Whatever your job, there is a good chance that you perform specific actions repeatedly. That is why repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are among the most common of all workplace injuries. They can happen to anyone in any job.
How do you know if you have a repetitive strain injury?
If you experience any of the following symptoms in a body part, it could be a clue that you have an RSI. If you experience them repeatedly, it is even more crucial that you seek medical advice:
- Increased sensitivity to temperature
What can you do about an RSI?
The first thing to know about an RSI is that it will not get better unless you stop repeating the movement that is causing it. Popping painkillers or anti-inflammatories might help you get through the workday, but it will not help you heal. It will merely hide the symptoms, which are your body’s way of warning you to stop doing what you are doing. If you ignore the signs, you could cause more serious long-term damage.
These are some of the treatments a doctor might prescribe:
- Rest, ice and compression: This can help relieve the pain temporarily.
- Steroid injections: These are not a long-term solution. They merely reduce the inflammation for a while.
- Physical rehabilitation therapy: This aims to improve strength and motion in the injured part.
- Surgery: This can help in certain circumstances by taking pressure off a nerve.
You may be able to reduce the strain by asking your employer to provide you with ergonomic devices, such as wrist bars for your computer. However, these might not be enough to make a difference once the damage is done. A repetitive strain injury can cause intense pain and may require time off work or changes to your role or career. Your employer should hold workers’ compensation insurance.