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Workers' compensation and repetitive stress injuries

You may be in a line of work that requires you to perform a certain type of motion repeatedly, and over time you may be unable to perform your job without pain.

You may have a cumulative trauma injury, also known as a repetitive stress injury, that has developed gradually. This is a common workplace issue, and it often leads to a workers' compensation claim.

The repetitive stress injury defined

The injuries caused by having to perform a certain kind of task repeatedly usually affect soft tissues and are therefore not visible to the naked eye. Injuries most often take their toll on tendons, ligaments, muscles and nerves. The cause could be an unnatural or awkward motion, as in the twisting of a wrist or arm; too many uninterrupted repetitions of a certain motion; muscle fatigue; or overexertion.

Parts of the body involved

RSIs most often occur to the wrists, fingers, elbows and shoulders. Injuries can also cause pain in the back, neck, hips, knees and feet. As an example, carpal tunnel syndrome affects the wrist and is one of the most commonly reported workplace injuries. This is a progressive condition which occurs when a repetitive motion causes compression of the median nerve in the wrist.

Who RSIs affect the most

People who work on computer keyboards all day are subject to RSIs, and so are assembly line workers. These injuries can also affect individuals who have jobs as carpenters, gardeners, meatpackers and even tennis players.

Getting help

As soon as you notice pain or discomfort while performing a repetitive motion, you should seek a medical evaluation. If you have an RSI caused by the work you do, a doctor’s report that ties the condition directly to your job will be critical when you apply for worker’s compensation. The help of an experienced attorney will also be essential in ensuring that you receive full and fair financial compensation for your injury.

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