with pain or something else out of joint.
One small repetitive movement can be the host to a large number of issues
- Splints and braces are commonly used to reduce inflammation and improve posture.
- Corticosteroid injections are the most frequently used for inflammation.
- NSAIDS or over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs are used for the chronic symptoms.
- Heat packs, ice packs, ultrasound, and paraffin baths are used to help put the blood back in the flow and to reduce the inflammation and relaxing the muscles involved
- Massage, physical therapy and biofeedback are important to release stress trauma and control muscle tension.
- Surgery is usually used as a last resort when no other relief can be found.
Is the RMD getting in the way of your off work activities
Many patients complain of pain when doing laundry, drying your hair, holding the phone, driving, lifting or carrying, obvious limits in their range of motion and even trouble sleeping. The nerves have been compromised and loss of feeling and muscle strength is an issue through compression or entrapment of the nerves. Resulting in tight muscles, inflammation and misalignment.
Tendonitis is most common in the fingers, wrist, elbow and shoulder
Muscles can be damaged from tears, inflammation and stiffness. You may wake up feeling tired even though you went to be an hour earlier. The increased discomfort and muscle fatigue are carried over into your sleep. There is no recovery time when the trauma is ongoing.
Increased awareness, frequent breaks and most of all stretching can increase your blood flow bringing important nutrients back to heal, talk with your doctor. “Ask Doctor Jo” invites you to begin treatment with important stretches, see video.
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