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Repetitive Strain Injury: How Physical Therapy Can Help Relieve Pain

Trust Metro Healthcare Partners’ Brooklyn pain doctor and place your repetitive strain injury in good hands. Call today for an appointment!

How many injuries actually involve direct trauma, like a hit or fall? The answer might surprise you because that’s not the only way to get hurt. According to a National Health Statistic Reports study, 9% of participants over age 18 experienced repetitive strain injuries over the three months and at least half of those individuals sought medical care for the ensuing pain–including repetitive strain injury physical therapy.

Signing up for physical therapy is a great option for anyone who has experienced pain in a particular body part over time. If you’re in New York, Metro Healthcare Partners is one of the top Brooklyn pain management physical therapists, among other medical professionals. 

Here’s more about what to expect if you choose this route after a repetitive strain injury.

How Can You Develop a Repetitive Strain Injury?

Repetitive strain injuries, sometimes called repetitive stress injuries, develop when you’re continuously making the same movements with the same joints, tendons, or nerves. Even if this movement is natural and doesn’t cause discomfort at first, frequent motions over time wear down the soft tissues. It’s common in sports but not exclusive to these disciplines.

Usually, repetitive stress injuries form in the upper extremities, like arms and shoulders, but can occur anywhere you have soft tissues or nerves. People get repetitive strain injuries in various ways, including from hobbies, poor posture, sports, and activities such as:

  • Sewing by hand.
  • Driving.
  • Painting.
  • Playing a musical instrument.
  • Sitting.
  • Heavy lifting.
  • Cutting things using a small implement.
  • Typing.

The type of work you do can also cause serious medical problems if there are repeated motions required to do your paid job. For instance, the National Safety Council reports that service-providing industries accounted for more than 760,000 cases of overexertion and bodily reaction injuries from 2021 to 2022. That figure includes repetitive strain injuries. 

Types of Repetitive Motion Disorders

Any type of repetitive strain injury you develop could cause symptoms like stiffness, muscle weakness, pain, and swelling. Sometimes, these problems worsen over time, with serious conditions needing medical treatment like repetitive strain physical therapy.

For example, serious stress injuries a physical therapist might treat include the following:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: MedlinePlus reports between 1% and 5% of adults with carpal tunnel syndrome, a compression of the median nerve into your hands. Most patients feel pain, burning, tingling, and numbness in their hands or fingers.
  • Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow: These two conditions refer to inflammation of the outside and inside of the elbow, respectively.
  • Bursitis: The bursae or fluid-filled sacs around your joints become inflamed, causing pain and discomfort in knees, elbows, hips, or even heels. 

There’s also Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, a group of repetitive stress conditions that involve pressure on the nerves or blood vessels between your shoulders and neck.

How To Diagnose Your Repetitive Strain Injury

Repetitive strain injury physical therapy starts by diagnosing your condition. During the first appointment, your physical therapist will ask about your medical history, lifestyle, hobbies, and occupation. They’ll also physically examine your affected body part to check your pain level, tenderness, and signs of swelling.

Sometimes, diagnostic imaging is necessary for accurate diagnosis and treatment plans. For instance, your physical therapist may order X-ray images to rule out bone fractures. MRIs and CT scans are usually better for diagnosing repetitive strain injuries with detailed images of the body’s soft tissues, bones, and blood vessels, including pinched nerves.

Common Repetitive Strain Injury Treatment Options Involving Physical Therapy

Common Repetitive Strain Injury Treatment Options Involving Physical Therapy

Even if you have the same condition as someone else, your physical therapist will create a custom treatment plan. Every person’s case is different. What you get with repetitive strain injury treatment will depend on the type, location, and severity of your injury and may include the following:

  • Heat and ice therapy. This will improve or restrict blood flow to specific body parts for pain relief.
  • Manual therapy or massages: This will manipulate your soft tissues and bones and relieve tension.
  • Postural retraining. This is if your condition stems from poor posture
  • Splinting. This is to minimize movement
  • Ergonomic intervention.
  • Strength-building exercises.

Movement coaching also reduces pain and can prevent reinjury if you’re going to be performing the same sort of motions again.

Turn to Metro Healthcare Partners for Your Pain Relief Options

At Metro Healthcare Partners in Brooklyn, New York, you’ll find an array of board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists helping people improve their health and well-being. The wide range of services includes repetitive strain injury physical therapy, so why not see a Brooklyn pain doctor here and start your recovery journey?

Our doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection). Same-day appointments may be available—call (718) 874-1204 today to request an appointment with Metro Healthcare Partners. 

Repetitive motion conditions are common workplace injuries. Contact our team to discuss your treatment options!

Frequently Asked Questions About Repetitive Strain Injuries and Physical Therapy From a Brooklyn Pain Doctor

Learn more about how physical therapy can help with repetitive strain injuries below. 

Can You Learn How To Treat Wrist Pain From Overuse at Home?

Yes, you can learn how to treat wrist pain from overuse with at-home exercises, including rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This R.I.C.E. method helps to reduce inflammation in muscles, tendons, and nerves.

Do Repetitive Strain Injuries Take Long To Heal?

A muscle-related repetitive stress injury can take up to eight weeks to heal. On average, irritation of nerves and injured tendons will take closer to 12 weeks to heal, but it always depends on the injury’s severity. 

What Are the Top Symptoms of a Repetitive Strain Injury?

The top three symptoms of a repetitive strain injury are: 

  1. Throbbing, burning, or aching at the problem site.
  2. Weakness or stiffness in the affected body part.
  3. A sensation of pins and needles. 

How Can Physical Therapy Target Problems That Cause Repetitive Strain Injuries?

Repetitive strain injury physical therapy can target problems to improve the affected area’s mobility, reduce pain, and provide proper joint support for pain-free movement.

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