Repetitive Motion Injuries
Repetitive motion injuries are common in occupations where workers do tasks like pulling an equipment lever on an assembly line or typing for long periods. It is common practice to use the terms “repetitive stress injury” and “repetitive motion injury” interchangeably when referring to occupational injuries caused by repeating the same motions repeatedly. Some subtle distinctions do exist between the two, however. When a body component repeatedly suffers from the same stress, it is called “repetitive stress injury.” For instance, you must spend your daily shift in very high or low-temperature areas. When an employee repeatedly carries out the same action in the course of their job, they increase their risk of developing repetitive motion injuries.
Both “repetitive stress injury” and “repetitive motion injury” are used interchangeably in California workers’ compensation claims to describe medical difficulties an employee has acquired over time owing to the nature of their employment. Although these injuries may not seem as serious as major acute injuries, they may have far-reaching effects on an employee’s life and career and make it difficult for them to continue working in their present capacity or find employment in the future.
Common Types of Repetitive Motion Injuries
Examples of common repetitive motion injuries consist of:
The connective tissue between muscle and bone is a tendon. Tendons facilitate the motion of joints. Inflammation of the tendon results in tendonitis. The shoulder, elbow, and bicep are locations often impacted by tendonitis. A frequent sign of this injury is discomfort at the injury site, aggravated by tendon movement.
Bursitis describes the inflammation of a bursa. Bursae are sacs filled with fluid that cushion the rubbing of soft tissues like muscles and tendons against more rigid tissues like bones and ligaments. They are located throughout the body, from the shoulder to the hip to the elbow to the knee.
Bursitis often occurs in the hip, elbow, or knee. Constant discomfort and a restricted range of motion are symptoms. As a result, joint swelling is a possibility.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
People who work at desks or on assembly lines often get carpal tunnel syndrome. As its name suggests, this affects the median nerve, which runs from the elbow to the hand. The carpal tunnel is the path this nerve takes as it passes through the wrist. The following symptoms may arise when the median nerve is squeezed in the carpal tunnel as a result of inflammation and swelling of the ligaments and tendons:
- Numbness or tingling in the three main fingers; thumb, index, and middle (usually, the fifth finger is not affected because a different nerve connects to it)
- Discomfort in the arms or wrists
- Inflexibility of the hands, which can make gripping tools difficult
- Weakness or loss of hand strength
Other repetitive motion injuries are:
- Raynaud’s disease
- Trigger finger
- Nerve entrapment disorders
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Lower back pain
What to Do if You Suspect a Repetitive Motion Injury
Do not delay seeking medical attention if you suspect you are developing a repetitive motion injury. Waiting will make things worse.
If your employers aren’t aware that your job caused your repetitive motion injury, they can’t try to make adjustments to the workplace that could alleviate your pain. Furthermore, in certain jurisdictions, employees must see a company physician for any illnesses or injuries sustained on the job. However, before you go to a physician, notify your employer.
You might be eligible for workers’ compensation payments if your repetitive motion injury was sustained while working. However, to have your employer submit a claim on time and pay for your medical care, you must tell them. So, notify your employer/manager about the symptoms.
How Repetitive Motion Injuries Can Impact Your Life
How a repetitive motion injury can impair your quality of life will depend on several circumstances. These include the kind of injury, its severity, when you initially started therapy, and more. The following are ways in which a repetitive motion injury could impact someone:
- Preventing one from effortlessly accomplishing things at work
- Rendering it harder to complete essential household activities
- Causing a wounded worker to suffer long-term bodily discomfort
- Preventing someone from partaking in things they formerly considered pleasurable
- Causing financial stress connected to medical expenditures, limited earning ability, etc.
Under California law, you can seek reimbursement for some of these losses via a workers’ compensation claim if you injured yourself due to your work duties. Be advised that establishing your injuries are work-related in these scenarios might be substantially more challenging than demonstrating injuries arose from a one-time workplace accident. This is not intended to discourage you from submitting a workers’ compensation claim if you have suffered repetitive motion injuries. Engage a skilled repetitive motion attorney who can assist you in putting together a good case.
California employment cases can be complex. Your employer will likely fight back. You need someone on your side to protect your rights and get the money you deserve.
Call Setyan Law at (213)-618-3655 for a consultation.