When muscles supporting the spine become irritated or aggravated from excessive use, the result may be a repetitive strain injury. When such injuries occur in the back area, you may experience discomfort that ranges from occasional aches to persistent pain. Susceptibility to RSI depends on your overall health and the extent of the overuse of certain muscle groups or joints.
Why a Repetitive Strain Injury Happens
The muscles and joints that support the spine are designed to work together and support an equal amount of stress throughout the day. A repetitive strain injury results when any single joint or group of muscles assumes too much of that burden. Often mild at first, symptoms associated with an RSI may include:
- Muscle spasms and stiffness
- Localized pain or tenderness
- Dull and persistent backaches
- Numbness or tingling sensations
Treating Repetitive Strain Injuries
Treatment of repetitive strain injuries is frequently delayed since related pain often becomes increasingly noticeable over time. As with any injury to the spine, initial treatments are conservative, typically involving the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, recommended exercises to strengthen supporting muscles, epidural steroid injections for temporary relief in the affected area of the back, and the modification of the activities that likely caused the RSI.
The ideal treatment for a repetitive strain on the spine is to take steps to prevent it in the first place. Preventing such an injury starts with recognizing movements that could increase the risk of sustaining a repetitive strain injury. If repetitious movements likely to affect your back are part of your job, for instance, preventative steps can include learning proper lifting techniques and using available equipment like wheeled carts and dollies. RSIs can also be minimized by:
- Warming up prior to working out or playing sports
- Taking periodic breaks from repetitious tasks
- Making an effort to improve posture
While athletes are typically among patients most affected by RSIs, injuries of this nature can happen to anybody who performs the same motions over and over. As with any type of back pain, a repetitive strain injury shouldn’t be ignored if discomfort continues or becomes progressively worse.
Individuals living with chronic pain and discomfort may benefit from seeing a Los Angeles spine specialist who can determine the cause of the pain and discuss possible options for pain relief. For more information, call The Spine Institute Center at (310) 828-7757 and schedule your in-person consultation.