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Repetitive Stress Injury

Delaware Repetitive Stress Injury Lawyers

Everyone gets worn down once in awhile, but sometimes the work you do can cause permanent damage. If the nature of your job has caused an injury over time, then make sure to speak with Wilmington, Delaware, lawyer who understands repetitive stress injuries and workers’ compensation claims.

The Newark Delaware workers compensation attorneys at Beverly L. Bove Attorney at Law, will help you obtain maximum compensation for your workers’ compensation claim. We are dedicated to injury law, specifically, and have achieved notable settlements and verdicts throughout New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County, Delaware. We also serve injury victims in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Reach us online or by telephone at 302-777-3500 to schedule a free initial consultation and get the personal attention you deserve.

According to the term repetitive stress injury (RSI), also referred to as repetitive strain injury, is used to describe a range of painful conditions of the muscles, tendons and other soft tissues. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the most common and is the most well known. It is mainly caused by repetitive use of part of the body. It is usually related to a task or occupation but leisure activities can also be a cause. Unlike a normal strain following a sudden injury, symptoms of RSI can persist well beyond the time it would take symptoms of a normal strain to ease.

You may also see the term overuse injury. This is a general name for conditions in which the muscles, tendons or soft tissues are used excessively but unlike RSI do not necessarily involve repetition of the same movement.

The main cause is frequent and repetitive movements of a part of the body – for example, typing, using a computer mouse a lot, etc. Other factors may contribute, such as poor posture whilst doing the movement, using excessive force whilst doing the movement and not having enough breaks from the task.

However, the precise reason why RSI develops is not clear. In many cases there is no swelling or inflammation and there are no other obvious problems which develop in the muscles or tendons, and yet symptoms develop. Also, it is not clear why some people develop RSI and not others who do the same repetitive tasks.

Research suggests that psychosocial workplace factors (which usually means stress at work) can also contribute to RSI. It may be that stress increases muscle tension and/or affects how the body feels pain in general.

Symptoms depend on what the repetitive actions are. In most cases the symptoms develop in an arm, wrist or hand, as these parts of the body most commonly do repetitive tasks. In recent years it is computer operators, typists, musicians and people doing repetitive tasks in factories who most commonly develop RSI. People who do a lot of DIY around the house may develop RSI, or people who do certain sports which involve repetitive movements.

Symptoms in the impacted body part may include:

  • Pain
  • Tightness
  • Dull ache
  • Throbbing
  • Numbness
  • Tingling

The symptoms tend to develop gradually. At first the symptoms may only occur whilst you do the repetitive task and ease off when you rest. In time the symptoms can be present all the time but tend to be made worse by doing the repetitive task. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Types Of RSI

Some people divide RSI into two main categories: type 1 RSI and type 2 RSI:

Type 1 RSI

This includes well-defined syndromes such as:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (pain and squashing (compression) of a nerve in the wrist).
  • Tendinopathy (inflammation of a tendon).
  • Tenosynovitis (inflammation of a tendon sheath).

These conditions may be due to, or be made worse by, repetitive tasks. However, these syndromes are also common in people who have not done repetitive tasks. These syndromes may have other symptoms such as swelling, inflammation, nerve compression problems, etc.

Type 2 RSI

This is where symptoms do not fit into a well-defined syndrome. Also, there are no objective or measurable signs such as inflammation, swelling or problems with nerve function. It is sometimes called diffuse RSI or nonspecific pain syndrome.

There is no test that a doctor can do to diagnose RSI. This is where difficulties may arise. Pains in the areas affected by RSI are common and can be due to various causes.

If you develop a well-defined condition such as carpal tunnel syndrome, frozen shoulder, tendinopathy, etc, it may or may not be related to repetitive tasks.

Blood tests are sometimes done to rule out inflammatory joint disease. X-rays, scans or nerve conduction tests may be needed if surgical treatment of a type 1 condition is being considered. Otherwise, the diagnosis is usually made on the basis that the condition developed only following a repetitive task and is relieved or partially relieved by rest from that task.

See your doctor as soon as you feel that a problem may be due to RSI. It is thought that the earlier the problem is recognized and dealt with, the better the outcome. A doctor may advise various things such as:

  • If at all possible, stop or reduce the tasks or activities which seem to be causing the symptoms. This may be easier said than done if your job or livelihood depends on the task. If possible, discuss the problem with your employer. A change of task, or changes to your work environment, may be possible.
  • Look into practical ways of adjusting your work set-up so as to reduce strain.
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines have usually been recommended, although recent studies suggest that simple painkillers such as paracetamol work just as well.
  • Other medication you may be offered includes muscle relaxant tablets and a low dose of a tricyclic antidepressant.
  • A referral to a physiotherapist who can give advice to help with posture and how to strengthen or relax the muscles involved. Physiotherapists can also offer other treatments such as:
  • Some people find relaxation techniques and regular general exercise (such as swimming) to be useful in easing the symptoms.
  • An injection of steroid, sometimes combined with a local anesthetic, may be considered into an area which has definite inflammation, such as a tenosynovitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Symptoms often ease with the above measures. It is then wise to review your work or other activities to prevent further bouts of RSI. For example:

  • If you work with a computer: is your seat, keyboard, mouse, etc, positioned in the correct way with the least strain likely on your hands and fingers?
  • See the websites below for practical suggestions on how to reduce strain from repetitive tasks – for example, how to set up your computer and workstation to reduce RSI.
  • Do you work with a good posture? Do you sit correctly if you have a desk job?
  • If you do a repetitive task at work, do you get enough breaks?
  • Is there anything your employer could do to improve your working environment?
  • If you are under stress at work, is there anything you or your employer could do to improve this? If a lot of people at work are suffering from RSI your employer may consider asking an occupational therapist for advice.

Prognosis For Repetitive Stress Injuries

Most people get better in three to six months. Prevention and treatment measures speed up recovery. However, some people develop symptoms that persist long-term, which can be debilitating. Sometimes a change of job is the only answer.

Carpal Tunnel, Arthritis And Tendonitis Injuries

Some occupations cause a person to use the same part of his or her body over and over again to exhaustion. This repetitive motion can cause muscles, tendons and cartilage to become agitated or worn down. Desk workers often feel the consequences of carpal tunnel from excessive computer work. Factory workers may have worn shoulders or joint problems from consistent movement in one direction.

If this kind of stress and strain goes untreated, it can lead to permanent damage and injuries such as:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tendinitis
  • Bursitis (arthritis)
  • Tennis elbow (Epicondylitis)
  • Trigger finger
  • Damaged joints such as rotator cuffs, knees or elbows

While these injuries can be hard to notice as they develop, they are still the product of the work environment and, therefore, fall under workers’ compensation claims. Make sure to discuss your case with an Newark Delaware workers’ compensation attorney before accepting settlements from an insurance provider.

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The Newark Delaware workers compensation lawyers at our firm serve accident victims throughout Delaware and Southeastern Pennsylvania. This includes Wilmington, Newark, Pike Creek, Hockessin, Brandywine, Fairfax, Talleyville, Kennett Square, Chester, West Chester, Coatesville, Media, Upper Darby, Malvern, Phoenixville, Avondale, Downingtown, Broomall, Bear. Glasgow, Middletown, Odessa, Smyrna, Townsend, Dover, Milford, Millsboro, Georgetown, Seaford, Laurel, Dagsboro, Lewes, Milton, Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island and Ocean View, Delaware.