Repetitive Motion Injuries & Your Spine

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: October 22, 2020

Back Pain Education

Depending on your line of work or what you like to do in your spare time, there’s a decent chance that your body is subjected to a variety of repetitive motions. For the most part, motion and exercise are great for your body and something everyone should be doing to help stay healthy, but problems can develop if we regularly do the same physical tasks day in and day out for years. When we do this, we can develop what’s known as repetitive motion injuries. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at how repetitive motion injuries can affect your spine.

RMIs and Spine Injuries

A Repetitive Motion Injury (RMI) occurs when inflammation or structure breakdown occurs at the location of excess stress and strain in your body. Considering how vital a role your spine plays in helping to disseminate stress, it’s easy to see why repetitive motion injuries regularly develop in this area.

It’s also worth noting that the repetitive motion does not need to be excessively physical in order to lead to injury. For example, an office worker who sits for eight hours a day may be at a heightened risk for a stress-related lumbar spine injury due to the strain their lower back absorbs day in and day out at their desk. Most people picture repetitive motions injuries as something isolated to construction workers or roofers, but any action, no matter how physically exhausting, can increase your risk of an RMI depending on how the action results in stress being channeled through your body.

With that said, some repetitive actions that can contribute to a repetitive motion injury in the spine include lifting, pulling, twisting, pushing, reaching and bending.

Preventing and Treating Repetitive Motion Injuries Of The Spine

Like most health conditions, prevention is preferred to treatment, so that’s where we’ll start. Preventing repetitive motion injuries involves listening to your body, varying up your motions as much as possible when performing the same task and always striving to use good posture. For example, make sure you sit up straight and avoid slouching when at the office, and always bend at the knees instead of the waist. If pain begins to develop, reevaluate your techniques and take a little break. Trying to power through a small injury can lead to a more serious repetitive motion injury. If you’re still feeling pain after a day or two of rest, consider setting up an appointment with a back specialist.

If pain has set in, here’s a look at some of the treatment recommendations your spine specialist may make:

  • Rest
  • Controlled Exercise
  • Physical Therapy
  • NSAIDs and Anti-Inflammatory Medications
  • Ergonomic Adjustments
  • Posture Awareness Education
  • Hot and Cold Therapy
  • Protective Equipment and Harnesses

Treatment success varies based on the underlying problem, but oftentimes these techniques significantly help to calm symptoms and make movement more manageable. If these techniques fail to provide relief or the injury is more severe, surgery may be ordered. Surgery will target the root cause, like a herniated disc or pinched nerve, but the goal will be to stabilize the area and prevent excessive stressful movement on crucial structures nearby. Your specialist can walk you through the specifics of your procedure should it come to it, but again, many people find symptom relief with a few lifestyle adjustments.

So if you are dealing with a repetitive motion injury, or your back hurts after short periods of physical activity, contact Dr. Sinicropi, get a diagnosis and start a treatment plan to put an end to your discomfort.

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