Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), is also known as occupational overuse syndrome, regional musculoskeletal disorder and cumulative trauma disorder, its nomenclatures indicating its primary cause: overuse of, and ensuing pain in, muscles, tendons, nerves, and other soft tissues. Bass fishers can typically suffer from tendinopathy (pain and inflammation just above the elbow joint), though depending on your style and posture, and the frequency with which you fish, you can experience the debilitating pain and discomfort of RSI in the back, shoulders or wrists. Doctors normally recommend rest, stretching and core strengthening to deal with RSI, though numerous sufferers of this condition have found that a change in their diet can greatly alleviate their condition. An RSI-preventive diet involves:
Steering clear of processed and high-sugar foods: Foods which are high in sugar shunt an untold amount of glucose into our blood, stimulating the pancreas to produce insulin. When this process goes on for too long, our body can grow insulin resistant and eventually, we can even develop Type II diabetes. Sugar is a ‘monster’ in many ways; it is largely the culprit for the current obesity epidemic faced by the nation and it causes us to age prematurely (this applies to early skin ageing as well). Excessive sugar consumption can also contribute to osteoporosis, by inhibiting the body from absorbing calcium and reducing bone mineral density. There are several conditions which are known to contribute to the development of RSI; these include diabetes, thyroid disease, fluid retention, and rheumatoid arthritis. Being overweight exacerbates many of these conditions and therefore leads to a greater risk of RSI.
Often, losing just a little bit of excess weight leads to significant improvements in symptoms. The current rage in the diet world is low-carb. You don’t need to follow an excessively strict diet (like the Atkins diet) to notice changes; the Mediterranean Diet (which revolves around seasonal fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes, and wild fatty fish like salmon) is generally considered an excellent way to stay in shape and battle heart disease and cancer all at once, without foregoing carbohydrates. When consuming fruit and vegetables, try to stick to items which are low on the Glycemic Index, so that energy levels remain stable throughout the day and you aren’t tempted to snack on high-sugar foods to obtain a much needed energy boost.
Consume the right kinds of fats: To lose unwanted pounds, avoid trans fats and aim to use healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil and Udos oil, a commercial oil containing an excellent ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fats. Nuts and seeds have a high fat intake but they comprise mostly unsaturated fats and no cholesterol. Still, they contain a considerable number of calories so limit your daily consumption of nuts to around 1/3 cup or one tablespoon of nut butter.
Consume Vitamin B6-rich foods: Studies have shown that sufferers of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome tend to be deficient in this Vitamin. Consider taking a supplement containing between 100mg and 200mg of Vitamin B-6 but don’t take higher doses, since they can cause irreversible nerve damage.
Finally, try to support a healthy Mediterranean diet with regular physical activity. Activities like Pilates will do plenty to support your core, but you should also consider yoga, which increases strength and flexibility but also works on your mental health, enhancing mind-body control and promoting a state of mindfulness. The techniques learned in yoga can be very helpful when it comes to fighting cravings for sugary, processed foods, since they increase your awareness of bodily sensations like hunger, satiety, tiredness etc. Yoga can also help curtail stress; the latter is one of the major reasons we often opt for fast foods containing dangerous levels of salt and sugar, as well as unhealthy trans fats. To keep RSI at bay, it helps to take an holistic approach, combining diet, relaxation techniques and core strengthening activities, and allowing our body the necessary time to recover after we enjoy a full day out on the water.
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Written by Helen Silver