For many workers in Massachusetts, job duties look the same from day to day. That is, whether you work in an office, warehouse, hospital or another setting, you probably perform the same tasks over and over. If you are not careful, though, you may develop a repetitive stress injury.
As the name suggests, repetitive stress injuries occur when you frequently move in the same or similar ways. While stretching, good posture and corrective devices may minimize your chances of sustaining a life-altering injury, you may not be able to escape a repetitive stress injury forever. Here are four types of work-related repetitive motion injuries that may affect you:
1. Carpal tunnel syndrome
Common among office workers who use a keyboard or mouse, carpal tunnel syndrome involves compression of a nerve that runs from your wrist into your hand. If you develop this condition, you may experience pain, numbness, loss of motion or loss of muscular control.
2. Lateral epicondylitis
Also called tennis elbow, lateral epicondylitis involves painful swelling of the elbow. If you have this condition, your pain may worsen when you flex your forearm. In extreme cases, surgery is necessary to alleviate discomfort.
Both for cushion and to facilitate movement, you have fluid-filled pockets in your hands, wrists, knees, elbows and other joints. If you overuse your joints by repeating motions throughout the day, these sacs can swell. Doctors call painful inflammation bursitis.
4. Rotator cuff tendonitis
Many construction workers and others rely on their shoulders to perform work-related tasks, including lifting and reaching. Your rotator cuff is a grouping of muscles and tendons around your shoulder. Over time, too many repetitive motions may strain this area. The result may be pain, loss of motion and muscular weakness.
Work-related injuries do not have to involve deep lacerations, burns or broken bones to be severe. On the contrary, if you regularly perform the same motions, you may develop a repetitive stress injury. By understanding the types of injuries that frequently occur, you can better plan for avoiding one altogether.