When people think of workers’ compensation claims, they may think that serious “accidents” always precede claims, but that is NOT the case. In a significant number of workers’ comp cases, the worker was not in an accident at all. Instead, they suffered from a “repetitive motion injury.”
What is a repetitive motion or stress injury? According to John Hopkins Medicine, “Repetitive motion injuries, also called repetitive stress injuries, are temporary or permanent injuries to muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons caused by doing the same motion over and over again.”
ABOUT CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
One of the most common repetitive motion injuries is carpal tunnel syndrome, which affects the median nerve that travels down the arm to the hand through a small tunnel inside the wrist. When the median nerve is compressed by inflamed ligaments and tendons, it can cause a painful, crippling condition where the individual cannot grip anything, or write with the affected hand.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can make it impossible to perform everyday tasks, like brushing one’s teeth, using a stick shift, using a can opener, cooking dinner, typing on a keyboard, buttoning up a shirt, zipping up a pair of boots, changing a baby’s diaper, etc. “It [carpal tunnel syndrome] is often seen with people who use computer keyboards or work on assembly lines,” says John Hopkins Medicine.
Some of the treatments for repetitive motion injuries:
- Pain management, such as anti-inflammatory medication;
- Occupational therapy;
- Special exercises to stretch and strengthen the injured area, and prevent additional injuries;
- A brace or a splint that immobilizes the injured area;
- Applying cold or heat to the affected area;
- Educating the patient on proper ergonomics while they’re performing their jobs. Ergonomics refers to the science behind finding the correct match between the human body, work-related tools and tasks; and
- In the worst cases, surgery.
If you are suffering from a repetitive motion injury as a result of your job, there is a strong possibility that you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. To learn more, contact our firm for a free case evaluation with a New York workers’ compensation lawyer!