It is easy to categorize workers’ compensation coverage according to the belief that it only applies to people who suffer an injury during an accident. This isn’t the case. It is possible to seek these benefits if you suffered a cumulative trauma injury or a work-related illness. Even though they aren’t discussed often, these conditions can be just as ability-limiting as an injury caused by an accident.
Repetitive stress injuries are particularly complex because you can’t pinpoint when they happened. Often, these injuries first present as minor aches that you might chalk up to normal wear and tear on your body. This isn’t how these injuries work and, unfortunately, leaving them unchecked can lead to severe pain and irreparable damage.
There are many different types of repetitive stress injuries. Tendonitis is one of the more common because it can impact the tendons anywhere in the body. Tennis elbow is a fairly common form of tendonitis. Carpal tunnel syndrome and some knee injuries are caused by repetitive stress on the respective areas of the body.
In the initial stages, these conditions won’t cause significant limitations. You might only feel stiff or sore. As the injury worsens, the symptoms will become more pronounced. By the time most people seek treatment, the injury is so bad that it will require a combination of medication and therapy to regain some functionality. In very serious cases, surgery might be necessary. Typically, these conditions will all require the person to limit work activities or remain off work completely.
Complex regional pain syndrome is a condition that was once known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome. This is caused when tissues are injured even though there is no related nerve damage. When you are injured, your body reacts by narrowing the blood vessels to the area to minimize bleeding. Those blood vessels usually dilate back to their normal size over time. However, this doesn’t happen in a person who has complex regional pain syndrome.
This syndrome is associated with blood vessels that narrow and dilate without any cause despite no injury being present. Pain in the impacted area is often severe and may be debilitating. Determining the cause can be difficult, but there is a chance that it will be due to a work-related injury, including a repetitive stress injury. In some cases, it is impossible to find a cause.