REPETITIVE STRAIN INJURIES

A repetitive strain injury is by definition an injury to the upper limb, caused by repetitive strain of that area. It is commonly seen in the workplace, but may be related to any activity that creates repetitive strain. It can of course happen anywhere else in the body too.

Symptoms of Repetitive Strain are pain, tingling, pins and needles, numbness, stiffness and swelling. You may experience one of these, several, or possibly all of them.

Are you at risk of Repetitive Strain Injury?

  • Do you work for long periods without a break?
  • Is your workstation set-up well? (Home and work.)
  • Do you sit well at your workstation?
  • Are you regularly performing activities that require greater force? (Pushing and lifting.)
  • Do you work in colder temperatures?
  • Do you use vibrating equipment?
  • Are you suffering regular or ongoing stress?

All of the above factors might make you more susceptible to a Repetitive Strain Injury. If you do experience a problem, then it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.

Prevention is always better than cure. The following are some exercises for the upper limb. Performed regularly, they may help to prevent an issue, and may too help if you are already experiencing any problems.

These exercises shouldn’t cause pain, if you experience a problem, stop the exercise and consult your Osteopath or other medical practitioner. If you have an existing complaint, it would be wise to consult your practitioner to check these exercises are appropriate for you.

Wrist Extensor Stretch

Extend your arm out ahead of you with your palm facing down towards the ground. With the opposite hand, gently encourage your fingers back towards your body to feel a stretch at the back of the forearm and wrist. Hold for a slow count of 20, and repeat on the other side.

Wrist Flexor Stretch

Extend your arm ahead of you with your palm facing up. Gently encourage your fingers back towards your body to feel a stretch at the front of your forearm and wrist. Hold for  a slow count of 20, then repeat on the other side.

Biceps Stretch

The upper arm (biceps area) can be stretched in the same way as the wrist flexor stretch above. Make sure you keep the arm straight to feel a stretch at the front of the upper arm and elbow. Hold for a slow count of 20 on both sides.

Triceps Stretch

Extend your arm straight up so it lies alongside your ear. Then bend your elbow, and allow your hand to make contact with your upper back. Using the other hand. Apply gentle pressure above the elbow to encourage your hand to move further down your back. Hold for a slow count of 20, and then repeat on the other side.

Rhomboids Stretch

At shoulder height, bring one arm across the front of your body. Using the opposite arm, apply pressure above the elbow to further stretch the arm across the front of your body, and feel a stretch at the back of the shoulder. As much as is possible, try and keep both shoulders facing forwards. Hold for a slow count of 20 on both sides.

Pectoral Stretch

Extend both arms out to each side at shoulder height with your palms facing forwards. Bring the arms backwards to feel a stretch at the front of the shoulders. Hold for a slow count of 20.