If you’ve been employed at the same company or within the same North Carolina industry for several years or more, you might perform the same tasks over and over again, every day. This may be especially true if you work in a factory, a warehouse, on a train or in an office. While your job might not be inherently dangerous, you’re still at risk for certain adverse health conditions, such as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).
RSI occurs when muscles, tendons or nerves in your body are overused. If you have a job where you must make the same motions or hold the same posture for hours on end, each and every day, it can take a toll on certain parts of the body, perhaps without you realizing it at first. RSI can develop into a chronic pain condition that impedes your ability to do your job.
Symptoms that suggest you might have an RSI
The way your body presents symptoms of RSI might be different from someone else you know who has the same condition. However, the following list shows symptoms that often come and go or remain present when a worker has developed an RSI:
- Inflammation or swelling near the site of the injury
- Sore joints, especially wrists, elbows or knees
- Pain or discomfort in the neck, shoulders or back
- Stiffness or numbness in any part of the body
- Tingling or throbbing
- Muscle weakness
- Cramping that comes and goes
You might think that you can try to ignore your pain and continue working every day. However, if RSI is untreated, it typically gets worse and may ultimately cause you to be unable to work at all.
Habits that help prevent RSI
If you’re standing at a cash register all day, moving products across a scanner or sitting at a desk, typing or lifting boxes on or off a loading dock, etc., you’re at great risk for RSI. Keep these helpful ideas in mind to help prevent this condition:
- Take breaks throughout your workday.
- Always do stretching exercises during and after work.
- Practice deep breathing exercises, multiple times throughout the day.
- Try to change positions and posture during your work shift.
It’s possible to practice these habits and still contract an RSI. Seeking medical attention is always a top priority; however, you’ll also want to make sure you report your condition to your employer, especially if your injury is preventing you from returning to the workplace. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance may cover your medical expenses and provide other benefits to help you navigate recovery from a workplace injury.