Persistent pain is the hallmark of repetitive stress injuries. It can range from a mild annoyance that goes away if you take a break from what you are doing to crippling pain that prevents you from having a full range of motion in the affected area.
You may also have trouble caring for yourself or completing your job duties. The pain and discomfort may make it harder to sleep and even make you less pleasant to be around — pain can cause mood swings, too.
Different kinds of RSIs have their own individual symptoms, so if you note that your pain fits one of these, consult with your doctor for a formal diagnosis. If you plan to file for carpal tunnel, RMI, or bursitis workers’ compensation, you will need documentation of your diagnosis and medical treatment.
Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms typically begin at night and then gradually reach into the daytime. Many people experience frequent itching, burning, and tingling feeling in the fingers or numbness that spreads up the arm. Your grip may be weaker, and you may have more difficulty picking up items or forming a fist.
Tendinitis symptoms also include pain at the injury site and redness and warmth on the skin due to inflammation. Many people feel the most pain in their biceps, where the shoulder and arm meet. However, tendonitis can occur anywhere in the body.
If you notice that a joint is stiff and the muscles on either side are red, warm, or tender, you may have a case of tendonitis.
Tennis and golfer’s elbow both include pain and tingling, and both conditions can affect your facility with hands and fingers, too. You may have difficulty fully extending your arm or contracting it, depending on where the inflammation and damage are located.
Rotator cuff injuries in the shoulders have similar causes and symptoms; moving the joints can be painful, and many people have a limited range of motion.
Bursitis anywhere in the body can make the location painful and tender. Moving is difficult, and you may have a “crunchy” feeling underneath the skin just over the affected area.
RMIs in the hips and knees often make walking difficult. The same swelling and joint tenderness of other types of repetitive stress injuries are present, and sitting in some positions can be painful.
If it is painful to move your arms or legs, make sure to visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis. If a fever accompanies the redness and swelling, this could mean that a swollen bursa has burst and you have an infection. Prompt medical treatment is required if you have nausea and vomiting or fever and chills.
Early treatment and intervention for repetitive stress injuries typically give you the best chance to fully recover. A repetitive motion injury can take from a few weeks to several months to heal on its own.
However, some require surgery to repair. If you treat the pain and swelling without addressing the underlying cause and allow the injury to worsen, you may end up needing surgery or suffering permanent damage.
Common treatments for an RMI include:
- Anti-inflammatory pain medication, muscle relaxers, or sleeping aids
- Applying heat or cold to the injury site or elevating the affected limb
- Elastic supports or splints that limit the range of movement
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections for inflammation
Some people may require surgery to repair nerve damage and soft tissue injuries, followed by exercise-based physical therapy. Rest and time are often the best treatments for swelling and inflammation in your muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Workers’ compensation claims are intended to provide medical benefits to employees who are hurt through the normal course of their job duties or who were injured in an accident. If you are seeking a repetitive stress injury or tendonitis workers’ comp settlement, your award could include:
- Medical expenses, including surgery, physical therapy, and medication
- Medical equipment to stabilize the area
- Personal mobility devices
- Temporary disability benefits if you cannot do your normal job duties due to the RMI
- Permanent disability if your injuries are severe enough
The exact benefits of workers’ compensation claims depend on the degree of injury or seriousness of the person’s overuse injury. If you need help with your workers’ comp claim or realize that your benefits are insufficient to cover your medical care and other losses, an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you file a suit to recover damages.