Overuse injuries in the workplace


When people think of workplace injuries, they often imagine the acute harm that follows a serious accident. However, many work-related injuries are the product of months or years of repetitive overuse, resulting in chronic pain, numbness and loss of mobility.

Overuse injuries can affect many employees, from assembly-line workers to retail cashiers. Fortunately, a worker who experiences an overuse injury can receive support through workers’ compensation.

Common overuse injuries

Overuse and repetitive strain injuries encompass various conditions, including tendonitis and bursitis affecting areas such as wrists, hands and shoulders. Back and neck pain also frequently impact workers. Repetitive strain injuries can be painful but also may involve numbness, tingling and weakness. Reduced flexibility and stiffness can occur, too.

Jobs that require workers to repeat the same motion or maintain an abnormal posture for long periods can cause overuse injuries. For example, workers in warehouses and construction sites can develop injuries if their work is unergonomic or lacks variety. In addition, hospitality, retail and janitorial jobs can lead to repetitive strain injuries.

Treatment and compensation

Workers can address overuse injuries by seeking treatment, including anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy. Medical providers may also recommend a period of rest for the injured person. In addition, workplaces need to address the root causes of overuse injuries by improving workflow and ergonomics and giving workers more varied tasks. People with overuse injuries can also seek workers’ compensation to help cover medical costs and lost wages.

Overuse injuries can be just as serious as more acute forms of harm. People who experience on-the-job injuries due to repetitive overuse may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

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