Like most people, you probably associate work injuries with catastrophic, one-time accidents. While this is the case for some victims of workplace injuries, other victims’ injuries develop over time.
Repetitive stress injuries are among some of the most common work injuries, and yet many workers think of their ongoing aches and pains as just another part of the job. Regardless of what industry you work in, you do not have to suffer. You should be able to live your life without work-related pain limiting what you can do.
So how do you know if you are amongst some of the workers who are most at risk for repetitive stress injuries? Golden Law Office has compiled the following information that you might find useful.
What Is a Repetitive Stress Injury?
Repetitive stress injuries—also referred to as repetitive motion or repetitive strain injuries—are musculoskeletal injuries that can be broken down into two different types. A Type 1 repetitive stress injury is usually easily identifiable, with its main symptoms being inflammation and swelling in particular tendons or muscles.
Type 2 repetitive stress injuries are much more commonly associated with work injuries and are sometimes harder to diagnose. Initial symptoms associated with the onset of a Type 2 repetitive stress injury is generally discomfort or pain. These symptoms can rapidly progress if a worker continues to use the affected limb or body part.
Both Type 1 and Type 2 repetitive stress injuries are primarily categorized by pain caused by repeated movements. Vibrations can also cause repetitive stress injuries. Muscles, ligaments, joints, spinal discs, cartilage, and tendons can all be damaged from overuse or when using improper techniques. You might have a repetitive stress injury if you start experiencing:
Only a doctor can diagnose a repetitive stress injury. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms in your hands, arms, shoulders, neck, or other areas of your body, make an appointment with your doctor for a thorough health evaluation. If you’ve already been to the doctor for your repetitive stress injury, a lawyer can help you decide if you might benefit from workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ comp benefits are typically available for those suffering from repetitive stress injuries such as:
- Carpal tunnel
- Cubital tunnel
- Trigger finger
- Tennis elbow
Which Workers Are at Risk For Repetitive Stress Injuries?
Anyone working at any job in any industry could suffer an on-the-job injury. However, certain workers face a higher-than-average risk for developing a repetitive stress injury. If left untreated, these injuries can be severe and may limit your ability to continue working at your current position or even in your chosen industry.
If you do any of the following work activities on a regular and repetitive basis, you are at an elevated risk for developing a repetitive stress injury:
- Office workers. Typing, using a mouse, and other computer use leaves office workers vulnerable to repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel and more.
- Retail workers. Scanning barcodes at a checkout register requires repeated movements of the arm, shoulder, and wrist. Long hours spent scanning barcodes while checking out customers can cause significant pain and limited range of motion.
- Assembly line workers. Assembly line workers are often assigned to perform just one or two tasks. Whether that involves reaching, bending, folding, pulling, or any other repeated motion, it makes the risk of a repetitive stress injury skyrocket.
- Truck drivers, bus drivers, cab drivers, and anyone else who spends the majority of their working hours driving know how painful it can be. Constantly holding your arms in one position and making repeated turning motions takes a serious toll on the body.
- Construction workers. Construction work is inherently hard on the body. Adding in repetitive movements and intense vibrations associated with pipe setting, jackhammering, and other construction activities only increases the risk of repetitive stress injuries.
- Factory workers. Factory workers are typically assigned a handful of repetitive tasks, including picking up, carrying, and setting down heavy objects. Improper lifting techniques or lack of support gear can cause injuries over time.
Even if you do not work in an industry that has a high risk for repetitive stress injuries, you may still be at risk if you:
- Spend many of your work hours on a computer
- Have to frequently write by hand
- Are required to lift items
- Perform twisting motions, either with your whole body or your hands
Limiting Your Risk of Injury
You probably have little control over your duties at work. However, there are steps you can take to lower your risk for developing a repetitive stress injury over time:
- Maintain good posture
- Take frequent breaks
- Stretch your arms, hands, and shoulders regularly
These types of actions lower your risk of injury but do not eliminate the risk entirely. You can still suffer a serious workplace injury even if you feel like you did everything within your power to prevent it.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Repetitive Stress Injuries
Are you among the types of workers who are most at risk for repetitive stress injuries? If so, you’ll need to be aware of your options after an injury.
If you are injured at work and need time off to recover, you need the right financial support. Kentucky employers are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage to their employees. Workers’ compensation benefits provide necessary financial support after a workplace injury. Victims who need to take time off to recover and rehabilitate from a repetitive stress injury should not delay in applying for workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ comp benefits cover related medical bills as well as a portion of your lost wages. Unfortunately, many injury victims’ initial applications are denied. While you can file an appeal for benefits for your repetitive stress injury, it can take time, money, and commitment that you may not feel properly equipped for.
When you choose to work with Golden Law Office, you are taking an important step toward your own recovery. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation, and we’ll help you determine your best path forward.