Workplace â€œMustsâ€ to Avoid Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI's)
Performing Strengthening and Stretching Exercises will Help Reduce Injury
Risks Before an Injury Occurs.
â€œPrehabilitationâ€ is nothing new to many professional athletes
and trainers, but it is now becoming more widely recognized by the mainstream
medical community and individual athletes as a means to help eliminate the
possibility of an injury before it ever occurs.
Prehabilitation incorporates strengthening and stretching exercises
for specific groups of muscles in order to help reduce the risk of injury,
before an injury actually occurs. It is the â€œan ounce of prevention is better
than a pound of cureâ€ approach to physical training, albeit for work or recreational
activities. Pre-habilitation is sport and work-specific and addresses common
injuries and strength imbalances that occur in the particular sport or activity
that the individual is involved.
For example: A common injury
suffered by tennis players is lateral epicondylitis, or Tennis Elbow. This
is often caused by the high forces involved in the backhand as the musculotendinous
or tenoperiosteal junctions of the extensor muscles that cross the elbow joint
are overstressed due to lack of overall strength of the finger, wrist and elbow
extensor muscles. The constant gripping of the tennis racquet, coupled by forceful
wrist and elbow extension, wrist and forearm supination and external rotation
of the shoulder during the backhand swing, against a fast moving object, causes
jarring, vibration and micro trauma to occur at the musculotendinous and tenoperiosteal
junctions of the extensor group at the elbow junction. This repeated trauma
to the extensor group can cause micro-tears, swelling and result in atrophy
of the extensor group. The result is a muscle imbalance that occurs between
the flexor and extensor groups.
Prehabilitation would require the stretching and lengthening
of the flexor group and the strengthening of the extensor group beyond the
amount of force that is applied to it when repeatedly hitting a backhand. If
the force applied during each backhand stroke is 100lbs. X 40 backhands, then
the extensor group needs to be strengthened in order to withstand 120lbs. X
Prehabilitaion requires that the muscle group is strengthened
in order to perform the sport or activity and not that the muscle group is
strengthened while performing the sport or activity. Strengthening the muscle
group beyond what it will be called upon to do, or beyond its normal strength
requirements, will help reduce the possibility of an injury occurring.
Knowing this information about the sport or activity that you
perform, and the fact that injuries are common, the personal trainer or clinical
therapist working with a tennis player, carpal tunnel patient or any other
situation should recommend exercises to develop the strength and stability
for each individuals need. This will avoid any potential strength imbalance
and raise the individuals ability to withstand the forces of the the sport
or activity performed, therefore â€œprehabilitatingâ€ the
Muscle imbalances like this occur throughout the entire body and must be addressed
before injury occurs:
The following is a brief summary of common injuries of the
upper extremity, the sports and activities in which they often occur, and recommended
prehabilitation stretches and exercises.
Sports: Swimming, Tennis, Javelin, Discus, Shot Put
painting, housework, cleaning, etc.
Shoulder tendonitis is related to weak rotator
cuff musculature and an imbalance of strength in the shoulder. The following
are exercises that would be very useful for shoulder injury â€œpre-habilitationâ€.
Rear Diagonal Pull. This exercise works the whole of the rear deltoid,
rhomboids, teres minor and major, supraspinatus and infraspinatus.
Single Arm Row. This exercise works the rear deltoid, rhomboids, mid trapezius
and latissimus dorsi muscles.
External Rotation. This exercise works the infraspinatus and teres minor
muscles along with the posterior shoulder group.
Sports: Tennis, Golf
Work: Typing, construction, etc.
Often this injury occurs because of poor technique, which places too much
strain on the wrist and elbow musculature. This stress can be offset by strengthening
the wrist and elbow muscles, particularly the finger, wrist and elbow extensors
and wrist and forearm supinators.
Finger / Wrist Flexors.
Wrist / Forearm - Ulnar Deviators.
Wrist / Forearm Pronators.
Palm-Up Elbow Moving or Palm-Up Isolated Extension Exercises. Thumb-Up
Elbow Moving and Thumb-Up Isolated Extension Exercises.
Supination Isolated Exercises.
CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME:
Sports: Tennis, Javelin, Shot Put.
Mousing, Writing, Driving, Assembly, etc.
Often this injury occurs because of a muscle imbalance between
the strong, overused flexor muscles that â€œcloseâ€ the hand and the weak, underdeveloped
extensor muscles that â€œopenâ€ the hand. This injury can be offset by stretching
and lengthening the overly restrictive flexor muscles and strengthening and
shortening the underdeveloped finger and wrist extensor muscles in order to
correct the muscle imbalance and increase the space within the carpal tunnel.
Finger / Wrist Flexors.
Wrist / Forearm Pronators.
Wrist / Forearm Supinators.
Palm-Up Elbow Moving or Palm-Up Isolated Extension Exercises.