People who do the same motions over and over again at work, such as assembly line workers, typists, and construction site workers, as well as those who have to lift heavy loads or bend down frequently, such as hospital workers, plumbers, and electricians, are at high risk for developing repetitive stress injuries. These injuries are caused by gradual movements and inflammation of the muscles and tissues.
What are the most common types of repetitive stress injuries?
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome affects the hands, wrists, and fingers. It occurs when the median nerve, which controls sensation and movement in the hand, becomes compressed by a restricted or swollen carpal tunnel passageway. When this nerve is compressed, it may cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the affected hand. Those who type all day at work are at high risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Shoulder Injuries. Shoulder injuries can be very painful, and are often caused by lifting heavy loads or by reaching over your head repeatedly. Trying to grab and lift things at an awkward angle could also lead to shoulder injuries. Popping or crackling sounds in your shoulders when you put your arms up, or pain and stiffness in your shoulders, may indicate that you have a shoulder injury.
- Back Injuries. Just like shoulder injuries, back injuries may be caused by lifting without using proper posture, bending down, and twisting in awkward angles on a regular basis. Even sitting at a desk for hours at a time with poor posture could lead to a serious back injury. Your back muscles may become weak and unable to properly support your spinal column, putting you at risk for disk herniation and other serious back injuries.
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. Cubital tunnel syndrome is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome. It affects the pinky and ring finger, and occurs when the ulnar nerve is compressed or stretched. This can cause pain, tingling, weakness, and numbness. Keeping the arm in a bent position for long periods of time, such as working at a desk with your arms bent, can cause cubital tunnel syndrome.
- Rotator Cuff Tears. The rotator cuff in the shoulder is responsible for keeping your arm and shoulder socket in place. If this becomes partially or completely torn, it will cause pain, weakness, and cracking sensations when moving the affected arm. Repetitive motions at work, such as lifting things above your head, may lead to a rotator cuff injury. As the strain on the tendon progresses, you may feel pain even when you aren’t moving your arm. It may also be painful to sleep on the affected shoulder.
Tips to Prevent Repetitive Stress Injuries
Using ergonomic equipment, such as ergonomic keyboards, desk chairs, and lifting machines, can help reduce your risk for repetitive stress injuries. It is also important to take breaks regularly at work, and to stretch and exercise your muscles to increase their flexibility and strength. If you begin to notice signs of a repetitive stress injury, such as pain, stiffness, or weakness, it is important to notify your employer and to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Our Atlanta Workers’ Comp Attorneys Are Here to Help.
At The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC, we are passionate about helping our clients seek the highest amount of compensation available. If you have suffered a repetitive stress injury at work, you have the right to seek financial relief in a workers’ comp claim. Our Atlanta workers’ comp lawyers will talk with you to determine your options, and will aggressively uphold your right to a settlement.
Call our team today at (770) 629-9321 to schedule a free initial case evaluation.