Cumulative trauma injuries can negatively impact workers who are trying to do their best. Often, these hardworking people will try to continue doing their job duties despite the discomfort they are feeling. These injuries usually start off as minor irritations that will progressively get worse over time.
Employees will sometimes try to ignore the symptoms that point to a cumulative trauma injury. At first, they may take over-the-counter medications and other methods to try to relieve the pain. While this might work at first, the pain and other symptoms will get worse as the damage to the impacted areas becomes greater.
What causes a cumulative trauma injury?
A cumulative trauma injury, which is sometimes known as a repetitive motion injury, is caused by wear and tear on the soft tissues in the body. Repetitious motions at work, such as the movement of the wrist by cashiers scanning items, are often the cause. In many cases, workers who use proper ergonomics might be able to minimize the pain and damage.
Joints are the areas that are affected by this type of injury. The wrists, shoulders and knees are common joints that suffer damage. It is also possible for the hips, lower back and neck to become injured. The nerves, tendons and muscles in these parts of the body are under a lot of strain when workers do some job duties. This constant strain can lead to these problems.
What are the signs of repetitive motion injury?
The primary sign of a repetitive motion injury is pain. This might be a dull ache but if the nerves are involved, you might also feel shooting pains. Stiffness and loss of range of motion can also occur. Some injuries can lead to weakness that makes it hard to use the impacted limb. For example, a person who has carpal tunnel syndrome might have trouble gripping items to pick them up.
Workers shouldn't ignore these symptoms. Even if they get better with rest, they should still be addressed because they can continue to worsen. In many cases, physical therapy and modifications at work, along with medications, can address these injuries if they are found early. As they become more advanced, there is a chance that surgery may need to come into the picture.
Employees who suffer these injuries should seek benefits from workers' compensation. This will pay for the medical care for the injury. If the worker has to take time off, benefits for missed wages might also be possible.