Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs), also referred to as repetitive motion
injuries, are injuries to the bones, nerves, tendons, or muscles that
develop as a result of overuse. From carpal tunnel syndrome to tennis
elbow, these injuries can be extremely painful and can prevent individuals
from being able to work, resulting in countless hours of lost productivity.
Fortunately, many repetitive stress injuries can be prevented by adhering
to certain key tips.
Take regular breaks: By far the easiest and most effective way to prevent repetitive motion
injuries is to make sure to take frequent breaks. The more time you take
to rest from performing a repetitive motion, the more time your body will
have to repair itself.
Type in a neutral position: If your occupation requires you to type, keep your wrists elevated and
off the surface of your desk or keyboard. The tips of your fingers should
be the only part of your hand touching the keyboard. Sitting up straight
will make it easier to maintain a neutral typing position.
Stretch frequently: Pay attention to the muscles you habitually work and be sure to take
the time to stretch every now and then. Roll your arms, shoulders, wrists,
and neck periodically. Stretches which involve unrolling a clenched fist
can be particularly helpful to protect against carpal tunnel.
Diet and exercise: In addition to being mindful of the motions you make, taking care of
your body by eating right and engaging in regular exercise can reduce
your susceptibility to injury increase your body’s ability to heal
itself against repetitive stress.
Use the proper equipment: Work equipment that is not the correct size can force your body into
unnatural and dangerous positions, skyrocketing your chances of injury.
Using properly fitting and ergonomic equipment can minimize this stress
and allow you to accomplish your work in a position that is comfortable.
How to Prevent Repetitive Stress Injuries for Musicians
Playing music can be beautiful and may seem effortless, but for the musician,
it includes hundreds of hours of practice, dedication, and hard work.
While an injury to a violin player may not look as dramatic as an injury
to a football player, it can be equally as severe. For example, pianists
require the dexterous use of their fingers to play intricate melodies.
The human hand typically has 29 major joints, 123 named ligaments, 34
muscles that move the fingers and thumb, 48 named nerves, and 30 named arteries.
If any or all of these are injured, the player can no longer practice.
Studies have shown musicians are also particularly vulnerable to repetitive
stress injuries (RSI), or injuries caused by repetitive movements that
irritate and damage muscles, nerves, or tendons. Around 50% to 80% of
musicians will experience physical problems at some point. They usually
maintain a certain position while performing skilled, rapid, and repetitive
movements for extended periods of time.
What Could Contribute to RSI for Musicians?
Other risks could increase their chance of injury, including playing in
cold temperatures, incorrect positioning of the instrument, excessive
force, inadequate rest, and poor posture. These factors can cause stress
on muscles, tendons, and surrounding soft tissue.
How Can a Musician Avoid RSI?
There are ways for music players to avoid sustaining an RSI.
- If you intersperse long periods of practice or performance with sessions
of gentle stretching or range of motion exercises, the movement can enhance
blood flow to the extremities and prevent your limbs and fingers from
becoming fatigued. Likewise, the movement will also lubricate the joints
with synovial fluid, the viscous material found in the cavities of joints
that prevents friction between cartilage.
- Strength and endurance training can also help a musician hold proper form
throughout a performance or practice.
- Additionally, drinking lots of water, avoiding caffeine and nicotine, and
having a healthy diet can also contribute to your body’s overall health.
- If possible, get an ergonomically adjusted instrument that will help you
adapt to improved body alignment and avoid unnecessary stress on your body.
- Warm-up exercises and stretching may also help.
Occasionally, however, musicians might need physical or
massage therapy to help them return to work. Physical therapy helps improve range of motion
and increases strength. If you think you might need physical therapy,
don’t hesitate to call us.
What About Repetitive Stress Injuries for Those Working in the Kitchen?
For people like chefs, cooks, and other kitchen workers, RSIs are relatively
common after slicing, dicing, tossing, and cutting the same meals repeatedly
over the course of a workday. The easiest way to prevent an RSI is to
be aware of how they happen and how various motions affect your body.
What Can a Chef Do to Prevent RSI?
Early detection of musculoskeletal injuries has a positive impact on reducing
the number of such injuries. Also, having an awareness that you’re
repeating a motion over and over, and taking a break from it once in a
while, can go a long way to keeping your muscles and tendons happy.
For example, repetitive motion for upper arms, forearms, elbows, and wrists
is considered doing more than 10 reps per minute. For shoulders, doing
more than 2.5 reps per minutes is considered repetitive motion. In order
to prevent injury, minimize any repetitive motion wherever possible. Likewise,
integrate mechanical or automated devices into your cooking, such as electric
mixers and food processors.
Share the Workload
If you have other workers who do similar jobs, alternate working positions
to avoid overusing any single muscle or muscle group. If you’re
right handed, try stirring with your left hand for a while. If you need
to work for extended periods, stretch and take small breaks often.
Suffering from an RSI? Call ProFysio Physical Therapy
If you or a loved one are suffering from a repetitive stress injury, you
may be able to achieve relief from your discomfort and avoid surgery by
adhering to a custom-tailored
physical therapy regimen with the assistance of our knowledgeable
Aberdeen physical therapists. Having helped countless patients throughout New Jersey, our skilled doctors
can help minimize your pain and restore your quality of life.
Call (732) 333-6360 today to
schedule your free consultation!