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What is a repetitive motion injury?

In many industries, workers are subjected to repeat tasks that end up causing an injury that is eligible for compensation. These are repetitive motion injuries.

A repetitive motion injury can be temporary or permanent, and they typically impact the muscles, nerves, ligaments and tendons. These body parts are used in the same motion over and over again to the point of stress, which causes pain. Any occupation with repeated activities can cause employees to develop a repetitive motion injury, regardless of whether the job is hard labor or desk work.

The repetitive motion injury most people are familiar with is carpal tunnel syndrome (CPS), which is when the median nerve in the carpal tunnel is compressed by swollen or inflamed ligaments and tendons. CPS is common among anyone who spends most of the work day using a keyboard or working an assembly line. Women are typically more likely to develop CPS than men.

Treating a repetitive motion injury

A repetitive motion injury, if serious enough, may need rehabilitation. With this treatment, injured workers can return to their highest level of function. Possible programs may include:

  • Occupational therapy
  • Exercise programs for the affected areas
  • Conditioning exercises
  • Heat or cold applications
  • Uses of braces or splints
  • Pain management strategies
  • Ergonomic education

If a repetitive motion injury was caused by the nature of an employee's job, patients should be compensated by their employer for the cost of rehabilitation , and can do so by filing a workers' compensation claim. No one should have to live with chronic pain that was caused by repeat activity in the workplace.

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