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Repetitive Stress Injuries: What All Workers Should Know

pexels-photo-585419.jpgWhen you think about workplace injuries, you most likely think of life-altering incidents, such as a delivery person involved in an automobile accident while on the job, or a construction worker being struck by a moving or falling object. But workplace injuries are not always the result of a sudden, isolated event. In fact, most workplace injuries develop over time from minor, repetitive movements that are performed on a frequent basis. Fortunately, employees can recover from these types of repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) through the workers' compensation system.

Read on to gain a better understanding of repetitive stress injuries and who is at risk:

What are repetitive stress injuries?

Repetitive stress injuries, also referred to as repetitive motion injuries or repetitive strain injuries, are one of the fastest growing occupational injuries, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). In fact, roughly one-third of all days-away-from-work cases involve some type of musculoskeletal injury, such as an RSI, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. Any job that requires you sit or stand in the same position for long periods of time or repeatedly perform the same manual tasks puts you at risk for developing an RSI. Examples of common repetitive stress injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, edema, and tendinosis.

What causes repetitive stress injuries?

There are many factors that contribute to the development of an RSI. When workers have to perform a job task that their body cannot physically handle, it can cause excess strain and wear and tear on the muscles and tendons of that area. For example, if you work on an assembly line and have to constantly stretch or lean across the conveyor belt, it could affect the muscles in your back, arms, and neck. Your body is not meant to overstretch in an uncomfortable position for hours on end. Other factors that may contribute to RSIs include using vibrating equipment, adopting an awkward posture, performing forceful movements, and using equipment that's poorly designed.

Who's at risk for repetitive stress injuries?

While office workers and those who regularly use a computer are at risk for developing RSIs, they are not the only ones who are susceptible. Some of the other types of workers who often sustain RSIs include:

 

- Construction workers

- Manufacturing and assembly line workers

- Loaders, movers, stock handlers, general transport

- Truck drivers and bus drivers

- Healthcare workers

- Farm, dairy, and field workers

- Mechanics

- Restaurant workers


What are symptoms of repetitive stress injuries?

The symptoms depend upon the exact type of repetitive stress injury and how severe it is. Most cases of RSIs include some or all of the following symptoms:

 

- Pain and tenderness

- An achy sensation or throbbing

- Stiffness

- Numbness, tingling, pins and needles

- Soreness or burning sensation

- Weakness or lack of muscular endurance

- Clumsiness and loss of coordination

Repetitive stress injuries often develop gradually, so many workers don't seek diagnosis or treatment until the condition has already taken root. Left untreated, these types of conditions can become extremely painful and debilitating and inhibit workers' ability to perform even routine tasks like brushing their teeth, much less their job duties. If you or someone you care about is suffering from a repetitive stress injury, the team at Dugan & Associates is here for you, and we're ready to look at your case. Contact us for a consultation.

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