Over And Over Again: Repetitive-Stress Injuries And Workers' Comp

Most people associate on-the-job injuries with sudden accidents, often in heavy industrial work settings. There is so much more to work-related injuries, however, and some can take their time to become apparent. Repetitive-stress or strain injuries are just as debilitating as a broken bone or back injury, and those who suffer from these injuries sometimes are left with permanent disabilities. Read on to learn more about injuries that are caused by motions that occur over and over again.

How repetition causes damage

Our bodies have an amazing ability to bounce back from injuries. Most have experienced the temporary back ache from doing the first gardening of the season or from finally getting back to the gym again. In most cases, a day or two of rest of the affected area does the trick, and you are better in no time. However, as you do your job, making the same motions again and again, day in and day out, the damage gets worse and worse. Repetitive injuries don't heal if you continue to do the same motions and never get treatment.

A few common repetitive stress conditions

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome This is the condition most people associate with repetitive-stress or strain injuries. In spite of it being the most well known, few people understand the condition, unless they or someone close to them is affected by it. The tunnel part of the name is actually a nerve tunnel in the wrist area, and it is the compression of that tunnel that leads to the problem. With constant use, the compression of the nerves leads to pain, swelling, and numbness in the wrist, hand, and fingers. If you use your hands and wrist a lot in your work, you are at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. People who do small assembly work or who use the computer constantly can be afflicted by this condition.

Bursitis – This condition even "sounds" bad; you can actually hear your joints making audible crackling and crunching sounds when you move them. You may notice this in any joint, but knees and elbows are commonly affected. Bursitis might not be so bad if it was just the noise, but the sounds are usually paired with tenderness and pain in the joints as well.

Tendinitis – As the name might suggest, the tendons are the area impacted by this repetitive injury. Tendons form the vital connection between your joints and your muscles, so you can only imagine the impact of inflammation. You may notice a feeling of unusual warmth at first, which progresses to sharp pains. Soon you will be unable to move that joint at all.

Getting workers' comp to cover your injury

Permanent damage can be done if you fail to get medical treatment, so act quickly when you notice pain, tenderness, or swelling that doesn't go away. Tell the treating doctor that work conditions caused the injury. Inform your supervisor and ensure that a workers' comp claim is filed as soon as possible. This insurance will cover your medical bills and a portion of your pay, but only if you take the steps necessary to file the claim.

If you are having problems with your workers' comp claim, contact an attorney at once.