Many jobs require you to perform the same motions over and over everyday. The repetitiveness of these motions could result in you developing a number of small injuries over a period of time. Most people think of carpal tunnel syndrome when it comes to repetitive motion pain, often coming from typing and overusing computers but it can be repeated stress on your back if you are a baggage handler or a hospital worker who lifts patients in and out of gurneys all day.
As small traumas build up over time, these injured employees may need medical treatment and take time off of work to deal with the pain. Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs) include more than 100 types of injuries and ailments caused by the body’s wear and tear over time. If your job requires you to repeat similar motions day after day you might be at risk of developing this condition. These injuries are considered compensable and should be claimed under the Workers’ Compensation law. An RSI, otherwise known as a continuous motion injury, is caused by repetitive stress and strain to muscles and other body parts such as ligaments, tendons, spinal discs and nerves. If you have this type of injury you might notice constant and reoccurring aches and pains in your hands, back, legs, neck and shoulders.
Workers in any industry can develop RSIs. If your job involves repeating any of the following job duties overtime they may become problematic:
- Moving heavy objects
- Computer typing and using a mouse
- Stocking inventory
- Digging and landscaping
- Using machinery and power tools
- Lifting hospital patients
- Lifting a heavy weight (boxes, pallets, loads)
- Standing in the same position
If your injury is not listed, it does not mean it is not an RSI. This is where you should contact a Workers’ Compensation attorney to answer your questions.
The RSI category is very broad and the intensity of pain and discomfort varies case by case. Common problems include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome – specific nerve damage in the wrist, which can lead to aches, numbness and tingling in the hand or fingers. This is common in jobs that require computer, shifting or joystick use.
- Irritation and inflammation of a bursa, which is a fluid filled sac that helps cushion a joint and is often associated with overusing joints, carting heavy items and reaching overhead.
- Tearing and irritation of the tendons, which connect bones to muscles and can be linked to overusing or over-stretching specific muscles
- Stress fractures – small bone cracks due to repetitive actions or overloading that could come from running, walking, jumping and other rhythmic actions
- Patellofemoral syndrome – the weakening of kneecap cartilage due to repeated kneeling, squatting and climbing
- Epicondylitis – otherwise known as Tennis Elbow, which causes swelling and pain in the elbow often due to joint strain and overuse
- Plantar Fasciitis – inflammation of the fibrous tissue along the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes
It is important not to ignore warning signs of RSIs. Your injuries might build up slowly but they can lead to pain that can be just as intense as a dramatic accident, like a fall.
If you notice any of these problems you may have an RSI:
- Joint or muscle weakness
- Tingling or numbness
- Lack of endurance
- Hands and joints feel like “dead weight”
- Coldness in your hands that won’t go away
- Using your non-dominant hand to avoid pain in your dominant hand
- Adopting “awkward” posture to make common actions more comfortable
You may be susceptible to these injuries if you work in a high stress job, use a computer for several hours a day, are not active and lead a sedentary life, have loose joints and are sleep deprived.
If you are having similar problems and think you have developed an RSI from repeating the same motions at work, you could be entitled to Workers’ Compensation. You should report your injury immediately to your employer and seek medical care. The attorneys at Losi & Gangi can help you file a claim and advise you on your benefits. Call us at 716-854-1446 and we can start working on your case today.