Wear and tear injuries, also known as repetitive stress injuries, develop over time and often grow worse if not treated. They are long-lasting and cause pain, immobility, and a decreased quality of life. If your work environment has caused your wear and tear injuries, you may be able to file a claim to pursue workers’ compensation. Our firm has guided hundreds of clients through the California workers’ comp system and will discuss your options for receiving benefits.
The 5 most common wear and tear injuries are:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway that protects the primary nerve in your hand, as well as the tendons that control your fingers. When this nerve becomes inflamed, pinched, or compressed, carpal tunnel syndrome may develop. This condition affects the hands, fingers, and arms of the patient. Symptoms include tingling, numbness, loss of strength and grip, and loss of dexterity in the affected limb.
- Back injuries. Back injuries, such as lumbar strain and disc herniation, are often caused by poor posture and sitting for long periods of time. Employees with desk jobs are at high risk for suffering back strain, and patients may experience pain, stiffness, tingling in the legs, and decreased mobility. Back strain and spinal injuries may also be caused by lifting heavy objects without using proper support. Jobs where you have to lift heavy equipment or machines, or jobs that require you to bend over repeatedly, put you at risk for developing serious back injuries.
- Shoulder injuries. Injuries to the shoulder often result from lifting objects or using awkward postures to perform work duties. If you have to lift heavy loads without proper support, your shoulder and rotator cuff may suffer damage. Over time, if you don’t take action to treat the condition and correct your posture, your shoulder may suffer serious injuries. Muscle and ligament strains, as well as frozen shoulder (when scar tissue builds up in the shoulder joint), may develop.
- Hearing loss. Hearing loss is a debilitating condition that can be caused by long-term exposure to loud noises. If you work at a construction site or in the welding industry, you probably have a very loud work environment. Without proper ear protection, your hearing could gradually decrease, leaving you partially or fully deaf. This is a severe, yet common, wear and tear injury that is considered catastrophic.
- Tendonitis. Tendonitis occurs when a tendon, particularly in your elbow, wrist, shoulder, or other joint, becomes inflamed. This causes severe pain and may limit your mobility. Tendons connect your muscles to your bones. If they become irritated by repetitive strain, it can lead to long-term side effects that may hinder your quality of life and the ability to maintain employment.
How to Avoid Wear & Tear Injuries
One way to protect yourself from wear and tear injuries is to create an ergonomic work environment. Ergonomics is the science of building a work environment to maximize the comfort of the employee. This means you should request an ergonomic chair to support proper posture while you sit, and you should also request a convertible standing desk to avoid the strain of sitting in one position all day long. You may also benefit from using an ergonomic keyboard and mouse.
Furthermore, it is important to have adequate lifting equipment and to use proper posture when lifting heavy loads. Stretching out your muscles periodically can also increase your strength and flexibility, reducing your chances of developing tendonitis, carpal tunnel, back strain, and shoulder injuries.
In order to avoid hearing loss, it is important to wear adequate protection. Earplugs or earmuffs can protect your hearing while still allowing you to do your job. While employers are required to provide ear protection in loud working environments (generally above 90 decibels), they are not required to do so in moderately noisy environments, which could still damage your hearing over time. It is important to be proactive and to take the necessary steps to avoid wear and tear injuries.
The Law Offices of Wax & Wax provides efficient representation to injured workers. Our Glendale workers’ comp attorneys will analyze your situation, help you file the necessary documents, and tenaciously uphold your right to compensation. Call us today at (818) 946-0608 to receive a free consultation.