Anyone can experience overuse injury. Although not considered an acute physical impairment like torn ligaments or dislocated joints, an injury arising from overused tissues can be painful and require prolonged recovery. Tendinitis and muscle strains are some of the typical examples of an overuse injury.
While overuse injury may well be considered a common impairment, there’s no doubt that it’s more prevalent among people involved in strenuous activities and rough jobs. And like all forms of harm caused by other people, whether by accident or negligence, an overuse injury may entitle the victim to compensation. To learn the legal aspects of this type of personal injury, you can read more about it here.
The liability that may arise from overuse injury is one of the reasons why businesses, property owners, or any person, for that matter, must ensure the safety of other people visiting or working on their premises.
Overuse Injury 101
So, what is an overuse injury? It’s a minor type of trauma that can occur mainly in the muscles, joints, tendons, and even bones. As the name implies, this injury is caused by repeated use of any area of the body. The damage happens when you strain or overwork a set of tissues. Even poor posture can cause tissue strain, just like what happens when you have to deal with mechanical neck pain.
It’s not surprising that you feel pain in the overworked areas of your body. In a work setting, overuse injuries may be referred to as occupational overuse syndrome. It primarily happens in the wrists, hands, and fingers you use while working. A repetitive strain injury is another term used to describe the muscle and nerve damages caused by repeated motions.
While regular exercise is good for the body, repetitively lifting heavy objects or overtraining can also cause stress to tissues like tendons, muscles, and bone units involved in such activities. Several symptoms are typically associated with overuse injuries. However, these may vary and not be simultaneously present. Here are the usual signs a person may have an injury from overusing their muscles and other tissues:
- Pain in the affected and surrounding areas
- Loss of sensation or numbness in the damaged part of the body
- Restricted or loss of mobility
It’s true that the abovementioned symptoms are common and may occur in other conditions. However, to find out if what you’re experiencing is indeed an overuse injury, you may want to watch out for other factors such as the following:
- Pain in the affected area occurs during or within a few hours after performing an activity
- If pain happens while performing an activity, movement in the affected area is constrained
- Discomfort doesn’t usually last for a long time but may eventually turn into chronic pain
As always, it’s best to see your doctor to determine if you’re suffering from an overuse injury and to get treatment for your condition. Besides immediate relief, your doctor will also provide tips on how to prevent the damage. For example, a physical therapist may show you how to improve the strength and flexibility of the problematic areas of your body. As a result, you can prevent the injury from recurring.
Additionally, age and overall health conditions can make people more susceptible to getting injured due to overworked muscles, bones, and tissues. For example, older people are prone to overuse injuries as their muscles and joints become less flexible. People who have muscle disorders are also more likely to experience this type of injury.
Your doctor may prescribe medication to fight off the pain or swelling. A therapist may ask you to avoid performing the activity that caused the injury. Experts claim that the best way to soothe an overuse injury is to take a prolonged rest, particularly for the affected area of the body. Allowing your tissues adequate time to recover is key to dealing with this type of condition.
How To Prevent Overuse Injury From Happening
One good thing about overuse injury is that you can prevent it. Other than ample rest time for your affected tissues, there are other ways to avoid this injury.
Here are some tips:
Avoid Focusing On One Type Of Activity Or Exercise
When doing exercises or physical training, it’s a good idea to alter your routine from time to time. At work, you may also add variety to your physical activity when you can. When you break your routine, you enable your body to use different sets of tissues or muscle groups. Thus, you prevent overusing and injuring any part of your body.
Stop When You Feel Any Discomfort
You don’t get a prize for continuing your workout or performing your job even while nursing an injury or any pain. It doesn’t matter what degree of pain you feel. You must drop everything and stop exercising or working whenever you feel discomfort in any area of your body. For one thing, you don’t know what condition you have. Ignoring the pain and continuing repetitive motions could make things worse for you.
Use Proper Equipment And Gear
Every sport or job requires proper gear not just for safety against accidents but also to prevent your body from overworking. If you are a business owner, investing in the right equipment will spare you from lawsuits and help your employees avoid injury at work. When doing fitness training or playing in sports, have the right gear to ensure both comfort and safety in your activities.
Start And End Slow
In any activity, starting with proper warm-ups can help the body prepare for action. It prevents your tissues from getting shocked by a string of movements, which can lead to injuries. At the end of your work or exercise, allow yourself a few minutes to cool down to avoid abrupt changes in your blood pressure and body temperature.
Make Things Easy By Pacing Yourself
Avoid cramming a week’s worth of exercises into one or two days of training. If your job involves strenuous activities, then make sure to divide the daily tasks into manageable chunks. Pace yourself to avoid overworking your muscles.
An overuse injury can happen to anyone. Please consult with your doctor on how to treat and even prevent it from happening. If another person has caused the damage or needs to deal with related insurance claims, it’s best to talk to a lawyer to know your rights and entitlement to compensation.