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Understanding repetitive strain injuries

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2024 | Workplace Accidents |

Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) can be sneaky. They creep up over time, often starting with a minor ache that worsens with continued activity. These injuries affect the muscles, tendons and nerves, commonly in the hands, wrists, arms, shoulder and neck. While RSIs are traditionally associated with office jobs involving extensive computer use, they also plague people in manual labor professions.

What causes RSIs?

Overuse is the culprit behind RSIs. Constant typing, gripping tools or repeatedly performing the same motions can inflame and damage tissues. The pain and discomfort associated with RSIs can significantly impact daily life and work performance. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain, aching or stiffness in the affected area
  • Numbness, tingling or burning sensations
  • Weakness or loss of grip strength
  • Difficulty performing daily tasks

Ignoring these warning signs can possibly lead to chronic pain and disability.

Are RSIs preventable?

Fortunately, RSIs are preventable. Take frequent breaks to stretch and move your body. If you’re working in an office, ensure proper ergonomics at your workspace, with a comfortable chair, good posture and a keyboard positioned to minimize strain.

For those whose professions involve physical labor, avoid overexertion and mindfully protect your back while lifting, carrying or bending. Use movable tools or ask another worker to help you lift items over 50 pounds. For those working with heavy-duty handheld equipment such as in construction, choose the tools that properly fit your hand size and remember to use your tools the right way. Listen to your body – if you feel pain, stop the activity and take a break.

If you’re already experiencing symptoms of an RSI, it’s crucial to address them promptly. Early intervention can help prevent the injury from worsening. In Texas, workers’ compensation may provide financial assistance for medical bills and lost wages if you suffer a work-related RSI. To qualify, you must report the injury to your employer within 30 days of its occurrence. A doctor chosen by the workers’ compensation provider will examine you to verify if your RSI is due to your nature of work.

Preventing RSIs is always better than treating them. Being proactive about your work environment can keep you healthy and productive. If you develop an RSI from repetitive movement from work, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention and explore your options for compensation.