Many people connect repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) to the commonly known carpal tunnel syndrome. So, many also connect RSIs with individuals who work in office jobs.
However, RSIs impact a broad range of fields and workers across Maryland. They are some of the most common occupational injuries and knowing more about them could be a critical step to helping employees recover workers' compensation for the harm these injuries can do.
What causes RSIs?
There is no doubt that the increase in computer use across many fields of employment is a contributing factor to the high rate of RSIs. And while using a computer is one of the most well-known causes of RSIs, it is not the only one. Any repetitive motion can cause an RSI, including:
- Sweeping or scrubbing
- Driving for long periods
- Lifting heavy loads consistently
- Sitting with poor posture
Many workers face a risk of sustaining an RSI, from teachers to musicians or industrial workers to customer service employees.
Symptoms of RSIs
RSIs are not always apparent. Individuals might not experience symptoms until years later, perhaps even after they have retired.
Late symptoms are not the only issue that RSIs pose. They can also affect different body parts, from the wrists to the back muscles, in different ways. Symptoms can vary so much, that they are different from one person to the next. However, some of the usual symptoms of RSIs include:
- Tingling sensations
- Muscle and joint pain and weakness
- Loss of feeling or numbness
- Reduced motor skills and strength
Symptoms usually worsen over time, but here are ways to prevent RSIs and severe symptoms. For example, ergonomic provisions can significantly reduce the risk of sustaining RSIs in the workplace.
However, identifying symptoms early is still significant for effective medical treatment and workers' compensation benefits.
Not all effects are physical symptoms
Severe cases of RSIs--sometimes called musculoskeletal disorders--can limit an employee's ability to complete their work. These limitations could potentially lead to shorter work times and even shorten someone's career.
RSIs may not seem entirely threatening at first but restricting work time could lead to significant losses in income over a long-term period.
Regardless of the job, Maryland employees can recover workers' compensation for RSIs. These claims can be complex, but as long as a doctor can connect the injury with the working conditions and activities, employees can qualify for benefits.