How to deal with a work-related repetitive strain injury

| Apr 23, 2020 | Workers' Compensation

Climbing high ladders and lifting heavy loads for a living can lead to painful workplace injuries. But sometimes the conditions and repetitive motions involved with a desk job can be the reason a lingering pain kept you awake all night.

If you believe you might be suffering from a repetitive strain injury (RSI), then it’s best to act fast. It’s also important to note that a workers’ comp attorney can help you on your road to recovery.

What’s an RSI?

You might be suffering from an RSI and not even know it. There are two main types of RSIs — one that leads to swelling or inflammation of muscles or tendons and one that is the result of nerve damage. Some common types include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS): Anyone who uses their hands for hours on end can suffer from CTS, a condition that creates a tingling sensation in wrists and hands due to a nerve compression.
  • Tendonitis: Tendons or the tissue that connects muscles to bones, can become inflamed with overuse.
  • Bursitis: When joints, like the shoulder, elbow or knee, become swelled up due to repetitive motion.

Any jobs that involve hand-heavy tasks can lead to moderate to severe RSIs. This can include constant use of technology, like computer keyboards and mobile devices, as well as factory, grocery store or postal service positions that involve steady lifting.

How can I recover?

The first step to recovering from any injury or illness is addressing the problem. Here are some other measures you should take to not only feel better, but also receive compensation:

  • Get medical attention: Don’t ignore any bodily pain that you detect during the workday or after you clock out. Sometimes you won’t feel the symptoms of an RSI, like CTS, until you try to fall asleep. Keep in mind that longer exposure to repetitive movements that are causing you pain can lead to longer bouts of pain and could require more extensive treatment.
  • Tell your employer: You shouldn’t hold out on telling your employer you are experiencing pain if you believe it’s related to the conditions of your office or nature of your daily work. This can begin with bringing a doctor’s note to your manager or company’s human resources department.
  • Change your habits: There are a lot of small habits that can make a big difference when healing from an RSI, including better posture, taking breaks and stretching often. Otherwise, your doctor may suggest pain relievers or more natural remedies like an ice or heat pack or physical therapy. In some cases, surgery is a recovery option.

Can I receive compensation?

Other health conditions can create similar symptoms that result from RSIs. But if the pain developed from your day-to-day work at your place of employment, then you should consider filing for workers’ compensation.

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