The following is an overview of overuse and repetitive strain injuries, often grouped as Cumulative Trauma Disorders, of the forearm wrist and hand.
Defining Cumulative Trauma Disorders:
TCTD Injuries to the muscle, nerve, tendon and ligaments that occur from work and overwork are very common. The majority of these injuries are not the result of an accident or mishap but develop gradually, as a result of repeated activity and overuse. In most cases the onset is slow and often innocuous in nature, and we ignore the symptoms until they become more chronic and permanent in nature.
What is cumulative trauma?
Cumulative trauma indicates that the injury developed gradually over a period of weeks and months or even years as a result of repeated stress in activity. Trauma indicates bodily injury from mechanical stress. Disorder refers to physical ailments or abnormal conditions as a result of such. While CTD belongs to a collection of health problems that are related to work, overuse conditions are not absent in populations that perform repetitive activities. Whether you are an athlete, partake in a fitness or competitive sport, caretaker, or simply performing activities around the home, overuse can occur.
The cycle begins when motions are performed in the same frequency, range of motion, duration, and intensity over an extended period of time. This overuse and repetition taxes the muscles, tendons and nerves, caused by continuous use over an extended period of time, improper techniques in positions, persistent repetition or force. Basically, there’s not enough rest time between activities to allow for the tissues to recover and repair.
What activities cause cumulative trauma?
Activities such as typing, texting, gripping, squeezing, pinching, or Sistine positions can create irritation. Weight training, or overtraining, in the same plane of motion, with the same resistance can also bring on symptoms, without apparent reason. Cross training and variability with any activity is helpful. Prolonged impact, vibration, and repeated exposure to cold or he can precipitate symptoms as well. Symptoms often include tenderness, stiffness, or tingling in the affected area, soreness to touch, with associated weakness pain with use. Symptoms initially occur after the activity but as the tissues our place under greater demand, symptoms can occur before during and after they give an activity.
Treatments for Hand Pain
Intervention may include anti-inflammatory medications and over the counter drugs, ice or heat, depending upon if there is inflammation can help to promote circulation and tissue repair. Physical therapy to address mechanical and functional deficits, including Manual therapy and dry needling techniques are very effective with tendinitis and nerve entrapment conditions such as carpal and cubital tunnel syndrome. Engaging in a program that includes flexibility/tendon glides, and functional retraining of the tissues is beneficial. On a daily basis, variety of motions in positions is recommended. Posture and ergonomic evaluations, aids or splints are helpful as well as addressing any deficiencies in technique and form.
Examples may include adjusting to size and width of your grip, such as racquet sports, golf, or if using a tool, such as with a hammer, or any activity that requires sustained power grip. Adjusting your desk, computer, or oh you use your iPad or technology can also be beneficial. Utilizing a supportive pillow at night for proper neck position and alignment also helps to mitigate pressure on the nerves in the neck that can also contribute to tingling in numbness in the arms and hands. And remember, motion is lotion so stretch frequently throughout the day, find alternatives positions to perform your activity, and remember to hydrate!
Whether your condition is simple or complex, our qualified orthopedic hand and upper extremity specialist at Revolution Rehabilitation offer effective and advanced options for treatment and rehabilitation. Thumbs Up! —Dr Allie