Repetitive Strain Injuries that Benefit from Physical Therapy

Posted in February 16, 2023
By Dan Wheeler
Repetitive Strain Injuries that Benefit from Physical Therapy

When you do the same action, motion, or exercise day in and day out, it can take a toll on your body. Repetitive strain injuries (also referred to as repetitive stress injuries) occur when your muscles, ligaments, nerves, or tendons are strained from repeated stress or motion. While repetitive strain injuries aren’t life-threatening, they can grow worse over time and even become chronic. They also make it hard to live your normal life and can prevent you from doing certain activities. At Strong Oaks Physical Therapy, we provide effective treatment and preventative care that can ease the pain, symptoms, and discomfort of repetitive strain injuries. To learn more or schedule an appointment, call us today at (802) 424-1434.

What is a Repetitive Strain Injury? 

A repetitive strain injury is one that causes damage to your muscles, tendons, nerves, or ligaments after doing the same motion or exercise over and over. Repetitive stress injuries can happen on the job, from typing, moving heavy objects, bending, and lifting for hours each day. Repetitive strain injuries typically affect your fingers, wrists, elbows, arms, shoulders, and knees. When you do the same motion or movement so many times that you start to feel tired and achy, you may have caused repetitive strain. 

How to Tell if You Have a Repetitive Strain Injury

People most at-risk for repetitive strain injuries are workers with physically demanding jobs, people who sit at desks all day, people who use computers all day, athletes, musicians, and people who work in manufacturing jobs like factories or warehouses. Repetitive strain injuries are very common and can cause additional medical conditions, like tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, shin splints, and more. If you aren’t sure if you have a repetitive strain injury, watch out for these warning signs and symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Joint stiffness
  • Loss of range of motion or flexibility
  • Balance issues
  • Trouble picking up and holding objects
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sensitivity to cold or heat

When to Seek Treatment

You should visit a physical therapist for evaluation and treatment of a repetitive stress injury if the symptoms are affecting your ability to live a normal, healthy life. While it may be tempting to work through the pain or ignore it and hope it resolves itself on its own, repetitive strain injuries can grow worse over time and become chronic or permanent. You should visit a physical therapist if your symptoms are preventing you from:

  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Working
  • Exercising
  • Walking, sitting, or standing comfortably
  • Cooking or doing household chores
  • Playing with your children or pets
  • Participating in hobbies or other activities you enjoy

Treatment Options for Repetitive Strain Injuries

Physical therapy and other at-home treatment methods are incredibly effective at treating the symptoms of repetitive strain injuries. When you stick with your treatment and rest the affected area, you should see signs of improvement within days. The most common treatment options are:

  • RICE method – rest, ice, compression, and elevation
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory painkillers
  • Heat and cold therapy
  • Therapeutic exercises
  • Stretching exercises
  • Assistive devices like braces or splints
  • Massage or soft-tissue manipulation

When and How Physical Therapy Can Help

A physical therapist can provide a full assessment of your overall health, including an evaluation of your injury and symptoms. Your physical therapist can advise you on any changes you need to make to your activity level, daily routine, or work tasks while you’re being treated for a repetitive strain injury. To treat a repetitive strain injury, your physical therapist will use gentle exercises and stretches, therapeutic modalities, and hands-on manual treatments like massage, stretching, and manipulation. Over time, your physical therapist can restore your range of motion, reduce inflammation and stiffness, and ease your pain. He will then move on to stabilizing the treated area while it heals. Each patient is different, and your physical therapist will adapt and change your treatment plan to align with your symptoms, goals, and lifestyle. 

Benefits of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is focused on holistic treatment designed to get a patient back to their normal life, pain-free. The beauty of physical therapy is that it is so adaptable that it can be adjusted and tweaked as needed throughout the course of treatment. At Strong Oaks Physical Therapy, we want to ensure that physical therapy is accessible to all, so we don’t require a physician’s referral for treatment. We also don’t require insurance, and offer tiered treatment packages to help you manage your care at a price that works for you. The main benefits of getting physical therapy for a repetitive strain injury are:

  • Guided recovery
  • Improved flexibility, range of motion, and balance
  • Improved mobility
  • Reduced inflammation and stiffness
  • Reduced pain
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Gradual improvement focused on maintaining consistent care and providing relief that will last
  • Education and instruction on at-home care
  • Education and instruction on workplace adjustments
  • Gentle, therapeutic treatment that can be adjusted as needed

Curious About Whether Your Repetitive Strain Injury Could Benefit from Physical Therapy? Call Us Today!

If you’re curious about whether your repetitive strain injury in St. Johnsbury, VT can benefit from physical therapy, contact us at Strong Oaks Physical Therapy. We offer a range of treatment options and treatment packages designed to make it easier for patients from all walks of life to receive the care and treatment they need. Our goal is for our patients to get back to living their normal lives, free from pain, as soon as possible. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call us today at (802) 424-1434 or book an appointment online. We also offer a free 15-minute telehealth initial consultation for patients who aren’t sure if physical therapy is right for them. We look forward to treating you and hope to hear from you soon!

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About The Author

Dan Wheeler
Physical Therapist
I never grew up thinking I was going to be in this role. I never had dreams or ever said it was my goal to be a Physical Therapist, but yet somehow this profession found me. Now, this is not just a job, and it is definitely not about the money. I truly live for this.

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