Overexertion, repetitive stress and workers’ compensation

Did you know that overexertion is the primary cause of workplace injuries? Perhaps you work on a computer all day. Clicking that mouse every few seconds may cause a repetitive stress injury, one form of overexertion that could lead to a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

Workplace injuries are costly

Employers constantly try to make the workplace safer for their employees. However, in 2018, the cost of workplace injuries increased by almost 3 percent over 2017, and companies ended up paying $58 billion for the year. Overexertion, the leading cause of injuries in the workplace, represents more than one-fifth of all injuries. Falls are also growing as a cause, along with activities such as pushing, pulling, bending, reaching and even walking. Holding down 10th place on the list of top 10 reasons for workplace injury is repetitive motion.

Repetitive stress injuries

Repeated motions, meaning the uninterrupted repetition of a particular activity, can result in repetitive stress injuries. These conditions affect your soft tissues: muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves. In addition to repeated motions, repetitive stress injuries can develop from performing an awkward or unnatural motion, such as twisting your arm. Habitually engaging in some sort of incorrect posture can also cause this kind of injury. Hands, fingers, thumbs and wrists often bear the brunt of a repetitive stress injury, but lifting, reaching or carrying could affect shoulders or elbows.

What to look for

Here is a short list of repetitive stress injuries:

  • Bursitis
  • Tendinitis
  • Epicondylitis, or tennis elbow
  • Trigger finger
  • Ganglion cyst
  • Carpel tunnel syndrome

A medical evaluation

If you are around computers a lot, you may have noticed a coworker who wears a wrist brace. Chances are, he or she has carpel tunnel syndrome. The good news is that many repetitive stress injuries like this one will heal. If you suffer from overexertion and have developed discomfort or pain from a repetitive motion injury, see a doctor promptly. Once you have a medical report that ties your injury to your job, look into your legal options; find out if you qualify to file a claim for worker’s compensation benefits.

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