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Who is at risk for a repetitive stress injury?

| Nov 14, 2019 | Firm News

Working takes up a lot of our time

Besides the time we spend sleeping, working is the most time-consuming activity in the average person’s life. In an 80-year lifespan, most people will spend about 13 full years working.

Given the overwhelming amount of time we spend working, it comes as no surprise that some will sustain repetitive stress injuries at some point.

What is a repetitive stress injury?

According to Healthline, this condition stems from a gradual buildup of damage to muscles, tendons, and nerves from repetitive motions.

Here are some typical job functions that, over time, could cause this injury:

  • In/out of delivery trucks
  • Delivering packages/items
  • Installing drywall
  • Typing on a keyboard or using a mouse
  • Scanning items at a check lane
  • Using tools
  • Working on an assembly line
  • Stocking shelves
  • Order fulfillment duties
  • Playing sports
  • Driving
  • Cooking

Who is at risk of injury?

As you can see, there are many different jobs and industries in which people could potentially develop this condition. Any occupation that requires repetitive motions or is physically demanding puts workers at risk. If a worker’s job duties are a material contributory causative factor in the onset or progression of a medical condition (like a back or neck condition), workers’ compensation benefits are available.

Some specific actions on the job that put people at risk are:

  • Overusing certain muscles through repetition
  • Staying in the same position for prolonged periods
  • Staying in an unnatural position for extended periods, like having your arms above your head
  • Heavy lifting

How to reduce your risk

For many, there isn’t much they can do to change the actions they perform to do their job. So, they will have to cope with the physical demands of their career in another way. For example:

  • Do your best to stay in a comfortable position with good posture
  • Take a short walk
  • Stretch
  • Take breaks
  • Ask for co-worker assistance

If you are already affected

Perhaps you didn’t become aware of the risk of repetitive stress injuries until you were already experiencing one. If you are having problems, seek medical care. Not to worry, there are treatment options:

  • RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation)
  • NSAID pain relievers, like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen
  • Physical therapy
  • Using braces or splints
  • Pain management or even surgery

Also, and importantly, tell your doctor about the job duties you perform at work. Your doctor can let you know if they believe those repetitive stress duties are playing a role in your physical problems. (And you need a doctor to support a work injury claim).

Workers’ compensation for repetitive stress injuries

If your injury has gotten so severe that it requires medical treatment or taking time off work, you could be eligible for benefits through a workers’ compensation claim. To do this, you must notify your employer as soon as possible and follow their instructions to file your claim.

If your workers’ comp claim is denied, an experienced attorney can advocate for you in court so that you can get the best outcome possible.

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