6 Tips for Prevention and Management of Repetitive Trauma Injury
The last thing anybody wants is to be injured on the job. Not only can this make continuing to work nearly impossible, but it can deplete your savings if you don’t receive compensation for the injury. Learning how to prevent repetitive trauma injury and the common industries this type of injury is seen in can help anybody stay safe on the job.
What is Repetitive Trauma Injury?
When people think of workplace injuries, they often picture a person falling off of something or breaking a bone due to an accident. These are all single traumatic injuries. Repetitive trauma injuries (RTIs) occurs when a person’s muscles, joints, ligaments, and more are damaged over time from consistent use. Common examples include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Stress fractures
- General pain, aching, or tenderness
- Tennis elbow
Over the years, microtears can develop in the tissue of the body that lead to inflammation and pain if not allowed to recover. It can get so severe that an RTI can potentially develop into a permanent disability. However, claims can be filed against workplaces, with the current maximum compensation allowed for injuries at $1,099, which can be used on medical expenses for RTIs.
Common Industries for Repetitive Trauma Injury
In truth, any industry where a worker is performing repetitive motions with certain parts of the body day-in and day-out for hours on end is at risk. However, the most common industries for an RTI include:
- Any role where a worker sits at a desk and uses a computer often
- Warehouse workers with a physically demanding role
- Butchers or meat packers
- Garment/sewing workers
Due to the time and money that a trauma injury can take away from you, learning how to prevent and manage such an injury can help anybody prepare.
Tips for Preventing and Managing Injury
Take regular breaks from long and repetitive tasks
Preventing an RTI is all about breaking the routine that causes wear and tear on the body. Taking breaks, even just for 10-15 minutes, throughout the day can give your body a chance to relax and reduces the overall amount of strain it’s put through. Rather than taking a single lengthy lunch during the day, consider standing and moving for at least 10 minutes every hour.
Take stretch breaks throughout the day
For office workers and those with physically demanding jobs, stretching can help relieve pressure in the muscles. While taking regular breaks, stretch your arms, legs, sides, and every other muscle group that is or isn’t being used during work. Athletes need to stretch before hitting the field, and musicians need to stretch the joints and extremities they will be using with their instruments.
Maintain good posture at work
Keeping a good posture at work isn’t as cut-and-dry as people think. It’s not enough to simply sit up straight in your chair or lift with your legs instead of your back. Modern ergonomic experts recommend a viewing angle 10-20 degrees under your eyesight for a monitor and a near 90-degree angle for your elbows when typing.
Exercise and maintain healthy nutrition
Staying protected from long-term injury doesn’t just happen at work. By leading a healthy lifestyle with solid nutrition and great exercise, you can maintain a healthy body. A body that is in better shape will take longer to wear down over time, and constant exercise will also help ensure that your muscles are being conditioned and strengthened.
Don’t dive back right into a routine after vacation
After taking a large amount of time off, particularly for those with physically demanding jobs, avoid jumping right back into your normal routine. Lifting bulky objects or using your joints in unique ways after taking time off can put temporarily increased stress on the body. Take things slow when you return from a vacation.
Visit a doctor
Finally, if you suspect that you are suffering from a repetitive trauma injury, make the choice to visit a doctor for a diagnosis before things get worse. From a medical standpoint, they will be able to advise you on the best course of action to prevent further injury.
Repetitive trauma injury is extremely common, yet not talked about due to a lack of attention from companies. Injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome affect 3 to 6 percent of adults in the general population, yet most people choose to live with these injuries. If you believe your injuries were the result of repetitive action required by your job, look into discussing options with a trauma lawyer.
Know your legal options
While the average repetitive trauma injury may come across as more of a nuisance than anything else, that doesn’t mean you should just accept the pain. By taking small steps each day, you can help prevent such an injury from ever happening in the first place.
If your injury does happen and is a result of your normal job duties, then you may be able to receive full compensation for your RTI. Reach out to a certified trauma injury lawyer to discuss your situation and any potential legal options you may have.