If you work in an office environment, you probably know of someone who sits at a computer, works with a keyboard and a mouse all day, and suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome.
However, there are many serious conditions that fall under the repetitive motion heading and they can affect anyone from assembly line workers to carpenters to musicians.
How to identify repetitive stress injuries
Also known as cumulative trauma disorders, repetitive stress injuries are among the top reasons for the filing of workers’ compensation claims. Symptoms include pain, tingling, a numb feeling and loss of flexibility in the affected area. These injuries have many causes:
- Unnatural or awkward motion
- Too many repetitions of a motion
- Incorrect posture
- Muscle fatigue
In addition to carpal tunnel syndrome, which affects the wrist, the most common repetitive stress injuries include tendinitis, bursitis, tennis elbow, ganglion cyst and trigger finger. You will find such injuries in hands, fingers, elbows and shoulders, but they can also affect the neck, back, knees and hips.
How to treat repetitive stress injuries
Only in the most severe cases is surgery required. Most repetitive stress injuries can be treated with medication, the application of ice to relieve swelling or the use of a splint. Some doctors prescribe physical therapy, including stretching exercises. Some employers offer ergonomic programs through which workers learn to adjust the pace of repetitive motion in order to lessen the impact.
How to prove repetitive stress injuries
There has to be a direct link to job duties; that is, in order to obtain workers’ compensation benefits in the state of Ohio, the individual affected must prove that he or she sustained the injury in the workplace. However, this does not have to be a current problem. The injury could still be eligible for benefits if it developed over time and continuous use aggravated it. Whether the issue is carpal tunnel syndrome or one of the other repetitive motion injuries, the good news is that with time and proper treatment, complete recovery is possible.