Are repetitive motion injuries covered by workers’ compensation?

Are repetitive motion injuries covered by workers’ compensation?

You are probably familiar with workers’ compensation and how it applies to accidents and injuries that happen at work. However, accidents are not the only cause of work-related ailments. 

Repetitive motion injuries are often overlooked. Rather than happening suddenly, like an accident, these injuries start small and become worse over time. But they can be just as traumatic as accidental injuries. Proper medical treatment is essential. If you believe you have a repetitive motion injury, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation

What are repetitive motion injuries? 

Repetitive motion injuries can happen when your job duties require you to perform the same motion over and over. Using a computer keyboard may irritate your wrists. If you frequently grip the same tool or use machinery that vibrates, you can end up with stiffness along your hand, wrist, arm or shoulder. Bending, twisting or lifting can lead to backaches or spinal injuries. Moving from side to side or squatting may result in hip, knee or ankle issues. The overstressed area may hurt and develop a limited range of motion. 

How are they treated? 

Because repetitive use trauma occurs in joints, your first step will likely be immobilizing the joint. This may involve braces or splints. Naturally, you will also need to stop doing the motion that caused the injury in the first place. This may involve redesigning your workstation or changing job duties. Your doctor can help you control pain and inflammation with oral medications or topical creams. In some cases, injections may help. Your rehabilitation program may also include continued physical therapy. 

What benefits might I receive? 

Your employer’s workers’ compensation should cover your treatment expenses. If you need to take time off work for medical treatments, you may also receive compensation for lost wages. You have to do your part, which means seeking medical care and notifying your employer of your ailment. Keep thorough records of your injuries and related expenses. Good documentation can help you receive the compensation you deserve.