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What are repetitive motion disorders (RMDs?
Repetitive motion disorders (RMDs) are a family of muscular conditions that result from repeated motions performed in the course of normal work or daily activities. RMDs include carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, tendonitis, epicondylitis, ganglion cyst, tenosynovitis, and trigger finger. RMDs are caused by too many uninterrupted repetitions of an activity or motion, unnatural or awkward motions such as twisting the arm or wrist, overexertion, incorrect posture, or muscle fatigue. RMDs occur most commonly in the hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders, but can also happen in the neck, back, hips, knees, feet, legs, and ankles. The disorders are characterized by pain, tingling, numbness, visible swelling or redness of the affected area, and the loss of flexibility and strength. For some individuals, there may be no visible sign of injury, although they may find it hard to perform easy tasks. Over time, RMDs can cause temporary or permanent damage to the soft tissues in the body -- such as the muscles, nerves, tendons, and ligaments - and compression of nerves or tissue. Generally, RMDs affect individuals who perform repetitive tasks such as assembly line work, meat-packing, sewing, playing musical instruments, and computer work. The disorders may also affect individuals who engage in activities such as carpentry, gardening, and tennis.
Is there any treatment for repetitive motion disorders?
Treatment for RMDs usually includes reducing or stopping the motions that cause symptoms. Options include taking breaks to give the affected area time to rest, and adopting stretching and relaxation exercises. Applying ice to the affected area and using medications such as pain relievers, cortisone, and anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce pain and swelling. Splints may be able to relieve pressure on the muscles and nerves. Physical therapy may relieve the soreness and pain in the muscles and joints. In rare cases, surgery may be required to relieve symptoms and prevent permanent damage. Some employers have developed ergonomic programs to help workers adjust their pace of work and arrange office equipment to minimize problems.
What is the prognosis for repetitive motion disorders?
Most individuals with RMDs recover completely and can avoid re-injury by changing the way they perform repetitive movements, the frequency with which they perform them, and the amount of time they rest between movements. Without treatment, RMDs may result in permanent injury and complete loss of function in the affected area.
What research is being done?
Select this link to view a list of studies currently seeking patients.
Source: National Institutes of Health (www.nih.gov)
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Acetaminophen is a drug that reduces fever and relieves pain. It is available alone, or in combination with hundreds of other drugs available both over-the-counter (without a prescription) or that that may require a prescription from your doctor, for example, acetaminophen and hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco) or acetaminophen and oxycodone (Percocet). Acetaminophen treats a variety of diseases or other medical problems that cause pain or fever. Examples of conditions acetaminophen treats include:
- Back pain
- Minor arthritis pain
- Tooth pain
- Menstrual cramps
- Common cold
- Tension headache
- Chronic pain
- Hip pain
- Shoulder and neck pain
- Sore throat
- Sinus infection
- Bug bites and stings
- Sprains and strains
Acetaminophen generally has no side effects when taken as prescribed. When side effects are experienced, the most common are headache, rash, and nausea.
In 2014, the FDA recommended that doctors and other health care professionals only prescribe acetaminophen in doses of 325 mg or less. This warning highlights the potential for allergic reactions, for example, face, mouth, and throat swelling, difficulty breathing, itching, or rash. This action also will help reduce the risk of severe liver injury and serious allergic reactions associated with this drug. Other possible serious side effects adverse effects include:
- Kidney damage
- Thrombocytopenia (a reduced number of platelets in the blood)
- Liver problems
Other patient information.
- Do not take more than one product that contains acetaminophen at the same time.
- Do not take more than one acetaminophen-containing drug than directed.
- Do not drink alcohol while taking medicine that contains acetaminophen due to severe liver damage.
REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information.
acetylsalicylic acidAspirin (Aspirin, Arthritis Foundation Safety Coated Aspirin, Bayer Aspirin, Bayer Children's Aspirin, Ecotrin, and many others) is a NSAID used to treat fever, pain, and inflammation in the body that results from forms of arthritis, and soft tissue injuries. Aspirin is also used for decreasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Side effects, drug interactions, pregnancy information, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
Acute and Chronic BursitisA bursa is a fluid-filled sac found in the joints that cusions them. Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursae, most commonly caused by repetitive motion. Bursitis can be caused by a bacterial infection and should be treated with antibiotics. Doctors also recommend icing and resting the joint.
Carpal Tunnel SyndromeCarpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which irritation of the wrist's median nerve causes tingling and numbness of the thumb, index, and the middle fingers. Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome depends on the severity of the symptoms and the nature of any disease that might be causing the symptoms.
Carpal Tunnel SyndromeA type of compression neuropathy (nerve damage) caused by compression and irritation of the median nerve in the wrist. See a picture of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and learn more about the health topic.
