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Repetitive-strain injuries can end your career: Get help

Repetitive-strain injuries are a real problem for workers across the United States. Whether you're in an office or working in the field, there is a risk of developing these injuries.

Repetitive-strain injuries happen when you perform the same movement over and over again due to the constraints of your job. By repeating a movement, your body slowly breaks down over time. Without the appropriate amount of time to rest, this can lead to serious injuries.

What are some examples of repetitive-strain injuries?

A good example of a repetitive-strain injury is a shoulder injury from painting. For instance, if you are working as a painter and must work eight hours a day for five days each week, you do get time to rest. However, you're still making long, repetitive motions with your arms and shoulders. This can lead to damage to the rotator cuff due to overuse. It's particularly common to see this when manual methods are used instead of semi-automatic or automatic techniques.

Another common repetitive-strain injury is carpal tunnel. This happens when the median nerve running from the hand to the arm is compressed in the wrist due to swelling. With rest and proper ergonomics, early stage carpal tunnel is usually treatable. However, progressed forms can be serious enough to require surgery.

What should you do if you think you're developing an injury?

Repetitive-strain injuries develop over time. As a result, you may notice some problems with the area of your body before it worsens to the point of affecting your everyday life.

At the first sign of trouble, it is a good idea to reach out to your employer and discuss seeking medical treatment. Workers' compensation typically covers expenses related to repetitive-strain injuries and any medical treatment needed.

If your employer does not want you to seek medical treatment through workers' compensation, you have the option of going to your own provider. You can then have the provider diagnose the condition. If your provider believes it's work-realated, you can ask to submit a claim for workers' compensation a second time.

Workers' compensation isn't just for disabling injuries or emergency situations. Repetitive-strain injuries can bring your work career to an end if they aren't treated, and they should be taken seriously. With early treatment, such as rest and physical therapy, many repetitive-strain injuries can be recovered from, so that you can get back to your job and continue working in the future.

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