You go to pick up your coffee cup, and when you try to grip the handle, a searing pain shoots through your wrist, causing you to have to put the cup down so quickly that you almost spill it. Perhaps, moments like this are occurring more often these days. Maybe you have seen a doctor about your symptoms and he or she has diagnosed you with repetitive strain injuries (RSI).
If you have not made an appointment with a doctor yet, you might want to consider doing so, especially if your recurring pain is beginning to impede your ability to function at home or at work. Do you work as a typist or on an assembly line? Do you stand in the same position for hours on end, every day? Many Pennsylvania workers and others wind up having to take pain medication to manage their conditions when they develop RSI.
What are the symptoms?
There are numerous ways that RSI can present itself. The following list includes basic information about this condition, as well as some of the most common types of symptoms that should cause you concern, especially if you think the pain you are feeling might be related to the work that you do:
- RSI typically has to do with injuries involving muscles, nerves or tendons.
- Inflammation and swelling are often present at the site of an RSI.
- As mentioned earlier about the coffee cup, RSI-related pain can be sharp and searing. Other times, you might feel more of a throbbing pain or tingling sensation.
- If a part of your body keeps going numb, it is definitely cause for concern, especially if it is a part of your body that you regularly use to carry out your workplace duties.
- Soreness is often associated with repetitive strain injuries. If you touch a specific area of your body and it hurts or feels like you have a bruise, but you don’t, you might want to mention it to your doctor.
- Working in cold temperatures, using machines that vibrate, carrying heavy loads or repeatedly using a particular set of muscles on the job are all issues often connected to RSI.
A correct medical diagnosis, pain medication and physical therapy can all help you manage RSI. However, some injuries are so severe that workers can no longer do their jobs. The problem with this type of condition is that it tends to worsen over time.
Can you prevent RSI?
The answer to this question is, “Sometimes.” If you take regular breaks, change positions and rest your body, it might reduce your risk for contracting a repetitive strain injury. Bursitis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and other RSI conditions typically require specialized care, and may prompt a need for wearing a brace, using muscle relief ointments and other treatments, not only to be able to continue to work but simply to make the pain more bearable.
It is critical that you inform your employer if you are suffering RSI symptoms, and especially if your doctor has medically diagnosed this condition. It is also helpful to speak to someone well-versed in workers’ compensation and disability benefits issues.