Tennis elbow, trigger finger, and shin splints are all painful conditions that affect different parts of the body.
But they do have one thing in common.
They are all repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) – injuries caused by repeated motions carried out over long periods of time.
This can occur in the workplace… especially if you work with computers or on an assembly line all day.
Or, you can find yourself with an RSI from regular activities like tending your garden, playing tennis, sewing, or playing musical instruments.
If you’ve never experienced an RSI, consider yourself lucky.
Because in my experience, they can be downright debilitating.
Often times you’ll feel pain, tingling, numbness, swelling and redness.
And long-term, they can cause serious damage to your soft tissues. Including your muscles, tendons, nerves, and ligaments if left untreated.
Now, if you’re already living with an RSI, you’re probably familiar with the treatment recommendations:
- Limiting the repetitive motions
- Taking breaks from your work/activities
- Icing the affected area to reduce swelling and inflammation
- Using splints to limit the strain on your body
- Some injuries may also require seeing a physical therapist to help ease pain and improve mobility.
That’s good advice and all….
But, for those of you not yet experiencing pain and discomfort from repetitive motion activities, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing problems like this…
First, you want to be sure you stretch before any activity.
And not just your big muscles like your back and legs.
If you’re working with your hands, be sure you stretch out your wrists and fingers, too.
Once you’ve wrapped up your work or tasks, give your body another stretch to prevent stiffness later on.
If you’re working with tools, see if there are any electrical tools you can use instead of the manual variety to reduce pressure on your joints.
And finally, don’t be embarrassed to use a little help in the space around you.
If there’s a chair or stool you can sit on to avoid crouching over, or pads you can wear – say while gardening – to protect your vulnerable joints, use them.
No one wants to give up a job or hobby they love due to a repetitive stress injury… nor should they have to.
With some easy modifications and proper care, you can limit your risks and continue to enjoy the work and activities you love.
And if you’d like to see another easy way you can protect your joints so that you can enjoy your favorite hobbies without pain…