Repetitive Motion Syndrome

Topic Overview

Repetitive motion syndrome is a term used to describe symptoms such as pain, swelling, or tenderness that occur from repeating the same motion over and over. Experts disagree about using the term as a specific medical diagnosis.

Repeated use of the same motion may cause tissues to swell and become fatigued. Both work and recreational activities can cause repetitive motion syndrome. When the tissues swell and put pressure on the nerves, you may experience:

  • Tenderness.
  • Tingling.
  • Numbness.
  • Weakness.
  • Pain with use.

Treatment for repetitive motion syndrome may include:

  • Avoiding activities that cause symptoms.
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises.
  • Applying moist heat or cold packs alternately.
  • Resting the area and using splints.
  • Using anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine.

Credits

Author Jan Nissl, RN, BS
Editor Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN, MBA
Associate Editor Tracy Landauer
Primary Medical Reviewer William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Updated November 13, 2008

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