Repetitive stress injuries do not discriminate. Anybody that performs the same physical task, over and over, day in and day out, is at risk of developing this type of injury. It might be a small movement, such as pulling products, typing on a keyboard, or twisting a socket wrench. It could also be a more strenuous activity, such as repeated lifting or the use of heavy machinery.
Whatever the cause of a repetitive stress injury (sometimes referred to as a repetitive motion injury), it’s important to know the signs. The sooner you identify and treat the injury, the less impactful it may ultimately be.
Early signs of a repetitive stress injury
The definition of a repetitive motion injury is fairly broad. Generally, they are the result of a person having to repeat a motion many times over. These injuries can cause temporary or permanent damage to soft tissue – muscles, nerves, tendons or ligaments.
They can also occur in just about any part of the body. Fingers, wrists, shoulders, neck, back, knees, ankles, feet, hips – any area that flexes or moves while performing this repetitive task. What are some signs you might be suffering from a repetitive stress injury? Be aware of:
- Unexplained pain
- Tingling or numbness
- Visible swelling
- The loss of strength or flexibility
All of these could be signs of a repetitive stress injury. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, consider notifying your employer and making a workers’ compensation claim.
You need time to recover
In almost all cases, you cannot simply grit your teeth and work through a repetitive motion injury. The best chance you have at recovery is to take time away from whatever task caused the damage. In addition, you might have to alter the way you perform certain tasks in the future. This might mean changing:
- The frequency of these tasks
- The way you perform them
- The amount of rest you take between these movements
Some employers might dispute the job had any role in your repetitive stress injury. An insurance company might resist paying the workers’ compensation benefits you are owed, choosing instead to turn your injury into a legal battle. While these setbacks can be disappointing, they are not a dead end.
With the right support, you can make sure the truth about your injury is heard.