Perhaps you work at a local Italian restaurant and spend hours every day preparing pasta dishes and pizza dough from scratch. Maybe you are an executive assistant who spends long shifts answering the phone, taking notes and meetings and typing emails on behalf of your boss.
The work that you do can be rewarding, but it can also damage your body. The more frequently you perform certain functions on the job, the more likely those actions are to cause you physical injury. Unlike traumatic injuries, repetitive stress injuries take some time to develop and can be a challenge to conclusively connect with an individual’s employment.
How should you address the symptoms you have started developing or a doctor diagnosing you with a repetitive stress injury?
You need to inform your employer
Ignoring your symptoms or your diagnosis will only lead to your condition worsening. Repetitive stress injuries may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, and making use of that coverage will be a wise move for most injured workers.
If a doctor has already diagnosed you with a repetitive stress injury, you can bring paperwork from that medical professional to your employer. If you don’t have a diagnosis but have symptoms, informing your supervisor can help you secure workers’ compensation benefits to cover even your first appointment for a diagnosis.
You may also need to ask your employer to adjust your job functions to limit how much you perform certain actions and reduce the strain on your body. In some cases, people may need a leave of absence from work, physical therapy or even surgery.
You need to follow medical instructions
While you may not like the idea of undergoing surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome or attending physical therapy for weeks, it is incumbent upon you to comply with whatever treatment the doctor overseeing your workers’ compensation claim recommends. If you fail to follow their instructions and get the treatment that they believe will improve your condition, that failure could affect your right to continue receiving medical or disability benefits through worker’s compensation later.
Rather than ignoring the symptoms of your condition, you need to seek medical evaluation and take steps to prevent a worse injury from occurring. Claiming workers’ compensation benefits for a repetitive stress injury will help you pay your basic bills and also facilitate a quicker recovery.