Repetitive stress injuries (RSI) are among the most common workplace injuries. These occur from repeating the same motion repeatedly, whether typing on a keyboard, scanning items at a cash register, or performing another similar action every day for hours.
Every RSI is different. As with any workplace injury, you more than likely will be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits while you recover. However, your workers’ compensation claim may be challenging to prove because RSIs heal differently. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help strengthen your claim.
Treating an RSI
Treating an RSI depends on where the injury occurred and the severity. Although there is no universal treatment, the earlier the RSI is diagnosed, the better the outcome. A doctor may recommend the following to treat you:
- Reducing your workload seems to be the cause of your RSI symptoms. The doctor’s recommendation may include stopping work altogether, reducing work times, or suggesting performing another task.
- A doctor may recommend an ergonomic solution, such as a better back support chair or a wrist brace.
- A doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory medications, painkillers, or muscle relaxers.
- Some doctors may recommend procedures like electrical nerve stimulation, ultrasound therapy, or infrared wave treatment.
- Steroid injections combined with an anesthetic.
- Surgery to repair the tears, depending on severity.
With the right modifications to your work, rest, diagnosis, and treatment, people who have suffered an RSI generally take three to six months to recover fully. However, it is not out of the ordinary that people develop symptoms that last much longer than that, which may require a complete career change.
Common RSI Symptoms
The injury is tiny, microscopic tears that develop in your muscles or tendons and worsen over time. The most affected areas include the hands, arms, wrists, or feet, but it can occur in most overused body parts.
The common symptoms of RSIs include:
- Tingling or numbness
- Dull pain or throbbing pain
- Loss of strength
- Loss of range of motion
- Loss of flexibility
Common RSIs include carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, and tendinitis. You may not notice you suffered an RSI until the symptoms worsen. This is because you may only experience the symptom when you perform that repetitive motion that injured you in the first place.
How to Prove an RSI in a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you suffered an RSI at work. Because RSIs occur over time due to a repeated motion, you likely would have to prove one of the following:
- Your RSI injury was caused by you performing your work duties.
- Your work duties aggravated a preexisting injury.
Documentation of your injury is essential to proving your workers’ compensation claim and receiving the most benefits you can. Once you believe you are suffering from an RSI, you should do the following:
- Begin documenting your symptoms and the work-related tasks you are performing that you believe caused your injury.
- Document when you began feeling the symptoms of your RSI and how many hours per day you spent performing the task that caused your injury.
- Consult with a doctor about your injury, how long you have been experiencing your pain, and what you are doing at work. A doctor’s diagnosis and a written statement are essential to your claim.
- Discuss with your employer your injury and provide them with your medical documents proving your claim. You can then file your workers’ compensation claim with them, and they will then contact their insurance company.
Workers’ compensation benefits last for as long as you are injured or when your doctor recommends you return to work. Maintaining doctor’s appointments and documentation can help strengthen your claim and allow you to receive benefits.
West Chester Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Help Injured Workers Suffering From RSIs
An RSI may complicate your workers’ compensation claim, leaving you without the benefits you need to cover your expenses. If you have suffered an injury at work and need help, speak with our West Chester workers’ compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC. Call us at 610-594-1600 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Exton, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.