How Serious are Repetitive Stress Injuries?

When most people think of work injuries, they think of incidents like sprains or strains, broken or dislocated bones, lacerations, or even traumatic brain injuries. However, repetitive stress injuries can also affect workers, and these types of injuries can have long-lasting effects. Here, we want to define repetitive stress injuries and talk about how serious they are when it comes to a worker’s ability to enjoy their day-to-day activities and their ability to continue going to work.

Repetitive Stress Injuries

What are Repetitive Stress Injuries?

A repetitive stress injury (RSI) is also commonly referred to as a “repetitive trauma injury” or a “repetitive motion injury.”

No matter what we call these injuries, we need to understand that they can lead to major setbacks for those who experience them. These types of injuries do not receive as much attention as acute and traumatic injuries because their symptoms typically have longer onset periods, sometimes months or years. Data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the term repetitive stress injury is used to cover a variety of painful conditions that individuals can sustain as a result of their workplace.

Typically, repetitive motion injuries occur when employees have to perform the same tasks over and over again for long periods of time. One of the most well-known repetitive stress injuries is called carpal tunnel syndrome, which can affect an individual’s wrists and hands. However, there are a variety of other types of repetitive stress injuries that can negatively impact the workforce, including bursitis, stress fractures, shin splints, tendonitis, and more.

How do Repetitive Stress Injuries Affect Individuals?

Repetitive stress injuries have to be taken seriously because they can significantly affect an individual’s ability to work or even enjoy their daily activities. Repetitive stress injuries are one of the leading causes of days away from work, according to the BLS. Not only does this negatively impact the workforce, but it can impact an individual’s ability to earn an income.

There are a range of symptoms that can afflict victims of repetitive stress injuries, including the following:

  • Numbness, pain, and tingling in the affected area
  • Soreness or stiffness in the neck, back, or other joints
  • Clicking or popping sensations around the joint
  • Feeling fatigue or weakness in the arms, hands, or legs

If a repetitive stress injury is not treated correctly, the injury can become more severe and completely prevent a person from performing work-related or everyday tasks. For example, something as simple as lifting a coffee mug could be too painful for a person with a repetitive stress injury. Walking inside the grocery store could end up being too excruciating for a person with an untreated RSI.

Anyone who thinks they have sustained a repetitive stress injury as a result of work-related activities needs to seek medical care as soon as possible. Those who are diagnosed with a repetitive stress injury should be able to recover workers’ compensation for their injury. This should include coverage of the medical bills, a significant portion of any lost wages, and even possible disability benefits depending on the severity of the injury. Unfortunately, insurance carriers and employers often push back against paying compensation for these injuries, usually because it is harder to pinpoint the workplace cause of the injury. However, a skilled work injury lawyer in Portland can step in and help determine the origin of these injuries.