OOS INJURIES AND TREATMENTS:
Defining the Injuries:
Occupational Overuse Syndrome is a term used to cover various conditions usually caused by - yes, you guessed it! - overuse! This term covers many different injuries, some of which are in this table:
HAND and FOREARM
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Guyon's canal syndrome
Pronator teres syndrome
Epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
Radial tunnel syndrome
Cubital tunnel syndrome
Bicipital tendonitis (pain over anterior shoulder)
Thoracic outlet syndrome
Rotator cuff injury
Cervical disc herniation
Chiari malformation syndrome
This is a condition we have mentioned above which results from prolonged or excessive strain on the upper body, and thereby resulting in an ongoing condition which does not easily resolve nor heal by itself. There are various theories about Diffuse OOS. However, the stages above are the typical stages which can lead to Diffuse OOS (diffuse meaning it tends to travel - before you know it, it's up your arms and into your back and neck, and then you're lucky if it stops there!)-Please note that this is our own opinion and stance.-
The term "Diffuse OOS" has been laid aside by a lot of practitioners and ACC, in favour of "chronic pain syndrome" or something similar. In our opinion this tends to diminish and cloud the nature of the condition so we continue to call it "Diffuse OOS".
Many doctors find it difficult to make a diagnosis but there are some who know how to examine, not only for tendonitis and other simple local injuries, but also for trigger points. A good doctor should also know how and when to refer you for other tests, for example blood tests or a nerve conduction test. We would also like to see Drs referring us for venograms to measure venous bloodflow in our arms, and/or for high frequency ultrasound.
As well as medical examination, the type of work the person is involved in, the actions performed, pressure from supervisors to work harder and faster, hours per day at a high-risk task (not just keying), plus the
ergonomic arrangements (or not) will all give clues as to which muscles etc are affected and why. You need to find a practitioner, whether it be a GP, osteopath or physio who properly understands OOS conditions and is interested in your health (not just their chequebook), or they can make your injury worse.
*Ask a health practitioner you trust before making treatment decisions*
Occupational overuse injuries must be treated individually. A couple of good websites which explain and illustrate a number of localised OOS injuries and remedies, are:
SPA. Anexcellent website which also has anatomy and treatment info worth reading.
Medical Multimedia Group. This site explains local conditions like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
People with Diffuse OOS have found relief from a range of different treatments so it's not easy to make a list but many have found massage to be beneficial (but not curative) and relaxation therapy also helps to relax the muscles and aid maximum-possible function.
Physiotherapy can aid recovery if the physiotherapist understands that OOS can go through the body and if he/she is willing to work with you. We have had good reports from people receiving deep-needling (this is different to acupuncture), but this is something you should look into and decide whether it is appropriate for You. Deep needling may sometimes be done by physiotherapists or osteopaths or doctors.
Stretching? The stage of injury vs recovery is important when giving consideration to how you are treated. For example, never stretch if you have active, painful trigger points. In fact, never stretch to the point of pain. ("No pain, no gain" is incorrect in the treatment of OOS.) Here's an article on how to stretch - (when trigger points have been reduced and your condition is very stable. Get a good physio/osteopath).
Rest In the worst stages, rest and relaxation of the arms is absolutely critical and may be the only treatment which will really help. Some of us have found that, contrary to many physios' opinions, a splint/sling can be a good idea when the ache is very deep/sharp. Especially if even letting your arms "relax" at your sides is worsening the pain. Also, a cervical collar can rest the neck muscles if you're having difficulty holding up your head. Sounds daft but true! In our experience, rest is the most helpful treatment, together with warm/cold packs (ask your practitioner which to use) in the early stages. If rest is not given at that time, and if the injured person is not informed on how to rest the hand/s and arms, nor given adequate personal/home support, then a chronic condition is in the making.
Importantly, remember that you are the one who can best gauge what works best for you. When you do decide to try a new treatment, be wise and don't overdo it.
Biofeedback, an aid to relaxation therapy and measuring muscle response to activity. Website about biofeedback
Herbs, vitamins and pharmaceutical drugs have a mixed response. If you are in severe 24hour pain, sleep may not come easily. There are different medicines available from your doctor, or you can try one of the alternative medicines. However, the relief of pain is a necessity in order to be able to sleep. A good doctor will understand this. For medicinal treatment, please consult a naturopath and/or doctor as appropriate, so that you are taking correct dosages, and can be informed about
contraindications and possible side-effects. The following is a list of some common ones which some people have found useful:
Vitamin B complex, with choline
Rhus Tox, a homeopathic sprain remedy
Epsom salts, good in the bath
Anti-Flamme cream, (contains arnica)
Info here. Lumps pain and depression together. Depression is, of course, an understandable result of chronic pain.
We would like to hear from you if you have had particular relief from any one type of treatment. It could be massage, deep needling, relaxation therapy, acupuncture, spinal manipulation, homeopathy, naturopathy, physiotherapy, pharmaceuticals or a combination of treatments. Please tell us! If you do decide to email us, we need to know the area which has been affected and how long you've had OOS as well. Personal information is not and never will be divulged by us to ANYONE. That is an absolute promise.
(Note: It's possible for OOS to become a fibromyalgia condition. Fibromyalgia means "pain in the fibrous tissues and muscles".)
Devin Starlanyl: Do you have Fibromyalgia or Myofascial Pain Syndrome?
Get some info at Devin Starlanyl's website.
A good newsgroup to join if you have fibromyalgia is
It's excellent and international (although mainly American of course).
The Bones Doctor: This practitioner is in America. If you know of anyone who agrees with this treatment, please email us as we want to compile a list of treatment providers like Richard. This page has great info about the myofascia and trigger points!
Also see Devin Starlanyl's website at left.
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is a much debated disorder. But when you have this, you are in deep pain.
RSD Hope, one of the best RSD websites.
Mensana Clinic: Tries to make some sense of it.