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Dealing with a repetitive stress injury

You could be a construction worker, nurse or farmer. If your job involves physical activity, there’s chance a repetitive stress injury could occur.

Repetitive stress injuries refer to pain caused by repetitive movements. It usually affects the upper part of your body, such as wrists, hands, forearms, shoulders and neck. Pain and inflammation can happen when you continuously move a certain way.

For example, if you work at an office, you spend a good chunk of the day typing. This action can put strain on your fingers, wrists and forearms. Without proper consultation, you could suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. Construction workers are also especially vulnerable to repetitive injuries, since their day-to-day job requires consistent movements, such as using power tools.


Repetitive stress injuries develop gradually. Symptoms, whether mild or severe, can surface in days, weeks or months. At the start, you might only notice a difference when you’re doing the task. There are warning signs to be aware of, which include:

  • Tingling or numbness
  • Stiffness and soreness
  • Weakness
  • Feelings of fatigue
  • Cramping
  • Popping or clicking sensation


State and federal laws require your employer to maintain a safe work environment. Modifications and adjustments may be needed to avoid injury. It’s important to communicate with your employer if you start feeling pain caused by your daily work routine. Recovery could start with small changes, such as:

  • Improving posture
  • Modifying the task
  • Taking more breaks
  • Anti-inflammatory pain killers
  • Icing
  • Elevation
  • Massage
  • Yoga

If these changes and additions don’t yield a solution, it could be time for a therapy program. This health program could involve exercises, stretching and tips for preventing further injury.

Any type of workplace injury can affect you in negative ways. You may have to miss some days at work, attend expensive therapy sessions and make other lifestyle adjustments. It’s important you receive the medical attention you need, as well as superb legal counsel when dealing with your employer and their insurance carrier.

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