When you suffer an injury that causes you to lose time from work, it doesn’t have to be something as dramatic as losing a finger or breaking an ankle. A variety of businesses and industries call Mississippi home, and no matter what your job is or what you do for a living, it’s simply an unfortunate fact that you might get hurt on the job.
One of the most common workers’ compensation claims each year are repetitive stress injuries (RSIs). In fact, Insurance Journal lists RSIs as costing employers $1.8 billion per year. Are you at risk for an RSI? You may be, if you perform the same task repeatedly, or sit, stand, or crouch in the same position for long periods.
What kind of work leads to an RSI?
Although you mostly hear about repetitive stress injuries from office work, they can come from just about any industry. RSIs can involve injuries to your upper extremities, typically from repetitive keyboard tasks, including your hands, wrists, and elbows. Other types of tasks that can lead to RSIs include assembly line work, grocery store bar code scanning, landscaping, painting, carpentry, sewing, and many, many more.
The most common kind of repetitive stress injury is carpal tunnel syndrome. Its symptoms include the following:
- Numbness or tingling in the fingers, thumb, and palm of the hand
- Wrist pain
- Weakened grip
However, RSIs can manifest as other injuries, including:
- Myofascial damage
- Radial tunnel syndrome
- Lower back injuries
- Rotator cuff injuries
- ACL or MCL knee injuries
- Epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
- Dystonia (writer’s cramp)
- Trigger finger
Can I avoid a repetitive stress injury?
Some types of RSIs are simply unavoidable due to the nature of the job. However, by modifying your technique, taking proper breaks, or using the correct equipment, you may be able to prevent developing an RSI or prevent an existing one from worsening. If you’re at risk for developing a repetitive stress injury, some safety experts recommend the following tips:
- Stretch or warm up your muscles and body before performing prolonged or repetitive tasks.
- Take a short break every 20 to 30 minutes to stretch and move around.
- If you feel pain in any part of your body while working, stop or change positions.
- When typing or otherwise using your hands, your wrists should always be in a neutral position to avoid strain.
- When performing heavy physical or repetitive tasks, intersperse them with lighter and diverse tasks so you’re not in one position or lifting heavy objects for too long at a time.
- Try to avoid bending your neck in unnatural positions for long periods of time.
- Overall, avoid staying in the same position for too long – whether you’re a programmer or a repair person, you need to get up and move around regularly.
If you’re injured on the job, the workers’ compensation lawyers at Merkel & Cocke can help protect your rights. We’ll ensure you receive the workers’ comp you deserve, and you can count on us to file your paperwork on time and correctly. Let us answer all your questions. Our experienced attorneys have offices in Jackson, Oxford and Clarksdale. Please call us today at 662-799-1633 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.