Certain jobs or daily activities require us to do the same action over and over again. It can be enjoyable but these repetitive movements can cause serious injury to the body. Most affected are the:
These injuries are quite common in the United States and are referred to as Repetitive Motion Disorders (RMDs).
Repetitive Motion Disorders
Repetitive motion disorders are musculoskeletal conditions caused by movements/motions done over and over. RMDs can be caused by:
- Muscle/ligament friction from unnatural or awkward motions like twisting the arm, wrist, hands or other areas of the body where repeated motions are used.
- Incorrect posture/positioning when doing these movements.
- Overdoing it, either trying to go faster or with added strength that really strains the muscles.
RMD’s cause symptoms because of muscle fatigue, inflammation, and swelling or compression of the nerve’s tissues. Examples include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when the tunnel of bones and ligaments in the wrist begin to pinch the nerves in the fingers and the muscles around the thumb.
- Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa that’s between the tendon and skin, or between a tendon and bone/s.
- Tendonitis is inflammation, irritation, and swelling of a tendon/s.
- Epicondylitis (elbow pain) is inflammation, soreness, and pain on the outside of the upper arm around the elbow.
- Ganglion cyst occurs when tissues surrounding specific joints get inflamed and swell up with fluid.
- Tenosynovitis happens when the lining of the sheath that surrounds a tendon gets inflamed.
- Trigger finger can be a painful or painless clicking, snapping, or locking of a finger/s.
All of the above conditions can be caused by other means and not repetitive movement/s.
RMD Work Risk
Jobs vary all over, but if repetitive movements are how the job gets done those individuals have a higher risk to get a repetitive motion disorder. There are professions and activities that increase the risk that include:
- Assembly/factory linework
- Computer work like typing, digital/graphic design where a digital pad/pen and mouse are the main tools that have to keep moving
- Lifting children like at daycare
- Playing musical instruments
Symptoms of these disorders can include:
- Pain, soreness, pinching and stiffness in the fingers, hands, wrists, forearms, elbows, shoulders, neck and back
- Tingling or numbness.
- Swelling or redness around the area.
- Loss of flexibility and strength.
- There could be no visible sign of injury or pain, but individuals find that the normal and easy tasks they’re used to become more and more difficult to do.
Injuries that are caused by repetitive movements often develop gradually. This is the time when the symptoms are mild and come and go, so the individual just works through it and doesn’t think about it. It’s not until the symptoms get very painful and debilitating that the individual realizes that something is wrong, and then they seek medical attention. Don’t wait, as soon as you feel a tingle, slight pinch, or a little soreness and you feel that it stems from your work’s repetitive movements, get in touch with a doctor or chiropractor before it becomes excruciating.
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Safely Operating Tools that Cause Whole-Body Vibration
There are power tools that vibrate no matter what and transmit vibration into the operator’s arms and hands, legs, and feet. Using a tool like this can cause a condition called white finger or Raynaud’s Phenomenon to present.
The symptoms include:
- Aching in the wrists and muscles of the forearm
- Tingling sensations
- Whiteness in the fingers from restricted circulation
This type of vibration from riveting tools, grinders, pneumatic hammers, drills, and chain saws will affect the whole body’s well being.