Why did I get injured?

There are two mechanisms for musculoskeletal injury:

1. Accumulative strain or cumulative trauma

Accumulative strain is a gradual build up of dysfunction (tightness, stiffness, weakness) in muscles or joints. This occurs due to repetitive activity done with poor technique or a sustained poor posture over time. If these poor techniques and postures continue, dysfunction accumulates across the body until eventually it doesn’t take much force or time for a “strain” to occur.   Often when the pain onset seems to occur suddenly, it is actually the movement which was the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’.

The graph below summarises accumulative strain:

Optimal’ with the blue line showing minimal strain with well balanced muscles, joints, nerves throughout the body, and thoughts plus feelings during daily life

Subclinical' strain that builds up over time, the maroon area, and not enough strain to require conscious warning with the brain creating pain

'Clinical' is shown by the yellow area, where the brain's guarding protection and warning signal creating pain turns into a vicious cycle that does not quickly settle by itself.  The point where the Strain Line hits the Pain Threshold is the point where the 'straw breaks the camel's back'

RM Model of Musculoskeletal Health

  • Pushing beyond your body’s normal ranges (e.g. overstretching)
  • Using a computer for many hours a day without break
  • Sitting for many hours a day without break
  • Driving for many hours
  • Repetitive tasks without many breaks and variation (painting, cleaning, manual work)
  • Repetitive actions in sport … and many more (basically, anything performed for long periods or repetitively)

IMPORTANT: It’s not the activity that leads to accumulative strain; it’s the way the activity is performed. No activity or exercise is ‘bad for you’, provided you do it with good posture and technique!

2. Non-accumulative strain or sudden trauma

  1. A one-off incident with high force that causes injury and pain.

    Example: A motor vehicle accident, falling from a height, slipping and falling, being tackled or hit, etc.

  2. More rarely, diseases cause musculoskeletal pain.

    Example: Different types of arthritis, infection, and genetic diseases

So which type of injury can physiotherapy help?

Great physiotherapy can relieve the strain to the vast majority of musculoskeletal* conditions in both the categories above, very quickly.  You don’t have to wait for healing to occur to be able to be pain free and back to full function!

So how do I fix this?

MSK solutions physiotherapists are here to help you to the best of their ability – and if they can’t fix you, they will help you find someone who can.

For traumatic and accumulative strain injury, MSK Solutions Physiotherapists use the Ridgway Method Systems to:

1) Problem solve your condition and find the primary contributing factor (PCF), and

2) Teach you how you can have a sustainable long term solution of your problem

For more detail about how we solve pain and injuries, please read: How we can help

To speak to an MSK Solutions Physiotherapist or book an appointment, please call: 022 453 1630 or visit our online bookings page.

*The term Musculoskeletal refers to muscles, joints, bones and nerves