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What is a stress injury?

When you think about on-the-job injuries, you most likely think of traumatic or catastrophic injuries where someone is severely hurt. However, not all injuries that occur in the workplace happen in an instant. In fact, there are often many workers’ compensation claims made for something called a stress injury, which Nemours defines as injuries that occur to repetitive stress or strain placed upon a part of the body.

Common stress injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, which is caused by stress to a nerve. However, such injuries can occur anywhere in the body, including the shoulders, legs and back. These injures tend to be chronic, lasting over time. They may go through cycles where you are affected and then not affected. The seriousness of symptoms may get worse over time as well. You may hear them referred to repetitive stress injuries.

The thing that sets these injuries apart from other work-related issues is that they do not happen at any one particular time. They are gradual, forming over time due to using the same body part in the same way for long periods of time. For example, someone who spends all day typing, may develop such an injury in their wrists, fingers, arms, shoulders or back.

This type of problem usually results in pain. It can cause weakness, along with tingling or numbness. Treatment typically involves rest and the use of anti-inflammatory medications. In severe cases, surgery may be required. This information is educational and is not meant to be legal advice.

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