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Is your aching wrist a Repetitive Strain injury?

Whether you’ve been working at the same Iowa company for years or have worked for several employers doing similar types of work, you no doubt have encountered challenges in your career. In some cases, you may be at risk for an on-the-job injury, especially if you’re employed in the construction industry, civil service work, or fishing or agriculture.  

However, if you work in an office, on an assembly line or any number of other jobs that don’t involve climbing great heights, work with explosives, etc., it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t suffer this type of injury in the workplace. In fact, typing or working on an assembly line, as well as any job where you hold the same posture or make a repeated movement for hours on end, places you at risk for Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).  

What are the symptoms of RSI? 

RSI is a broad term that refers to numerous painful or uncomfortable conditions that often involve tendons, muscles or nerves. If you perform manual labor on the job, or your duties require you to repeat the same motion time and time again, you may develop RSI. The following list includes some of the many symptoms commonly associated with this type of injury:  

  • Pain or tenderness in a muscle or joint 
  • Tingling sensation or numbness 
  • Throbbing or pulsing sensation 
  • Weakness, particularly in a limb 
  • Inflammation or swelling 
  • Soreness that comes and goes or never subsides 

If you experience one or more of these or other concerning symptoms, it’s a good idea to seek medical examination. A physician knows what types of questions to ask in conjunction with a physical examination to determine whether you have suffered an RSI.  

What does recovery from an RSI look like? 

There’s no way to predict with 100% accuracy whether you will fully recover from an RSI or will have long-term, perhaps even permanent, consequences. In severe cases, it is possible to suffer permanent disability, which may lead to an inability to return to work.  

Treatment plans for RSI typically include medication for pain relief, as well as physical therapy, steroid injections and, sometimes, surgery. If you think you have suffered an RSI from the type of work you do, you can discuss your specific symptoms with a medical team in order to devise a treatment plan that fits your needs.  

Navigating the workers’ compensation system 

Most employers in Iowa purchase workers’ compensation insurance to provide benefits to employees who suffer injuries on the job. If you have an RSI, you might feel tired, sore and frustrated during recovery, which can make navigating the workers’ comp claims process quite stressful.  

Many workers reach out for additional support, especially with a denied claim or if other legal complications arise when attempting to collect much-needed benefits during recovery from a workplace injury.