Repetitive stress injuries (RSI) are becoming increasingly common in certain industries. Approximately 60 percent of work-related injuries involve RSI, also known as occupational overuse syndrome or WEAR and TEAR. While the majority of RSI injuries affect the hands, wrists, fingers, and elbows, our firm often has clients with necks, backs, and shoulder injuries caused by repetitive stress. Any part of the body is susceptible, depending upon the type of work that is done.
Employees in jobs that require repetitive movements or postures over the course of several hours at a time are generally most affected. Many employees are unaware that workers’ compensation benefits may cover RSI and related injuries.
Causes of RSI
Computers have become increasingly vital to many of our daily work routines. Office workers are typically the most vulnerable to RSI when they spend long periods of time using computer keyboards. From administrative assistants to journalists, occupations that involve constant typing can strain muscles, tendons, and joints of the hands and wrists. Grocery checkers who continuously scan bar codes are also highly vulnerable to RSI. The scanning and lifting motion repeated throughout a shift may affect the neck, back, and shoulders. Jobs requiring static posture, such as standing, sitting, or even lying in an awkward position for a prolonged period of time have also been known to cause injuries. Other examples of static posture employment include the following.
● Working on an assembly line
● Using a jackhammer
● Playing a musical instrument
● Pipe setting
● Meat packing
Proper ergonomics – the study of workplace design for safety and efficiency – can help significantly in preventing injuries related to repetitive movements and static posture.
Types of RSI
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most commonly known RSI. When the wrist is continuously held in an awkward position, the tendons and ligaments that run through the carpal tunnel of the wrist and up through the fingers may become swollen and irritated. This can cause pain and numbness in the entire area when the swelling compresses the nerves. Other common RSIs include:
● Tendonitis – occurs when an overworked tendon tears; tendons connect muscle tissue to bones.
● Tenosynovitis – occurs when the sheath that covers and protects the tendon becomes irritated.
● Radiculopathy – the painful compression of fluid-filled discs that cushion the vertebrae of the spine.
● Disc Degeneration – the degeneration of at least one of the intervertebral discs of the spinal column
Petro Cohen, P.C. – New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, may be considered minor by people who are unfamiliar with the conditions. However, these injuries can become excessively painful and debilitating, resulting in increasing medical expenses and lost wages.
Many employees are unaware of the benefits available to them through workers’ compensation coverage. If you are suffering from a work-related injury or medical condition, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. At Petro Cohen, P.C., our legal team will thoroughly assess your case and remain by your side throughout the entire legal process. Founder Frank A. Petro, Esq. has dedicated over 30 years to workers’ compensation cases, and has been certified by the Supreme Court with the highest workers’ compensation specialty certification available. Contact Petro Cohen, P.C. for a free consultation about your case.