You’ve likely heard of someone getting injured at their place of employment, or it may have happened to you. However, did you know that not all work-related injuries result from acute accidents that occur suddenly and unexpectedly? Many injuries that individuals in today’s workforce endure develop over time and result from repetitive trauma, strain, stress, and motion. If you or someone you know are suffering from a work-related repetitive trauma injury, you must take action as many of these injuries tend to be dismissed by employers.
Here at Mottaz & Sisk Personal Injury, we know how debilitating work-related repetitive trauma injuries can be – especially when you’re attempting to continue going about your regular day-to-day routine. Our attorneys are here to review your unique situation, identify workers’ comp benefit eligibility, and ensure you’re compensated for the physical and financial effects repetitive trauma injuries cause.
What Is a Repetitive Trauma Injury?
Many jobs and occupations require repetitive motions, whether you’re a carpenter, machine operator, or customer service representative. Repetitive motions can be wearing on your body and potentially result in a repetitive or work-related injury. In Minnesota, repetitive trauma injuries are referred to as Gillette injuries following Gillette v. Harold, Inc., 21 W.C.D 105, 101 N.W.2d 200 (1960). A Gillette injury is an injury resulting from repeated trauma or aggravation of a pre-existing medical condition.
- High task repetition and inappropriate work/rest cycles
- Forces and forceful exertions
- Positions of the wrist and arm and awkward postures
- Mechanical stress concentrations/contact trauma
- Exposure to cold
The risk of developing upper extremity cumulative trauma disorders and injuries increases with the number of risk factors present. Jobs that combine high force and high repetition pose the most significant risk.
Common Types of Repetitive Trauma Injuries
There are many kinds of repetitive trauma injuries those in today’s workforce can suffer from. Keep in mind; repetitive trauma injuries can happen in any occupation. Below are a few common types of repetitive trauma injuries, along with possible causes.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Whether you’re an office assistant, welder, or carpenter, experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome isn’t uncommon in these occupations. Carpal tunnel syndrome results from repetitive pressure being placed on the median nerve, causing recurring pain, numbness, and tingling in the hands and arms. Those suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome may experience difficulties when moving the hand, fingers, and wrist. The symptoms caused by carpal tunnel syndrome can negatively impact an individual’s work performance and ability to complete regular day-to-day activities.
Many careers require workers to bend down or stoop to complete daily tasks. Suppose you work in an environment where frequent bending or stooping is required. In that case, it’s vital to practice safe lifting and become familiar with your personal limits – especially when dealing with heavy objects. Repetitive bending or stooping can result in back pain or injuries, such as damage to the spinal cord or discs. Muscles and ligaments in your back can also become pulled or torn, resulting in decreased mobility.
At times, tendons in your shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and heels can become inflamed or irritated. Tendons attach your muscles to your bones, which supports movement of all kinds. If a tendon becomes inflamed or irritated, pain and tenderness outside a joint can occur. Familiar terms for tendinitis are tennis elbow, pitcher’s shoulder, and more. Those in career fields that require frequent repetitive motion, like painters or carpenters, may be at risk for tendinitis. Tendinitis can usually be treated with rest, physical therapy, and medications. However, if left unresolved, surgery may be required if a tendon ruptures.
Our shoulders and knees have bursae, which are fluid-filled sacs that provide a cushion in areas where friction may develop between tendons and bone. Workers who are required to kneel or work with their arms most of the time can develop bursitis. Bursitis occurs when a bursa sac becomes inflamed and irritated.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Specific industries may require heavy lifting above the shoulders or reaching above the head. Repetitive movements such as these can result in thoracic outlet syndrome. Thoracic outlet syndrome results in pain and numbness in your shoulders, neck, and fingers. These symptoms occur because blood vessels and nerves between your collarbone and first rib have become compressed because of repetitive heavy lifting.
Do you work in a noisy environment as a construction worker or welder? Repeated loud noises without adequate hearing protection can result in hearing impairments. The most common hearing loss type is sensorineural, which happens because of damaged inner ear nerves and hair cells. Sensorineural hearing loss impacts the pathways from your inner ear to your brain.
Treatment for Repetitive Stress Injuries
Depending on how severe your repetitive stress injury is, treatment plans can vary. Many who suffer from repetitive stress injuries experience frequent pain and require medical treatment and rehabilitation for relief. Often, repetitive stress injuries cause suffering individuals to take time off from work, resulting in decreased pay for periods of time. Treatment options will vary depending on the injury site and severity but can include the following:
- Pain management treatment
- Brace or splint use
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications
- Changes in activity
- Occupational therapy
Navigating Workers’ Comp Claims
You must discuss your job duties with your doctor if you believe you have a work-related injury. You must also notify your employer of your injury as soon as possible, as failing to notify your employer may cause you to lose out on workers’ comp benefits. Workers’ compensation insurance isn’t available only to those who are injured in acute accidents. Those who suffer from repetitive stress, harm, and occupational disease because of job-related activities are also eligible. We encourage you to call Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law, so you can receive necessary guidance in protecting your right to workers’ comp benefits.
Call a Mottaz & Sisk Repetitive Trauma Injury Attorney Today
Does your job require you to complete repetitive tasks? If so, you may be experiencing the effects of a repetitive trauma injury. The attorneys at Mottaz & Sisk Personal Injury are aware of how debilitating and life-changing these injuries can be, and we’re here to provide you with reliable legal guidance so you can get the compensation you deserve. Call Mottaz & Sisk Personal Injury today or complete our online form, so we can assist you in improving your quality of life and well-being.