Soft tissue injury prevention
Soft tissue is the name given to muscles, tendons, ligaments and skin. All of these tissues can be injured as we go through the normal business of life, however in some cases, a single forceful movement can damage the soft tissue. Also, if we use one part of our body constantly, that part may become susceptible to damage from overuse. Being aware of what causes soft tissue injury, can help us prevent injury from occurring.
Muscles become strained from overuse or from poor body mechanics - the way we lift, push or pull. The lower back, because it carries a lot of the body's weight, is easily injured. A physical therapist can educate you in proper body mechanics especially if your job entails a lot of heavy lifting. You will be taught how to use the quadriceps muscles at the front of your leg when lifting, how to pivot with a heavy object instead of twisting from the waist, and you will also be given exercises to improve the flexibility of your lower back.
Tendonitis, inflammation of the tendons, is another soft tissue injury that results from overuse. A common complaint is tennis elbow or inflammation of the tendons in the elbow. This is caused by repetitive, forceful contractions of the forearm. Physical therapy can help you to modify your techniques, whether you are a tennis player or a carpenter, and give you stretching and strengthening exercises that will prevent further injury.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive strain injury that develops when the sheath covering the tendons in the wrist compresses the nerve, causing pain, numbness and tingling. This injury can be prevented by observing proper ergonomics in the workplace and varying your activities. A physical therapist can also give you stretching exercises to alleviate pain and prevent injury. A brace may also be needed to ease your discomfort.
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