When you become injured, the resulting damage will either be referred as an overuse injury or an acute injury. An acute injury occurs when a singular event brings about the trauma to your body, which can be something like a knee injury from a car crash or a shoulder dislocation from playing football. Overuse injuries are extended issues that are more difficult to diagnose and occur because a bone, tendon, or joint in your body has been overused. It’s important to understand why these injuries occur so that you can prevent them from happening in the future.
Why Overuse Injuries Occur
Exercising and many forms of physical activity place stress on the joints, tendons, and bones throughout your body. Unlike emotional stress, physical stress is actually beneficial in many cases and can help strengthen every component in the body while also making them function more effectively. However, it’s possible for these muscles, tendons, and joints to be overused, which means that too much stress will have been placed on them in a short period of time. Repetitive trauma to any area of the body can cause one of these injuries to occur.
An overuse injury typically stems from an error with your technique or an error with your training. Training errors take place when you perform a certain activity more rapidly than you’re supposed to. Whether you exercise for too long or run too fast, these training errors can place an undue amount of stress and strain on your muscles in a short period of time, which may cause you to develop one of these injuries.
As for technique errors, these occur when you’ve performed a technique improperly. Whether you’re constantly unwinding a baseball with a bad form or aren’t lifting weights correctly, your joints and muscles may be twisting and contorting in a manner that heightens your risk of an overuse injury. If you’ve already suffered from one of these injuries or are looking to prevent them from occurring in the future, professional chiropractors can assist you in understanding how to properly exercise and work out in a way that lessens your risk of an overuse injury.
Common Types of Overuse Injuries
While the majority of overuse injuries occur when exercising or playing sports, a number of these injuries can actually take place when you’re at the office all day. Playing almost any kind of sport will increase your chances of being affected by an overuse injury. Tennis elbow is a very common overuse injury that occurs when the tissue between your elbow and forearm muscle becomes irritated or slightly torn. As the name implies, this injury commonly results from playing tennis at a high intensity along with other sports like squash, racquetball, or fencing. Any activity that requires repetitive arm movements can put you at risk for tennis elbow, which includes standard duties performed by carpenters and similar skilled laborers.
Many overuse injuries among athletes occur in the foot and knee because of how often these areas of the body are used. Achilles tendonitis, calf muscle tears, meniscus tears, and plantar fasciitis are just a few of the more common lower body injuries that can result from overusing some of the muscles in your knee and foot. These injuries are especially common among runners. People who are involved with CrossFit regularly suffer from overuse injuries as well because of the high intensity workouts that take place with this program.
When looking at overuse injuries that can occur in the office, you may be surprised at how many different types of injuries can result from working in an office all day long. Likely the most common overuse injury among office workers is carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs when too much pressure has been placed on the median nerve that’s located in your wrist. This nerve controls the feeling and movements for all of your fingers aside from the pinky. When these fingers are overused, it’s possible for you to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. Repetitive motions such as typing are the most common causes for the development of this injury. A sore neck is also common when working in an office setting if you forget to keep your neck limber while sitting in a chair all day. Some additional overuse injuries for you to look out for include bursitis in the knee, shin splints, a stress fracture, rotator cuff syndrome, and compartment syndrome.
Prevention Tips to Consider
If you want to avoid suffering from any kind of overuse injury, the easiest way to do so is to correct your poor techniques and improve the way that you train. If you work in an office setting and are essentially required to sit at a desk for the entire day, it’s important that you stand up and stretch regularly to make sure that the muscles throughout your body remain limber and flexible. These breaks will also give your hands time to rest, which should reduce the chances that you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. You should bend and rotate your hands while performing repetitive activities like typing if you want to prevent these injuries from occurring.
If you’re starting a new activity or sport that you’ve never partaken in before, it’s important that you use the correct technique and that you wear the proper gear that’s necessary for the activity. For instance, you should always wear padded running or tennis shoes when exercising, which will lessen the amount of stress placed on the muscles in your feet and lower legs. When performing standard exercises like squats or pushups, it’s essential that you pace yourself. Around 15-30 minutes of well-paced physical activity every day should allow you to meet your fitness goals while avoiding any kind of overuse injuries. When you want to increase the intensity of your workout, make sure that you do so gradually. The muscles in your body need to get used to these changes so that they can adapt and become stronger.
The Role of Chiropractic Care With Overuse Injuries
Among the most effective methods for preventing and treating overuse injuries is chiropractic care. Most of the injuries caused by overusing the muscles and joints in your body can be corrected without needing to use treatment options like surgery or prescription medications. Once the source of your pain is diagnosed, you will be provided with a comprehensive treatment plan that’s designed to be personalized to fit your every need. These treatment plans can involve everything from physical therapy and rehabilitation to nutritional counseling. Overuse injuries can be caused by a multitude of factors, which is why treatment plans oftentimes incorporate multiple treatment options into a single plan.