When you think of workers’ compensation, you probably think of a factory worker sustaining an injury from faulty equipment or a construction worker falling from a roof. But workers’ compensation covers much more than that.
Work-related injuries are not always accidents. Repeating the same motion over and over can lead to repetitive stress injuries. RSIs tend to happen gradually and the symptoms become more serious over time. If you have a repetitive motion injury related to your job, workers’ compensation may cover your medical care and lost wages.
Who can RSIs affect?
Workers in just about any field may acquire an RSI. Retail and restaurant employees may suffer from tendonitis in the hands and wrists. Factory and construction work may also put workers at risk, as power tools can trigger RSI in the hands, wrists and arms. If your job requires repeated lifting, twisting and bending you may experience injury to the neck, shoulders or spine.
What are the signs?
Everyone gets sore on the job from time to time, so how do you know if you have something serious? In general, it is a matter of degree and persistence. Your RSI may begin as slight pain or tenderness. If your discomfort turns into chronic pain that increases in severity, you may have an RSI. You may also feel weakness, tingling and numbness in the area. Swelling may occur, and you may have a limited range of motion. An RSI can become debilitating.
How are RSIs treated?
Once your physician has diagnosed your ailment, you will likely begin a rehabilitation program. It may begin with conservative measures such as resting the area and reducing the inflammation with medications. You may need to change some of your regular work tasks and give your workstation a more ergonomic design. Occupational and physical therapy involving stretches and exercise may also help. If you suspect you have an RSI, notify your employer and seek medical attention immediately. Left untreated, an RSI can impair not just your body, but your quality of life.