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Understanding repetitive motion injuries in the workplace

Georgians take on various types of employment. In some work environments, employees are tasked with doing the same or similar activities repetitively. Over time, carrying out these tasks over and over again could cause damage to the body, resulting in a workplace injury.

Repetitive motion injuries occur from repetitive stress. These injuries can be both temporary and permanent, impacting muscles, nerves, ligaments and tendons because a person has done the same motion over and over again.

A common repetitive motion injury is carpal tunnel syndrome. This occurs when the median nerve, which is a nerve that travels from the forearm to the hand via a tunnel in the wrist, becomes compressed from swollen, inflamed ligaments and tendons. Those likely to suffer from this type of injury are those who type frequently or work in assembly lines.

When a worker is diagnosed with a repetitive motion injury, he or she will likely have to go through rehab to better the condition. The goal of rehabilitation is to help a worker return to his or her highest level of function and independence possible. A rehab program could include occupational therapy, exercise programs, conditioning exercises, heat or cold applications, the use of a brace or a splint, pain management techniques and education of ergonomics in the workplace.

A workplace injury, such as a repetitive motion injury, might seem minor. However, it is an injury that could cause much pain and the inability to work. Thus, it is important to consider one's rights and options, especially when it comes to filing for workers' compensation benefits. These benefits could help address medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages and other losses caused by the workplace injury.

Source: HopkinsMedicine.org, "Repetitive Motion Injury," accessed on May 13, 2018

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