While most people associate work related injuries with sudden accidents in industrial settings, there is another category of injury that is somewhat slower to show up. Any action done over and over again, day to day, can result in a repetitive stress or strain injury. If allowed time to heal, these affected muscles, tendons, joints, and ligaments can spring back to health, but for those whose jobs depend on making the repetitive motions, healing never happens. These injuries often begin to become more apparent over time, and by the time you notice the pain the injury is already serious. If you are suffering from a repetitive stress or strain injury, you should know that you are just as entitled to workers' comp benefits as anyone, so read on to learn more.
Common Repetitive Stress or Strain Conditions
Most everyone has heard of carpal tunnel syndrome, but there are many medical conditions that can be classified under the repetitive stress or strain injury umbrella. Some of the most common conditions are:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Many people may be surprised to learn that the word "tunnel" in the name of the condition refers to an actual tunnel in the wrist. This important nerve passageway can get compressed with constant use, and result in swelling, numbness, and pain in the hand, fingers, and wrist areas. People who use their hands a lot at work are more susceptible to this disorder, including computer keyboard users and small assembly line workers.
Bursitis – If your joints actually make noise when you move them, you may have this disorder. Elbows and knees seem to be especially vulnerable to bursitis, and the audible crunching and crackling sounds are usually accompanied by pain and tenderness.
Tendinitis – The name of this disorder is a dead giveaway to the location of the impact, your tendons. Tendons form the attachment between muscles and joints, so you can only imagine how painful and widespread the inflammation can be. Often, symptoms start with a feeling of unusual warmth and then progress to sharp pains and immobility. This condition often affects those who use their arms and legs repetitively, such as heavy equipment drivers.
Getting Approved for Workers' Comp
1. Seek medical attention as soon as you notice pain or other symptoms that don't go away. Many repetitive stress injuries worsen over time and without treatment, and you may end up with permanent damage if you don't act quickly enough. Make it a point to let the doctor know that your injury is likely related to the repetitive motions required by your job.
2. As soon as you know that your injury is work-related, inform your supervisor and ensure that a workers' comp or accident report is filed (the exact procedure can vary by state, but your supervisor is responsible for taking action).
3. Stay in treatment. Your doctor will very likely prescribe analgesics and, most importantly, resting the affected area. Your workers' comp will pay you a portion of your salary, so stay home to prevent further damage to the affected area. Failure to abide by the doctor's orders, to seek medical care or to stay in treatment can make it appear that your injury is not serious enough for workers' comp benefits.
If you feel that your claim is not being taken seriously, speak to a workers' comp attorney as soon as possible. Click here for more info on this topic.