Workers can suffer numerous injuries on the job, including falls from heights, being crushed by a powerful machine and severe burns after an explosion.
Indeed, these situations can result in devastating injuries. However, an injury-causing event need not be blatantly catastrophic as these examples are to affect workers. In fact, even small movements can take a toll on a person’s health when they are repetitive.
Types of repetitive stress injuries
Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) are injuries that occur when someone makes the same movement over and over, stressing the muscles, nerves and tendons. Over time, these actions can cause increasingly bad and painful damage to the area.
Some examples of common work-related activities that can lead to an RSI include:
- Swiping items on a conveyer belt
- Typing on a keyboard
- Using a mouse
- Assembly line work
- Holding your arms above your head for extended periods
- Sitting in unnatural positions
- Using vibrating equipment
These actions and positions can put stress on a person’s body, even though it may not seem like it at first. But over time, a person can start experiencing aches and pains that gradually worsen, resulting in RSIs like carpal tunnel syndrome and bursitis.
Treating and tracking your symptoms
If you think you have an RSI, it can be crucial to keep track of your symptoms and how you treat them. This information can be valuable when you talk to your doctor and apply for workers’ compensation benefits if they prevent you from working.
For instance, make a note of when you start feeling symptoms of an RSI, including tingling, numbness and pain. Include details of how bad the symptoms are and how long they last.
Also, pay attention to any treatments that seem to help, whether that includes taking an aspirin, changing positions or wearing a splint. These records can make it easier to assess which treatments are effective and whether more aggressive treatment is necessary.
Taking RSIs seriously
People tend to downplay RSIs and assume they have no option but to live with them. However, when you take an RSI as seriously as other work-related injuries, it can be easier to get the care and financial support you need.