Repetitive Strain Injury

This condition is sometimes referred to as an overuse injury or syndrome, a cumulative trauma disorder (CTD) or repetitive strain injury (RSI), all these conditions are characterized by chronic irritation to a particular body part. They consist of a variety of musculoskeletal disorders, related to tendons, muscles, and or joints, as well as some common peripheral nerve entrapment and vascular problems. These disorders generally affect the back, neck, and upper limbs, although lower limbs can also be involved. Many RSI injuries occur as a result of over-training in sports/gym and recreational activities. These injuries result from repetitive and forceful movements, from not assuming correct positioning when completing certain weigh training routines, awkward postures/positions, and sometimes other work-related conditions and ergonomic hazards that may be also in your work or office environment. While we all need to be active which reduces health issues and improves overall health, we also need to ensure we are sensible and not over train. The most common complaint we see in athletes is in fact RSI. These injuries normally accumulate over a period of time while completing repetitive movements over and over. While it is the intention in weight training or sports to push the body to certain limits each time we exercise which in turn makes our bodies become stronger, more flexible, fitter more agile, faster and more responsive which is often referred to as the “SAID” principle (specific adaptation to the imposed demand) we need to be careful how we in fact achieve this. It works on the idea that we do micro damage which in turn responds to this stimulus and becomes responsive to this in the repair phase. We then repeat the process until we reach our target of cardio-fitness and strength required for a particular event, game or goal. Sadly for the average participant, body builder or sports person errors occur in training regimes that see a RSI type situation occur. There are ways however to avoid this.
Follow these simple rules and tips to avoid such injuries.
• Warm-up (Dynamic) 10-12 mins
• Mimic the movement you will be doing in whatever exercise or sport you will be doing except do it slowly and in a very controlled manner…the idea is too slightly raise your body’s core temperature… which is designed to get blood flowing to joints and connective tissue and allow oxygen and nutrients to do their work
• Then get some fascia tissue release happening by using a foam roller and a tennis ball. These are used to go over large and small muscle groups such as the ITB (The iliotibial band which runs along the outside of the thigh from the hip to the outside of the knee) and the tennis ball for the thoracic/gluts and lumbar regions. Also include some side bends with feet close together and hands and arms fully extended above your head.
• Then start your session and at the end repeat the above procedure.
• Finish with a slow cool down on a stationary bike (or like) ensuring it is gentle and very slow.
• Avoid fatiguing small muscle groups by doing too much (like biceps/calves/deltoid and triceps work outs) keep work outs to standard industry recommendations (they are there for a reason) and rest between sets and training days.
• Complete exercises in good form and don’t lift to heavy too fast (increase gradually)
• Drink water regularly
• Get a full body massage once a week if you can afford it
• Every 3 months have a complete 2 week break before resuming training
• Eat well
• Avoid alcohol
• Get good rest each night
By: John Hart
Master’s In Education” (Disability/Rehab) Newcastle University Australia
“Grad Cert Education” Newcastle University Australia
“Diploma Fitness/Recreation”
“Diploma of Sport and Recreation”
“Cert 4 Personal Training”
“Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Coach”
Member of ASCA (Australian Strength and Conditioning Association)

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