Experiencing numbness in the arms, hands, or fingers — or anywhere, for that matter — can be a scary experience. It’s only natural for your mind to go to the worst case scenario: Do I have a brain tumor? Did I have a stroke?
The good news is that numbness, loss of sensation and tingling in the arms, hands, fingers and other body parts are common symptoms of repetitive stress injury (RSIs). RSIs are not as serious as tumors or strokes; however, they can cause a lot of pain and discomfort.
Often times, RSIs are caused by engaging in the same motion over and over again, usually in the workplace. Our bodies are not made to perform motions in repetition like many jobs today require, so the overuse of muscles and tendons often leads to injury.
RSIs are most common in jobs involving factory-line work, computer work and heavy lifting. Usually, RSI symptoms start gradually and get worse over time.
You may only notice the symptoms when you are engaging in the repetitive action that is causing the injury. However, the longer you continue overusing the muscles and tendons without treatment, the worse the injury will likely get.
Why you should still see a doctor
It is important to get a doctor’s opinion any time you experience symptoms such as numbness for a few reasons. First, you want the doctor to check for serious conditions that need to be treated immediately.
Second, even if you are suffering from a common condition such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, or another RSI, it is important to have the condition diagnosed by a doctor so that you can begin exploring treatment for the injury.
Finally, if you developed an RSI at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, and it is important to have the injury documented by your doctor as soon as possible in order to get the benefits that you deserve.
Workers’ compensation may be available to help cover your medical expenses related to the RSI as well as lost wages, if the injury forces you to miss work.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to get the workers’ comp that you rightly deserve because insurance companies make the process difficult. That’s why many injured workers seek the help of an experienced attorney.