Repetitive Strain Injuries
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is an umbrella term used to describe a range of conditions which develop due to a gradual build up of tension and overuse in our muscles, tendons and joints because of everyday activities and stresses. It is usually related to a job or occupation such as typing but it can also be associated with leisure activities such as playing sport or music and everyday house chores. Some common RSI’s include rotator cuff impingement, tennis elbow, iliotibial band syndrome and plantar fasciitis.
What Causes Repetitive Strain Injuries?
The main cause is frequent and repetitive movements of the same body part, such as clicking on a mouse or practicing the same stroke in tennis over and over again. Other factors such as poor posture whilst performing these tasks, using excessive force or not taking frequent breaks may also contribute to the complaint.
The symptoms of Repetitive Strain Injuries may include:
- Pain which is aggravated by movement
- Reduced range of movement
Chiropractic Treatment of RSI
Here at Morningside chiropractic we offer a package of care, the elements of which will be determined by both your history and examination findings and be determined by the latest research and years of clinical experience. It may involve a combination of any of the following, manipulation or mobilization of the surrounding joints which not only increases the available movement at these joints and thus eases the load on the muscles and tendons which work over work over the joint, but relaxes the soft tissues surrounding the area, deep soft tissue work (cross friction, massage, myofascial release techniques) to reduce any fibrous adhesions (knots) and tension which may have developed within the musculature , therapeutic ultrasound which may speed up the healing time and improve the quality of the scar tissue.
Most importantly your chiropractor will give you postural and ergonomic advice, and a home rehabilitative program to help address any imbalances and possible attributing factors and thus in turn reduce the likelihood of recurrence.
Rotator Cuff Impingement Rotator Cuff Impingement Pain from the rotator cuff is the most common cause of shoulder pain. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles which work as a unit to help stabilize the shoulder joint on movement. The tendons of these muscles run in a small space between the top of the humerus (arm bone) and the acromion (tip of the shoulder) known as the subacromial space. If this gap is reduced in size then the tendons will be repeatedly irritated on arm movements resulting in damage and inflammation and thus a gradual build up of pain. One of the most common causes of impingement is an imbalance within the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint, which may lead to poor posture and faulty movement patterns, but it is also common in the overhead athletes such as throwers and swimmers. It can also develop after the onset rotator cuff tendonitis as this condition involves inflammation of the tendon and thus a decrease in the subacromial space. The symptoms of rotator cuff impingement include pain on the outside of the shoulder or moving the arm out to the side (abduction) and on overhead activities and the pain maybe more noticeable at night especially when lying on the effected shoulder.
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a condition that results in pain and tenderness over the outside of your elbow. It is usually seen in those over 40 and it affects 5 in every 1000 adults each year. Tennis elbow is caused by the repetitive use of the wrist and finger extensors which results in the inflammation of the tendon. It is common in amateur tennis players due to poor technique in the backhand swing and it is an occupational hazard for those whose work demands the prolonged use of their hands. Symptoms of tennis elbow include tenderness over the outside of the elbow, pain on lifting or bending the arm, and on gripping or carrying and wrist weakness.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) results in pain over the outside aspect of your knee which is often aggravated by running. The iliotibial band is a long connective tissue which runs down the outside of your leg and extends from your hip to just below your knee joint and its main function is to aid the stability of the knee joint alongside other thigh muscles. This syndrome occurs when there is repetitive irritation to this band as it travels over the bony prominence over the outside of your knee joint as you bend and straighten your knee. It is more commonly seen in runners and some of the causes associated with ITBS include a significant increase in training intensity, training on hills or uneven ground, leg length discrepancy, faulty biomechanics and incorrect or worn shoes. The symptoms of ITBS are an ache usually after running for roughly the same time or distance on each run over the outside aspect of the knee which may disappear soon after the training session.
Plantar Fasciitis is a common condition which causes pain under your heel. Around 1 in 10 people will suffer with plantar fasciitis at some time in their life and it is especially prevalent in those between 40 and 60 years of age and is twice as common in women as it is in men. The plantar fascia is a strong ligament like band which extends from your heel to the underside of the bones in the middle of your foot, and its main functions are to act as a shock absorber and to help maintain the arch. Overuse of the fascia such as standing, walking or running for long periods results in repetitive injury to this tissue and in turn a chronic pain cycle develops. Being overweight is also a risk factor as is adapting your running surface, intensity or style and changing your shoes. Often however there is no clear reason as to why this condition develops especially in the older population. The symptoms of plantar fasciitis include heel pain which is worse in the morning, after long periods of rest or after heavy activity.