Repetitive work, relentless pain: Could your job be harming you?

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Images of a construction mishap or workplace slip-and-fall might come to mind when considering occupational injuries, but they happen in more than high-risk industries.

Two seemingly low-impact sectors – education and business – harbor a surprising potential for long-term harm, not through dramatic accidents, but through cumulative trauma disorders and injuries.

How do they occur?

They usually creep in gradually through repetitive movements, strain and maintaining awkward postures. Cumulative trauma injuries can chip away at your ability to work, affecting your strength, mobility and even sleep.

What are some examples?

Any job tasks requiring the same movements on repeat can lead to cumulative injuries. For example, spending hours hunched over a desk can lead to constant back pain and poor mobility.

Here are some common cumulative injuries:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: Tingling, pain and numbness in the hand due to nerve compression
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome: Radiating pain and finger numbness stemming from nerve compression in the elbow
  • Trigger finger: Locking or catching of a finger from tendon and sheath inflammation
  • Bursitis and tendonitis: Painful inflammation of bursae (fluid-filled sacs cushioning joints) and tendons, respectively

Although not instantly catastrophic, these injuries can deplete your work capacity, eventually impacting earnings.

Are these conditions eligible for worker’s compensation?

Typically, those with work-related cumulative trauma have coverage under Pennsylvania law. You may believe you are fit to continue working, but these injuries require treatment and rest to heal. A workers’ compensation claim can pay for necessary medical care and replace some of the wages you may lose from missing work.

What could go wrong?

Even a valid claim could end in denial if your employer opposes your injury or the workers’ compensation insurer determines you are ineligible. Fortunately, you may appeal a denied claim and get another chance to obtain benefits. Legal guidance can strengthen your appeal and potentially your chances of success.