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Be informed about repetitive stress injuries

Residents of Boston, Massachusetts, work in an array of professional positions. Some of those residents wind up with physical problems that can be directly tracked to the work that they do. If those problems aren't in any measure the fault of a person's employer, the person should file a workers' compensation claim.

One kind of physical problem that can happen due to work is called repetitive stress injury (RSI). This type of injury tends to be in the hands, and can be painful to the point of being debilitating. Forms of RSI include tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and bursitis.

Tendonitis, which is an inflammation of tendons in the hands, is the RSI with the highest number of sufferers. Repetitive motions can cause tendons, which connect the muscles of hands to bones, to become inflamed or otherwise injured. Repetitive motions are the most common cause of tendonitis, though in rare cases it can be caused by disease. What some people call "trigger finger" is a form of tendonitis, as is "tennis elbow," showing that tendonitis can affect other parts of people's bodies besides their hands.

In addition to pain, symptoms of RSIs include swelling and stiffness in the injured area. Tingling, stiffness, weakness and numbness are also common symptoms. Additionally, those with RSIs may find that they have excessive sensitivity to heat or cold.

Anyone who has these symptoms should see their doctor to pursue treatment, which may include restrictions on work duties. It is wise to go to a doctor early, rather than waiting until the pain is so bad that you can't use your hands. Many people have gotten to that point due to RSIs. If your condition gets too bad, you may need to get surgery.

Employees and employers can minimize the risk of RSIs in the workplace by having good positioning when you are standing, bending or sitting. Also, try to balance your schedule so you are not doing repetitive physical tasks too long of a period at a time.

If you suffer from RSI and believe it is due to your work, you should file a claim for workers' compensation. If your claim is denied, an attorney can help you file an appeal.

Source: Cleveland Clinic, "Repetitive Stress Injury," Mark Hendrickson, accessed Sep. 19, 2017

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