Chronic PainChronic pain is pain (an unpleasant sense of discomfort) that persists or progresses over a long period of time. In contrast to acute pain that arises suddenly in response to a specific injury and is usually treatable, chronic pain persists over time and is often resistant to medical treatments.
Compartment SyndromeCompartment syndrome is a condition in which swelling and an increase in pressure within a limited space presses and compresses blood vessels, nerves, or tendons that run through the compartment. There are two types of compartment syndrome: acute compartment syndrome, which is treated with surgery (fasciotomy), and chronic compartment syndrome, which is treated with rest and modality to the affected limb. Symptoms of compartment syndrome include:
- change in sensation,
- change in color,
- or numbness in the affected limb.
Cortisone InjectionCortisone injections are used to treat small areas of inflammation or widespread inflammation throughout the body. There is minimal pain from these injections, and relief from the pain of inflammation occurs rapidly.
De Quervain's TenosynovitisDeQuervain's tenosynovitis is inflammation of the tendon on the side of the wrist at the base of the thumb. DeQuervain's tenosynovitis can be caused by a simple strain injury to the extensor pollicus longus tendon. Typical causes include stresses such as lifting heavy grocery bags by the loops, and up lifting gardening pots. Treatment for DeQuervain's tenosynovitis includes any combination of rest, ice, antiinflammatory medication, and/or cortisone injections.
GanglionA ganglion is a fluid-filled cyst that forms from the joint or tendon lining. Ganglia are most frequently found in the ankles and wrists and are usually painless. A ganglion often resolves on its own. Aspiration of the ganglion fluid or surgery may be necessary.
Health and the WorkplaceEarly warning signs of job stress include headache, sleep disturbance, difficulty in concentrating, short temper, upset stomach, job dissatisfaction, and low morale. Stress on the job can be damaging to your health in that job stress is the outcome when job demands cannot be met.
Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to reduce mild to moderate pain, inflammation, and fever. Ibuprofen works by blocking an enzyme that makes prostaglandin (a hormone-like substance that participates in a variety of body functions), which results in lower levels of prostaglandins in the body. Lower levels of prostaglandins reduce pain, inflammation, and fever.
Ibuprofen is prescribed to treat diseases and conditions that cause mild to moderate pain, fever, and inflammation. For example:
- Pain from strains and sprains
- Pain from cuts, scrapes, and puncture wounds
- Muscle aches and pains
- Tooth pain
- Common cold
- Mild headache
- Some arthritis conditions
- Joint pain
- To reduce fever
Common side effects of ibuprofen include:
- Belly pain
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Mild rash
More serious side effects and adverse effects include:
- Increased bleeding after injury
- Stomach ulcers
- Impaired kidney function
- Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
- Blood clots
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure
The maximum dose prescribed under a doctor's care is 3.2 g daily. Otherwise, the over-the-counter (OTC) maximum daily dose is 1.2 g daily. Dosage depends upon the age, weight, and any current medical conditions of the patient. Several drugs interact with ibuprofen so check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional with questions in regard to this drug. Doctors don't know if it is safe to take ibuprofen if your are pregnant, therefore it is not recommended if you are pregnant. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, ibuprofen is safe to take while breastfeeding.
REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information.
naproxenNaproxen (Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn, Aleve) is in the class of drugs called nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Naproxen is prescribed for the treatment of mild to moderate pain, inflammation, and fever. Side effects, drug interactions, and pregnancy information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory DrugsNonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a class of drugs are used to treat inflammation, mild to moderate pain, and fever. Examples of the most common NSAIDs include: aspirin salsalate (Amigesic), diflunisal (Dolobid), ibuprofen (Motrin), ketoprofen (Orudis), nabumetone (Relafen), piroxicam (Feldene), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn,) diclofenac (Voltaren), indomethacin (Indocin), sulindac (Clinoril), tolmetin (Tolectin), etodolac (Lodine), ketorolac (Toradol), oxaprozin (Daypro), celecoxib (Celebrex).
Pain ManagementPain management and treatment can be simple or complex, according to its cause. There are two basic types of pain, nociceptive pain and neuropathic pain. Some causes of neuropathic pain include:
- complex regional pain syndrome,
- interstitial cystitis,
- and irritable bowel syndrome.
Pinched Nerve OverviewA pinched nerve causes pain, numbness, or tingling in the affected area due to pressure on a nerve. Caral tunnel and sciatica are two examples of conditions caused by a pinched nerve. A pinched nerve is diagnosed by taking a patient history and performing a physical examination. Electromyography may be performed. Treatment for a pinched nerve depends on the underlying cause.