“Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.” – Norman Vincent Peale
Repetitive motions and actions are a staple of human existence. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of movements that we make repeatedly day in and day out.
And, when it comes to learning and performance – whether in sports, arts, or at work – a certain type of repetition is at the foundation of growth and excellence. For example, while putting in a minimum of “10,000 hours” may or may not make one an expert at something, years of repeating the same moves or motions or thought patterns does make one proficient.
Unfortunately, repetitive motions can also lead to pain and injuries.
Common Types of RSI – Repetitive Stress Injury
Also known as repetitive strain injury or repetitive motion injury, RSIs can afflict various parts of the body depending on the cause or source.
Some of the most common RSIs, according to the Cleveland Clinic’s website, include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Tennis elbow.
- Trigger finger and trigger thumb.
- Osgood-Schlatter disease.
- Back strains and sprains.
- Shin splints.
Simply put, a repetitive stress injury is damage to your muscles, tendons or nerves caused by repetitive motions and constant use. Any simple motions or movements, such as using a keyboard or practicing a musical instrument, can lead to repetitive strain injuries if they are sustained over time.
Perhaps the most well-known RSI is carpal tunnel syndrome, an affliction that seems to have come along with the advent of computers. However, gamers and others can develop “Gamer’s thumb” or De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. And many athletes and sports participants can suffer from rotator cuff tendonitis and various types of bursitis.
Repetitive stress injuries are the result of a gradual build-up of damage to tissues caused by repetitive movements or overuse. Although most RSIs are the result of normal motions done in excess, they can also stem from abnormal or compensated motions that involve far less repetition.
What does an RSI feel like?
According to Verywell Health,
“If you have a repetitive stress injury, you may feel pain, tingling, numbness, stiffness, or weakness in the affected area. You may also see swelling and redness and hear clicking or popping in a joint when you move it.”
Treating Repetitive Stress Injuries at the Source
Like many other soft tissue injuries, RSIs can lead to inflammation of the affected area. This inflammation can lead to pain, spasm, motion compensation – and can trigger the process of adhesion development.
Adhesions typically form in response to excessive tissue stressors such as friction, compression, tension, as well as inflammation. These adhesions then restrict motion, which can lead to further pain as well as compensated motion. Eventually, this can lead to increased tissue stresses in adjacent areas.
In response to these adhesions and the pain, affected muscles and joints will move in dysfunctional or less than optimal ways. This can result in altered muscle movement patterns and compensatory pain in other areas.
Consequently, treating RSIs requires addressing both the physical issues such as adhesions and inflammation, as well as the sensory receptors and neuromuscular responses related to the injured area.
At Pain and Performance Solutions, we recognize this and employ therapies such as Active Release Technique®, or ART®, as well as targeted modalities including Proprioceptive – Deep Tendon Reflex®, also known simply as P-DTR®.
P-DTR® treats musculoskeletal problems by focusing on a critical and often overlooked function of the human body known as the mechanoreceptor system.
One way to think of the mechanoreceptor system is to view it as the body’s “software” and our bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons as the “hardware.” Mechanoreceptors detect stimuli, or input, such as touch, pressure, vibration, and sound from both the external and internal environments.
Just like with computers, hardware problems are corrected by fixing or replacing the hardware. However, software problems – while they may cause hardware problems – must be addressed at the level of the software.
End the Cycle of Chronic RSI Pain with Pain and Performance Solutions
At your first appointment, we will learn about your present pain as well as any history of discomfort you have experienced. We do this because treating and relieving your foot pain starts when we understand where and how your pain started.
Completing a full examination will then help us determine which form of treatment technique and therapy will be best suited to get you on your road to pain relief and recovery.
The source of RSI pain, like many other types of pain, may not originate where you feel it most. This is because our bodies will often try to compensate for pain to allow us to get through the day with less pain. In the process, our bodies can alter our normal movement patterns to compensate for our discomfort, and this dysfunctional movement pattern often leads to other areas of pain.
The good news is that it’s possible for us to accurately locate and identify the real source of your pain and then apply the best therapies for bringing relief.
Ultimately, getting your body healthy and working properly is the only way to achieve total recovery. In the process, your trust in us is key, as is your honesty. So, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any questions that you may have.
Our goal is to work through the sequence of pain and dysfunction in order to get your body healthy and working properly and to achieve total recovery.