With our busy lives, both at work and at home, we can all be guilty of neglecting ourselves a little from time to time. Feeling tired, suffering headaches, or generally experiencing aches and pains can all be symptoms which we often ignore, simply putting it down to our hectic lifestyles. However, it’s so important to stop for a moment and consider what could really be the root cause of your ailments because there might be a simple solution! Today, I’m focusing on repetitive strain injury; how to recognise it and how to combat it.
So, there are usually two types of repetitive stress injuries:
Type one is often caused by engaging in repetitive tasks (think activities such as typing, playing sports, operating machinery, driving frequently) which causes the muscles to swell. This can then result in conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis (inflammation of the tendons), tenosynovitis (when the lining that surrounds the tendon is inflamed), and bursitis-common symptoms, all of which usually include pain, tenderness and reduced range of motion.
The second type of repetitive strain injury is a feeling of pain without any obvious sign of swelling or inflammation. It is usually known as Diffuse Repetitive Stress Injury in which the individual suffers from a reduced sensitivity and more painful responses without any physical evidence of injury.
It’s perfectly natural to get carried away with work without realising that we’re actually pushing ourselves into stress which takes a physical toll on our bodies. Whilst this may not be completely avoidable, we can learn of ways which help us to cope with this stress before it develops into something that can’t be improved on later. So, if either of the two types above sound familiar to you because you’re experiencing similar symptoms, here’s a simple method to get you feeling better in no time.
Step one: ice-pack therapy:
If, at the end of working solidly for the day or working for days at a time without a proper break to move around, you’re likely to feel cooped up and have stiff muscles. Enter, ice-pack therapy. Simply apply an ice pack to the affected area every few hours for a couple of days until you start to feel a difference.
Step two: heat-pack therapy:
After a few days of applying the cold-pack to your aching muscles and if you feel that the inflammation or swelling has subsided, you can turn to a heat-pack to give you further relief from any remaining symptoms. Using a heat pad or wheat bag, apply heat for 15-20 minutes at a time every day until you feel your symptoms completely fading.
Throughout any period of injury, it’s important to allow your body to rest so avoid doing any strenuous exercise until you’re feeling better, instead sticking to some basic stretches.
Remember, our bodies were never meant to be in one position or to perform the same task for longer periods of time. Therefore, allow yourself stress relief breaks and avoid repeated physical exertions without the correct posture. Let your body breathe, take a break, focus on your body positioning, and keep yourself in check so you can keep your body happy.
(NB: This is not medical advice and should be treated purely as an at-home treatment for the relief of pain and inflammation. However, please seek out the advice of a medical professional should you have prolonged or serious symptoms.)