Repetitive Strain Injuries
Have you ever felt wrist pain, hand pain or forearm pain after long hours typing and using a computer or smartphone? Searing foot pain when you get out of bed in the morning? Chronic tension or pain in your elbow after a tennis match, or pain in your IT band after a run?
If so, you have may be experiencing symptoms of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). Some common types of RSI you may have heard of include: carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, golf elbow, and tennis elbow, as well as more generalized hand pain, wrist pain, forearm tension, foot pain, and IT band syndrome.
A single case of carpal tunnel syndrome requires on average 28 days away from work – which equates to about five and a half weeks of workdays and income!
RSI can occur as a result of tension that accumulates from any repetitive motion we perform in a day. From mechanical work tasks, computer use, exercise routines, childcare, driving a car, house cleaning… to gardening – the possible causes of RSI as a result of our current lifestyles are limitless.
How Does Chronic Tension Lead To Repetitive Strain Injury?
The common denominator in RSI is tension in the muscles and connective tissues. When muscle tissue is healthy, it feels supple and elastic. It responds to nervous impulse with the appropriate and effective amount of contraction, and afterward returns quickly and easily to its normal shape.
As we get older, we tend to carry increasingly more stress, which generates unconscious tension in the body. We also tend to place more consistent and repetitive demands upon our bodies, and the time for rest and repair is usually less than what is needed. The body’s efficiency at self-repair also decreases with aging.
Sustained muscle tension and weakened functioning can force the body to compensate by increasing the workload for other muscle groups, which can further contribute to poor body mechanics or postural misalignment. Without effective treatment over time, the unaddressed tension and extra workload becomes the direct cause of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).
Pain at the site of RSI, additionally stimulates surrounding muscles to contract in protection of the injured area. When left unaddressed, chronic muscle tension can lead to compression and further irritation of nerves, and eventually injury of tendons or other connective tissue. Non-ergonomic computer desk setups, being on your feet all day, long hours driving a vehicle, or many sleepless nights caring for a newborn baby compound the need for effective tension relief.
Recommendations for Prevention and Care of RSI
When you experience symptoms of RSI, whether the pain creeps in gradually or occurs from sudden strain due to pre-existing tension, the first step is to determine the extent of damage to muscle and/or connective tissue. It can be helpful to first visit a doctor or specialist to learn more about the extent of your injury. Doctors may prescribe cortisone injections, physical therapy, and in worst cases, surgery. If you are fortunate, your doctor may be able to prescribe therapeutic massage, that may or may not be accepted for coverage under your health or workers’ compensation insurance policy.
Therapeutic massage techniques such as deep tissue massage, myofasical release, and/or trigger point therapy are proven to be effective methods to release tight tissues and restore elasticity and normal functioning to muscles. However, with many insurance policies still not including coverage for therapeutic massage, the cost of regular sessions can deter many from seeking out or following through with ongoing treatment for repetitive strain injuries.
Many self-massage tools are available for home use, such as foam rollers, trigger point therapy balls and canes, and vibrating hand-held massagers. The challenge is that most of these tools require you to exert energy to create the pressure needed to release your muscle tension. To effectively use foam rollers and trigger point therapy balls, you have to actively generate the pressure by leveraging your body weight against the ball. These tools require you to output more energy and time into self-care than the demands of your lifestyle may currently allow. Attempting self-treatment with your own thumbs and knuckles can quickly fatigue them and add more tension to your body in the process.
Benefits of Using ProSqueeze
We have designed ProSqueeze to bring you relief that is effective, efficient, and affordable. With ProSqueeze, you can simply position the pads over the affected area, squeeze the lever until the amount of pressure feels good, and then sit back and relax - watch a favorite TV show or movie, continue answering those important emails, catch up on your social media newsfeed, or spend time with loved ones. To increase the stretch within the targeted muscle and connective tissue area, all you need to do is make a small movement of your wrist or ankle, while ProSqueeze sustains the perfect amount of pressure.
ProSqueeze is so effective, in part because it works according to pin and stretch technique. This technique is based on the fact that tension in a muscle or fascia, is generally concentrated in specific areas, generally known as adhesions or trigger points. The tension area then pulls on surrounding muscle fibers, until reaching the muscle attachment sites at the nearby joint. Simply stretching the whole muscle from end to end, in most cases will not directly address the specific tension areas, and instead may end up causing further damage within the tissue. Instead, with the pin and stretch technique, one can focus the stretch right around the tension area. For example, to relieve a tension area in the forearm, one would place ProSqueeze around the forearm, apply the desired level of pressure, then gently move the wrist to increase the stretch.
Proactivity releasing tension and sound ergonomics is the best way to keep injuries from happening in the first place. And, because ProSqueeze is so portable and passive, you can use it while you are at work or while you are relaxing, which saves you time and energy for living life and doing what you love.