Repetitive Strain Injury

15 Jul Repetitive Strain Injuries On The Job

Have you ever gotten a sudden hand cramp while writing? Or felt a pang in your elbow after overexerting yourself while playing sports? All of these are signals that your body is sending you to let you know that it needs a break. Strains can occur from a variety of activities, but the one thing they have in common is that repetitive actions can worsen the strain. That’s why it’s so important to take a break and let your limbs rest frequently.

But what if the strain is coming from your job? Asking off from work can mean wage losses, and medical bills can stack up fast. That’s why it’s important to know what to do if you’re incurring an injury from work.

Today we’ll talk a little bit about injuries caused by repetitive movement and overuse, as well as what to do in case of one.

Repetitive Strain Injury

Repetitive Strain Injury (otherwise known as RSI), is a term used to describe injuries caused by repetitive movement or overuse.

To break it down a little more, RSI is an umbrella term that can encompass a variety of conditions. For example, tendonitis, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, and writer’s cramp can all be examples of repetitive strain injury. Repetitive strain injuries can vary in intensity but are all caused by performing a repetitive movement. Car mechanics, bus drivers, and office workers are all very prone to this condition due to the nature of their work.

Here are a few more examples of RSI’s:

Wrist

The wrist is one of the most common areas of the body to experience a repetitive strain injury. Conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome are commonly seen in factory line workers that have to twist their wrist in a repetitive motion many times. Frequent and long-term computer use can have the same effect.

Elbow

If you’ve ever played tennis, you might have heard the term tennis elbow before. What you might not know, however, is that it’s not just athletes that are prone to developing this condition. Carpenters, painters, butchers, and other workers using their wrists and arm are also at risk of developing tennis elbow.

Shoulder

Have you ever seen a mechanic on his back under a car, turning a wrench to tighten a car part? Or a baseball player that rotates and lifts his shoulder to pitch during practice? All of these are repetitive actions that can cause straining of the shoulder. Over time, that mechanic or baseball player might develop rotator cuff tendinitis.

Repetitive Strain Injury Symptoms

RSI symptoms can come in a variety of forms, but here are just a few of the most common ones:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Tingling or Numbness
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness

If you find yourself experiencing any of these, it’s best to consult with your primary care provider. They can assess your symptoms and give you a diagnosis. Remember to keep all paperwork following your doctor’s visit, including any bills or doctor’s notes. Also, try to follow your doctor’s directions as closely as possible.

Repetitive Strain Injury Treatment

It’s imperative to begin treatment for an RSI as soon as possible. Letting the injury festor can exacerbate the issue and lead to further damage.

Does Repetitive Strain Injury Go Away?

RSI’s can go away over time. The key, however, is to treat the injury properly. First off is a visit to your primary care provider. Since “Repetitive Strain Injury” is a general umbrella term used to describe a variety of conditions, you don’t necessarily know what’s going on under the hood. 

In most cases, the injury can go away by following  R.I.C.E. Having said that, RSI’s can occasionally be persistent enough to require medication and physical therapy.

R.I.C.E

For many strains, the recommended treatment is a simple routine called R.I.C.E. Here’s some more info on what this may include:

R – Rest. Try to get some rest and refrain from using the affected area unless directed to do so by a medical professional. For example, say you strained your right wrist while on the job. Try not to use the right wrist or hand for a while. Use the other arm to twist handles and open containers.

I – Ice. An oldie but a goodie tip, ice can help reduce pain and swelling in an area. Best of all, this treatment can be done from home. Simply wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply it to the affected area. If you don’t have an ice pack, a bag of frozen vegetables can be used as well.

C – Compression. Your doctor may recommend keeping some compression around the area to keep swelling down or stabilize the area. Make sure to ask your medical provider for some advice first, however.

E – Elevation. For some strains, your primary care provider might recommend keeping the area elevated. For example, putting some pillows under a leg and laying down for 15 minutes is a common way to elevate an ankle.

Repetitive Strain Injury Physical Therapy

If rest, ice, compression, and elevation aren’t enough to relieve symptoms around the affected area, your doctor might recommend physical therapy. Physical therapy can include exercises, braces or splints, and modifications to posture.

Part of the reason why it’s so important to report all strains to your employer is because of the possibility of physical therapy. These sessions are imperative to making a full recovery and preventing further injury. Unfortunately, physical therapy can also get very expensive. Reporting an injury is the first step to beginning the process of filing a workers comp claim. Workers’ comp can pay for medical bills and lost wages while you recuperate from the injury.

What To Do If You’ve Sustained A Repetitive Strain Injury?

The first things to do are to see a doctor and report the injury to your employer. It’s imperative to do this as soon as possible since most states have a deadline as to when you can claim workers’ comp following an injury. In the case of a repetitive strain injury, figuring out the statute of limitations on the injury can be a bit more complicated. The key is to collect any paperwork given to you by your doctor (including notes, diagnosis, recommendations for physical therapy, bills, etc.). Next, talk to an attorney regarding your case and what you can do to maximize compensation. Here at the Cochran Firm Philadelphia office, we offer FREE consultations.

What Is Workers’ Comp?

In short, workers comp is a type of insurance that provides coverage in the event that an employee is injured while on the job. Workers’ comp can cover a variety of expenses such as medical bills, physical therapy fees, and lost wages. 

Workers’ Comp Lawyer Philadelphia

Here at the Cochran Firm Philadelphia office, we strive to support our community and the workers in it. We value the importance of the people that build our homes, offices, and grocery stores. That’s why we do everything we can to provide the best legal support we can.

If you have sustained a work injury, don’t hesitate to come to us for a consultation. We can help advise you regarding the workers’ comp process, as well as what you can do to get maximum compensation. Legal paperwork can be complicated, but we’ve got your back. Our law firm has over 40 years of experience helping people like you.

The best part is that our consultations are FREE, so you can sit down for that first meeting without having to worry about any legal fees. Additionally, we handle most personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t have to pay any upfront attorney fees. We deduct our payment from the final settlement, and only once we’ve won some kind of monetary settlement.

Don’t wait to call a lawyer. Remember that the sooner you start the worker’s comp claim process, the better your chances of getting compensated.

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