Repetitive strain injuries are wounds brought on by repeatedly doing the same actions. Daily usage of these motions may cause a person to experience pain, numbness, or weakening in the body part being used for the motions over time. Sometimes the injuries don’t happen all at once; they happen gradually over time.
Certain movements can bring on a repetitive strain or stress injury:
- Using a mouse on a computer
- Constantly leaning over or lifting
- Lifting things up high (such as when stocking shelves or files)
- Constantly rotating the neck or turning the head
- Both standing and moving
Which Body Parts Are Most Prone to Repetitive Strain Injuries?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is by far the most frequent injury caused by repetitive strain. Here, a nerve in the wrist becomes damaged or squeezed, resulting in discomfort or weakness.
Because many vocations demand substantial, repeated hand and wrist use, carpal tunnel syndrome is very frequent. Most workplace accidents are caused by carpal tunnel syndrome.
In addition to the wrist, the following body areas are linked to repeated stress:
- Back (particularly the lower back) (especially, the lower back)
- Shoulders (the ball and socket joint)
- Elbows (tennis elbow)
What Is a Repetitive Stress Injury Caused by My Job?
In the workplace, performing the same task repeatedly without a break or modification might result in a repetitive stress injury. These types of occupational ailments, sometimes known as “repetitive stress disorders” (RSD), are on the rise due to the increased usage of computers at work.
Employees who suffer from repetitive stress injury may be eligible for benefits under workers’ compensation laws or disability legislation. However, both the injury and the responsibilities assigned to the worker must have happened while they were at work.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Repetitive Stress Injuries?
If the repetitive stress injury is work-related and the employer lawfully hired the employee, the injury may be covered by workers’ compensation. Therefore, an injury must be somehow related to the person’s area of work and the job that they agreed to accept.
For instance, if a paralegal ran during every lunch break and developed a knee repetitive stress injury, they definitely wouldn’t be eligible for workers’ compensation. This is due to the fact that such exercise is probably not a necessary task for their work. On the other hand, they might qualify for workers’ compensation if they sustained an arm injury as a result of repeatedly filing folders.
What Are a Few Causes of Repetitive Stress Injuries at Work?
The number of potential repetitive stress injuries is probably equal to the number of job opportunities. However, some of the more typical jobs that result in repetitive stress injuries at work include:
- Activities involving a computer and typing: A computer or other typing device is used in an increasing number of job positions. One of the most often reported repeated stress injuries is carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Bar-code scanning: Continual scanning of products at the register puts grocery store employees and other retail workers at risk for repetitive stress injuries.
- Static posturing: When a worker is required to maintain a fixed posture at work (such as extended standing), this is called static posture. An electrician fitting their body into a small attic space to work on wiring is another illustration.
Reaching overhead (as when putting boxes onto overhead shelves), overusing the hands and fingers (as with massage therapists), and assembly-line labor are some other repetitive stress injuries (especially where there is no variation in the assigned task).
How Are Injuries From Repetitive Strain Treated?
Repetitive strain injuries differ from other injuries because they require a longer recovery period.
As a result, someone who suffers from a repetitive strain injury may need to apply for disability and workers’ compensation. They can be out for several weeks or even months if surgery is necessary.
Repetitive strain injuries can occasionally be caused by an employer’s or a manager’s negligence. Legal action may be necessary to recover damages for the harm in such cases.
Statistics of Repetitive Motion Accidents
Actions or movements cause repetitive motion injuries carried out with the same body parts repeatedly throughout each day.
A few actions that can lead to repetitive stress injuries include typing on a computer, lifting or moving products frequently in a warehouse, and scanning items as grocery store clerks check them out.
Small hand movements, as those required for writing or operating a computer mouse, are common in repetitive motion injuries. The bodily parts involved experience stress as a result of the repetitive actions over time.
Repeated trauma or movement each year, primarily to upper body areas such as the shoulder, wrist, elbow, knee, and back, causes roughly two-thirds of all occupational injuries.
The following is a list of some repetitive stress injury (RSI) data compiled by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA):
- Repeated motion is frequently a role in MSD; overexertion accounted for 12.5 events per 10,000 workers. Musculoskeletal Disease (MSD) had an incident rate of 37.8/10,000 workers. However, overexertion conditions also frequently involve repetitive motion;
- On average, an individual needs 23 days to fully recover from a repetitive motion injury. This is 14 more days than the typical recovery period for all other injuries. Most injuries heal in just nine days;
- An estimated $80 million in compensation must be paid by employers each year for repetitive motion injuries;
- The repetitive stress injury that is most frequently reported is carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). More than 8 million Americans are impacted;
- Nearly half of all carpal tunnel syndrome instances result in employees missing a month or more of work, and 260,000 carpal tunnel syndrome release procedures are thought to be performed annually by doctors;
- 47% of these incidents are thought to be related to the workplace.
The following are a few examples of jobs that need repetitive motion and are, therefore, more likely to result in a repetitive motion injury:
- Computer users, musicians, typists, meat, poultry, fish processors and packers, saw or jackhammer operators, postal workers, dental assistants, dentists, cake designers, and carpet installers are among the occupations represented.
The bursa, muscle, tendon, or bone of the injured joint are typically involved in repetitive motion injuries, as are most body joints.
Because they can sometimes take a long time to heal from, repetitive motion injuries are frequently classified as illnesses rather than injuries. One of these conditions is carpal tunnel syndrome.
As a result, data for trauma-related injuries have shown reduced numbers. On the other hand, the inclusion of repetitive stress injuries, particularly carpal tunnel syndrome, in the group has led to a rise in the overall incidence of illnesses. In 2017, there were four to ten million cases of carpal tunnel syndrome in the US.
Naturally, it is also accurate to say that fewer Americans work on the floors of factories, where accidents are more prone to occur. A growing number of people sit in front of computers in cubicles to work. Or, more people today work in service-related industries where repeated motions are a necessary part of the job. As a result, repeated stress injuries receive more workers’ compensation claims than serious industrial accidents.
The remedial treatments used to treat repetitive motion injuries have a high rate of failure. Over 50% of surgeries to treat CTS and other nerve compression injuries fail, like CTS release operations. This means that when CTS repair procedures are carried out, they fall short of solving the issue 50% of the time. Repetitive stress injuries cost employers and insurers a lot of money every year, and this is one of the main causes.
How Can I Get My Money Back After Losing It Due to a Repetitive Stress Injury?
In most cases, you can make a workers’ compensation claim through your employer if you have suffered losses as a result of a repetitive stress injury. It can be necessary to keep detailed records of your injuries and the events leading up to them. Make sure to gather crucial papers, including pay stubs, hospital records, job logs, and medical bills.
Alternatively, if your employer declines to help you with workers’ compensation or other benefits, you can sue them in civil court. In some circumstances, you might first need to lodge a complaint with a government body before bringing a lawsuit on your own.
Do I Require Legal Assistance for Repetitive Strain Injuries?
Injuries caused by repetitive strain can frequently take a long time to heal and require extensive medical care. If you need assistance claiming a repetitive strain injury, you might choose to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in your region.
You can receive solid legal counsel and representation for your claim from your lawyer. Additionally, if you have to appear in court, your lawyer can advise you legally throughout the entire procedure.