Exercise comes with countless benefits, from weight loss to improved mental health. Sometimes, however, improper training or over-exercising can lead to various types of athletic-related injuries.
Over half of athletic-related injuries are caused by repetitive strain. A repetitive strain injury results from overusing an area of the body, typically a tendon, muscle, or bursa in the hand, forearm, shoulder, and neck…
A repetitive strain injury occurs when a tissue undergoes microscopic tears and cannot repair itself quickly enough before the next tear (or trauma) is made. As a result, the tissue becomes inflamed and can cause weakness, numbness, motor impairment, and most often pain at the site of injury.
Tendonitis and bursitis are common injuries that arise from repetitive strain and overuse. Pathologies such as tennis elbow, carpel tunnel syndrome, and rotator cuff tendonitis are familiar examples that affect quality of life and limit mobility.
Since our muscles, joints, and tendons are designed to be highly mobile, why are some more likely than others to experience repetitive strain?
Areas that are more susceptible to repetitive injury are usually involved in taking on too much physical activity too quickly, or in movements that repeatedly use improper form or posture.
Athletes aren’t the only group who are at risk for repetitive strain injuries. Occupations that involve repetitive typing, writing, or the performance of mechanical tasks such as gardening or construction are also prone to these types of injuries.
The good news is that the prognosis for most repetitive strain injuries is excellent. There are many modalities that can decrease pain and expedite the healing process.
Here are some natural approaches that can aid your recovery and make you feel better:
- See a chiropractor or physiotherapist. These specialists are trained healthcare professionals who develop a rehabilitation program to help strengthen muscles and joints associated with the injury, and prevent injury re-occurrence. Consultation with an orthopedic surgeon may also be indicated depending on the extent of the injury.
- Let food help heal you. Eating a nourishing, healthy diet high in anti-inflammatory properties is of paramount importance to recovery. A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates will supply the body with adequate nutrients needed to repair and restore tissues.
- Trigger point acupuncture needling. Dry needling, a type of acupuncture, allows for the release of trigger points that often arise in muscles guarding an injured area of the body. Dry needling releases muscle tension and pain and increases range of motion of a joint or muscle.
- Get symptomatic relief. Topical Absolüt Arnica gel is an effective and fast-acting natural analgesic that can help soothe muscle and joint inflammation. You may also wish to try Joint Pain Relief, a natural herbal extract of Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) which contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
- Hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy uses contrast hot and cold water to speed up the healing process. In doing so, it increases circulation to the injured area, which brings necessary nutrients and carries away toxic byproducts. Contrast hydrotherapy should only be used in the sub-acute and chronic phases of healing.
- Go slow. It is important that physical activity be resumed slowly and safely with the advice and monitoring of your healthcare practitioner.