Rehab and Wellness Connection—February 2015 Promote Muscle and Joint Wellness in Your Everyday Tasks

Many everyday tasks are a routine, and we often don’t think about how our body reacts to our movements. No matter if we sit at a desk typing, stay at home to take care of kids, or operate machinery in a factory or warehouse, we may be at risk of experiencing a repetitive strain injury (RSI).

RSIs are painful injuries triggered by the repetitive use of a body part. They can result in pain, loss of sensation, loss of movement, and lack of strength in the affected area. When at work during the day, we perform many repetitive movement patterns. Oftentimes, we repeat those same movements at home when spending time with our families and also on the weekends during recreation. Although the way you target the affected area may be different at home than at work, the area can still be injured during both times.

However, you can help to manage potential injuries at an early stage by learning the symptoms and treating them as early as possible.

Here are some cardinal signs of a RSI:

  • Swelling, stiffness, or throbbing pain
  • Tenderness, achiness, and pain with movement
  • Sleep disruption

It’s also important to remember to cater to a healthy work-life balance at all times. Staying healthy in daily work-life operations also recreation and home tasks can result in repetitive overuse. Taking care of yourself in all of these environments can prevent an RSI.

Most importantly, remember that you don’t have to monitor yourself for RSIs alone. Besides being aware of possible symptoms of an RSI, members of your workplace and community are available to help people of all ages perform their daily tasks safely. Many workplaces have specialists in place to help employees perform their duties in a safe manner. Appropriate stretching programs can help to keep employees loose, and ergonomic assessments are successful in detecting potential stressors in employees’ daily tasks and at their work stations.

Additionally, in schools, athletic trainers are doing more to educate students on safety in daily tasks and how to promote wellness in their lives. Community connections through employers, your local physical therapists, and school districts are fantastic resources.

If any of those programs are available in your area of work or education, I encourage you to capture those resources. Take advantage of the services offered, and help prevent yourself from contracting an RSI. Oftentimes, aches and pains resulting from repetitive stress can be quickly reversed by early intervention.

Overall, it is beneficial to promote muscle and joint health in your life and to also protect tendons and connective tissues. The more you take care of these parts of you, the better (and longer!) you will be able to perform daily tasks at work and at home.