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Are repetitive stress injuries more common among some workers than others?

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

Many Americans suffer from repetitive strain or stress injuries (RSIs). Conditions such as tendinitis or carpal tunnel syndrome are just two of many different diagnoses that fall into the RSI category.

RSIs are a chronic condition that has a gradual onset. Damage to a worker’s tendons, nerves and muscles can accumulate over time as they consistently engage in work-related tasks. That cumulative damage results in more persistent pain, neurological impulses and decreased functionality. RSIs are more common among some workers than others.

What repetitive stress injury symptoms do patients experience?

Some of the first signs of an RSI that workers often notice include:

  • Stiffness
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Weakness
  • Swelling
  • Throbbing

Workers most commonly experience these symptoms in their elbows, neck, wrists, forearms and shoulders.

Workers most apt to suffer from repetitive stress injuries

Some workers are more prone to engage in repetitive activities that can ultimately give way to an RSI diagnosis than others. This includes workers such as:

  • Baristas
  • Manufacturing workers
  • Athletes
  • Bus drivers.
  • Musicians
  • Cashiers
  • Dental hygienists

The above-referenced employees aren’t the ones with the highest RSI rates, though. Clerical and construction workers are. Secretarial workers tend to suffer damage to the muscles, tendons and nerves in their wrists and hands from repeated use of computer keyboards.

Most construction workers’ RSIs result from having to regularly reach for or use tools or maintaining unnatural postures. Temporary, nerve, muscle or tendon damage can become permanent over time.

Repetitive stress injuries can be hard to treat

Doctors most commonly seek to minimize a patient’s RSI symptoms by asking them to employ the rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) protocol. Physicians may also provide their patients with wraps or braces to support their injured body parts. Doctors may recommend physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and even surgery in more pronounced cases.

Receiving the treatment that you need for your RSI may involve some degree of trial and error. You may also require long-term treatment or follow-up to ensure a consistent relief of symptoms. Iowa workers’ compensation coverage can be instrumental in ensuring that you receive the treatment that you need for your work-related RSI.