Disease Info

Repetitive Stress Injury

This is quite a modern health condition, which is decribed by several names, such as as Work related Musculoskeletal disorder, Computer related Injury, Cumulative Trauma Disorder, Work related Upper Limp Disorder and Occupational Overuse Syndrome. It can affect anybody regardless of occupation and age, even in children it is common due to overplaying and overusing computer or videogames, in adults it can be writer's or sportsman's problem. It can lead to impairment or participation problems and usually affects neck, upper back, shoulder region, upper and lower arms, elbows, wrists and hands. It has been statistically found that repetitive stress injury is usually diagnosed in children, hairdressers, computer users, housewives, surgeons, nurses, massage therapists, musicians, professional sportsmen, teachers, manual labour workers, laboratory workers etc. As we can see all these categories are engaged in one of these activities:

  • Poor posture.
  • Repetitive. Awkward hand movements.
  • Cold work environment.
  • Direct mechanical pressure on muscles and other tissues.
  • Poorly maintained or not ergonomic furniture and equipment for manual labour.
Mechanism (how does the disease develop)

The repetitive and prolonged tension of muscles (even to 50% of its ability) will shut off any blood flow through capillaries. The lack of blood in the muscles, tendons and nerves will switch to anaerobic metabolism of cells. In the course of no oxygen metabolism the lactic acid and other by-products are produced. This will damage the cells and create a pain. Then surrounding muscles will have to take some load on them, to compensate for damaged muscles work. If there is a prolonged tension of muscles like this with no or very short relaxation periods, blood flow to the muscles is restricted and more muscles will be affected. Tension in muscles puts pressure on the surrounding nerves, resulting in numbness or in worst cases injury. The restricted blood flow will prevent any possible healing in the area and the problem worsens with subsequent inflammation.

Repetitive Injury itself while harmful is not yet a disease, but the complications are dangerous, they include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (condition of a swollen tissues in the tunnel surrounding nerves in the wrist).
  • Cervical radiculopathy (compression of a disc in the neck due to certain postures).
  • Ganglion cyst (when a substance from a joint or tendon sheath leaks out and results in the "cyst" like condition of a wrist).
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (one will experience swollen and dry hands with a constant pain and lack of motion control in the hand).
  • Epicondylitis or "tennis elbow".
  • Tendonitis, when tendons are torn or inflamed.
Ayurvedic approach

Many Ayurvedic clinics suggest a course of treatments called Nava Tejas for Repetitive Stress Injury. Under Ayurvedic supervision a patient should change his lifestyle and take internally medicines. A number of Ayurvedic Panchakarma treatments can be used for relief and cure, such as Abhyangam, Pizhichil, Kizhi, Shirovasti, Greevavasti, Thalam, Pichu, Netratarpanam. It is always best to undergo a full course of Panchakarma treatment.