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Repetitive trauma is a serious risk to workers in any field

Sitting at your desk, you probably never thought that you'd have to worry about developing work-related injuries. You come to work, have a safe work environment, and then you go home.

The reality of a desk job is that there are ways you can end up with injuries. Repetition of different movements, poor ergonomics and other issues can lead to your having back, neck, spinal or other injuries that you need to care for. Fortunately, most of these injuries should be covered immediately by workers' compensation.

Are repetitive trauma injuries compensable?

Normally, yes. They're treated as accidental injuries and are normally covered by workers' compensation. You'll have to establish the date of your injury and provide notice that you want to make a claim within the time limits set by the state Workers' Compensation Act.

To determine the date of your injury, you should write down the date you realized you got hurt and indicate the last day you spent on the job after discovering the injury.

What kinds of repetitive trauma injuries are common among office workers?

Some of the most common injuries include disorders of the neck, hands and arms. Why? It's all about posture and repeated motions. For example, if you type every day for eight hours a day, it's possible that you could develop tendinitis or carpal tunnel, even if you're using ergonomic seating and keyboards. The length of time you work along with the repetition of your work leads to injuries over time.

Workers' compensation departments are familiar with repetitive strain injuries and others that occur in an office or indoor workplace. Carpal tunnel, for instance, causes tingling and numbness in the fingers. A worker with this condition may lose his or her strength in the affected hand. Numbness and pain can even occur at night because of this condition. A nerve in the arm that passes through the wrist becomes compressed, leading to pain, numbness and the need for recovery. Sometimes, patients need surgery, while others may recover with adjustments to their workflow.

Similarly, those with developing tendinitis may need to go through rehabilitation to stop it from progressing into a condition such as carpal tunnel.

No matter what kind of symptoms you have, if you can link them to your work, there's a reason to consider filing a claim for workers' compensation. Good ergonomics and some rehabilitation could help relieve any pain you're in.

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