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Common Overuse Injuries and How to Treat Them

Common Overuse Injuries and How to Treat Them

Common overuse injuries can occur at any age. Anytime you repeat the same movements over and over, from sports to work or hobbies, it puts you at risk for injury. If you’re feeling pain in your neck, shoulder, or back, take steps to mitigate such pain and treat overuse injuries so you don’t lose quality of life.

Dr. Ngu Bonaventure at the Premier Spine Institute in The Woodlands, Humble, and Baytown, Texas, can help. As a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Bonaventure specializes in treating back and neck pain. He helps restore your mobility and teaches you ways to protect your spine. 

4 common overuse injuries 

Anyone can be at risk for repetitive stress injuries. Whether from sports or work, overuse injuries are common. Such injuries typically affect your muscles, nerves, or tendons and occur due to repetition. 

1- Radiculopathy (Pinched Nerve

Pinched nerves often stem from repetitive actions like bending and lifting that lead to spinal structures moving out of alignment and pressing on sensitive nerve roots. You may feel tingling, numbness, or pain radiating from your neck (cervical spine) down your arm or your lower back (lumbar spine) into your leg, a condition known as radiculopathy.

Pinched nerves can also occur outside of the spine, such as carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist. Many people experience this common overuse injury from computer work. 

A pinched nerve is uncomfortable at best and debilitating at worst. Depending on the level of your pinched nerve, treatments can include rest, painkillers, physical therapy, and/or steroid injections. 

2- Neck pain 

Your flexible neck is designed for mobility and comprises nerves, tendons, muscles, and other elements susceptible to strain or injury. Neck pain can stem from numerous causes, such as whiplash or osteoarthritis. However, it’s frequently related to poor posture from spending a lot of time bent over devices. Also known as “tech neck,” this is an overuse injury you can control. Keep your screens eye level, and you’ll save your neck. 

We recommend rest, hot and cold therapy, and a customized treatment plan to alleviate your neck pain. For example, you may benefit from physical therapy and adjusting your workspace so your screen is in line with your eyes and your feet are flat on the floor with your elbows at 90 degrees.

3- Shoulder pain

Some common causes of shoulder pain include rotator cuff tears, inflamed tendons, or pinched nerves. Avid golfers or tennis players, among others, are at risk for such overuse injuries. You may feel pain or have reduced shoulder mobility.

It’s important to practice gentle stretches to help improve your mobility. Depending on the cause and severity of your shoulder pain, Dr. Ngu recommends NSAIDs, physical therapy, antispasmodics, and other treatments. 

4- Lower back pain 

It’s unsurprising that back pain is one of the most common types of pain, given the complexity of your lumbar spine. Your spine helps you bend, sit, and stand. It supports your weight and affects all your movements. It’s not hard for many people to strain a ligament or have a herniated disc in their lower back due to lifestyle factors.

For example, sitting for extended periods can lead to back pain because you’re not moving enough. Spinal movement helps your back stay limber, but sitting still can lead to compressed nerves and other painful injuries. So can improperly lifting heavy objects, where incorrect form can lead to a strained back. If you lift weights or heavy objects frequently, you can develop back pain from overuse. 

Rest, gentle stretching, and creating an ergonomic workspace often help long-term. However, you may need epidural steroid injections or other medications that can help you find enough relief in the short-term to participate in rehabilitation.. 

You deserve to feel better if you’re in pain from one of these common overuse injuries. Dr. Ngu at Premiere Spine Institute in The Woodlands, Humble, and Baytown, Texas, can help get the source of your overuse injury and prescribe a treatment plan. You can make an appointment by contacting us here.

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