You might associate workers’ compensation cases with dangerous and life-threatening injuries like severe cuts and lacerations, spinal injuries or even brain injuries. However, a repetitive stress injury can be just as painful and debilitating and may also keep you from doing your job.

Repetitive stress injuries — also known as musculoskeletal disorders — stem from performing the same work task over and over again. Over time, these actions can take a serious toll on your muscles, tendons and nerves. They can cause severe hand, wrist, shoulder, neck and back pain.

How can a repetitive stress injury impact my life?

You might think the cure to some pain in your joints or muscles is to ice the area and move on with your life. However, the pain you’re feeling could persist if it’s a repetitive stress injury. If you don’t take preventative measures or get the help you need, your injury could begin to affect your life in several ways:

  • Physical pain: You may start to experience stiffness or swelling that accompanies sharp or sore pain. Long-lasting, chronic pain like this can also make it difficult to do things outside your work, such as picking up a pen, typing at a computer, playing with your kids or even buttoning up a shirt. It may also affect your ability to sleep at night.
  • Financial strain: A repetitive stress injury can also make it harder — and sometimes even impossible — for you do continue doing your job. Whether you work with power tools at a construction site or spend long hours performing the same task on a production line, a repetitive stress injury can put you out of the job. The pain may even last long enough that you begin to lose wages, not to mention you may have expensive medical bills to pay for.

How can I help prevent repetitive stress injuries?

One of the most important things you can do after experiencing pain at your job is to seek medical attention. You want to make sure that you get the medication or therapy you need to help the pain subside.

You should also bring your injury to the attention of your boss, manager or supervisor. They may be able to adjust your work tasks so that you can continue working without the risk of worsening your injury. Taking consistent breaks from your work and stretching any tight or sore muscles and joints can also help take the pressure off of your body.

Don’t hesitate to seek further help

In the event that your injury does require you to seek extensive and costly medical treatment, it may be time to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. By doing so, you can receive the benefits you need to support yourself after your injury puts you out of the job.