Developing a workplace musculoskeletal disorder from a job is more common than many people may realize. Musculoskeletal disorders are disorders or injuries of the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs that develop over time. These injuries are considered workplace musculoskeletal disorders under the following conditions:
- The work environment and job duties significantly contribute to the injury and/or
- The disorder worsens or symptoms continue longer due to work conditions.
What Causes Workplace Musculoskeletal Disorders?
Some of the movements—like bending, straightening, gripping, twisting, and reaching—that contribute to workplace musculoskeletal disorders are ones that we all do in our normal lives. However, they can become hazardous on the job due to the repetition of the motions, the speed of the movements, and the lack of any rest time. Common causes of these injuries include:
- Continual repetitive movements
- Wear and tear from daily activities
- Trauma to a body part caused by jerking motions, auto accidents, slip and falls, fractures, sprains, and direct blows to the muscles
- Long-term immobilization
Workers in many industries are at risk of developing a workplace musculoskeletal disorder either from long-term use of certain body parts or suffering a workplace accident like a slip and fall or auto accident. Some of the industries where workers are at higher risk include:
- Office workers
- Construction workers
- Truck and bus drivers
- Factory workers
- Retail workers
- Healthcare workers
- Maintenance and janitorial staff
What Types of Injuries Could You Suffer?
Workplace musculoskeletal disorders can affect many different parts of a worker’s body and cause symptoms like long-term pain, aching or stiffness throughout the body, fatigue, sleep problems, muscle twitching, and a burning sensation in the affected muscles. Common conditions employees could suffer with include:
- Bursitis. This is the inflammation of the bursae—the fluid-filled sacs that cushion joints. While bursitis can occur in many joints, workers commonly experience problems with their knees and shoulders.
- Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). This is caused by compression of a nerve running through a bone in the wrist, the carpel tunnel, and the thumb and first three fingers. A person can experience numbness, burning pain, reduced hand dexterity, and paralysis when the CTS is severe.
- De Quervain’s disease. When the tendons and tendon coverings become inflamed on the side of the wrist and forearm right above the thumb, a person can develop De Quervain’s disease, which causes pain in the thumb.
- Epicondylitis. Lateral Epicondylitis is also referred to as tennis elbow and is often caused by repetitive painting with a brush or roller, use of a chainsaw, and use of other power tools.
- Fibromyalgia. A person suffering with fibromyalgia can experience long-term pain in his muscles, tendons, and ligaments—often in multiple areas of his body. This disease can be caused by the blunt force or emotional trauma from an accident and is often associated with other conditions.
- Tendonitis. Tendonitis can occur when a person’s tendons become inflamed and often will develop in the shoulders, knees, hips, wrists, and elbows.
- Thoracic outlet syndrome. This can be caused by prolonged flexing of the shoulder, carrying loads on the shoulder, and extending the arms above the shoulder. It can cause pain, numbness, and swelling of the person’s hands.
Get the Workers’ Compensation Benefits You Deserve
Many injured workers and their employers do not take these injuries seriously enough. As a result, the condition can worsen to the point that the employee must take long periods of time off work to heal or can become permanently disabled. Often workers will also experience long-term pain and limitations in their day-to-day activities. Fortunately, they could be entitled to compensation for their lost wages and medical bills under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation laws.
If you have suffered a workplace musculoskeletal disorder, you need to act quickly to not make your condition worse and to not miss the deadline to file your workers’ comp claim. Call me at 877-360-0183 to schedule a free consultation to learn about the benefits you could be entitled to.