Repetitive Strain Injuries, or RSI’s, are one of the greatest causes of occupational health problems in the United States. In today’s world there are many activities that play host to the physically demanding and active lifestyles that generate these injuries. These include construction workers, computer programmers, machine operators, hair stylists, gardeners, professional and weekend athletes, musicians, and even massage therapists.
Activities that involve monotonous repetition of movement produce stress on the related muscles, tendons, and joints. Some of the factors that contribute to RSI’s include repeated pressure on a particular joint, fast paced motion, awkward or fixed posture, exerting a lot of force (lifting, pulling, pushing) vibration, cold temperatures, and inadequate rest breaks.
RSI’s develop over time. They may start out mild and then progress to intensely painful and debilitation conditions. The symptoms may occur while performing the repetitive motion or long afterwards. Eventually the pain of the RSI’s can become chronic and constant.
Other common names for RSI’s are carpel tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, rotator cuff tendonitis, bursitis, achilles tendonitis and thoracic outlet syndrome. RSI’s can develop over a short period of weeks or months, or take years to reach a serious condition. They can be irritating, painful, and if left unchecked, disabling. Symptoms may include muscle spasms, strains, tingling or numbness, inflammation of joints and various soft tissues, loss of motion, chronic pain, weakness and even loss of flexibility and coordination.
There is hope for these painful conditions, and three strategies are commonly used to help minimize these injuries. The first strategy is ergonomics. Good ergonomic design is essential. This includes chairs, workstations, computer stations, as well as designed machinery in the shop and construction sites that reduce RSI’s. Today even sports equipment and household tools are now designed with ergonomics in mind and have been developed to absorb the shock to the body and reduce stress on muscles and joints.
The other key strategy to preventing RSI’s is giving the body adequate time to recover by taking breaks from the activity and perhaps varying the tasks performed so that particular part of the body has time to rest.
Lastly, Regular massage treatments are perhaps the best method of recovery for physically demanding jobs and activities.
Massage benefits include:
• Increased local circulation for removal of metabolic wast products and the introduction of healing nutrients to the stressed area.
• Relaxation of tense and stiff muscles and tendons.
• Deactivation of tender trigger points.
• Increased pliability of connective tissue and fascia.
• General relaxation to enhance overall healing.
Massage therapy has been proven to promote overall stress reduction and to lessen chronic pain. Since pain and dysfunction in one part of the body affects the body as a whole, therapeutic massage can address the related areas of muscle tension, as well as the overall general stress caused from anxiety and worry.
To start your recovery from RSI’s and to gain better overall health, schedule your next massage session today. You can go online at www.amentamassage.com or call 719-480-1718 to book your next treatment.
Cathy Amenta is a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Reiki Master since 1998.