Manual labor is honorable, decent work. Whether you work on a construction site welding or on a production line making vehicle components, the work that you do helps create valuable goods or materials. Unfortunately, the physical nature of your job could also put you at risk for injuries.
Traumatic injuries that result from an accident in the workplace are a risk anywhere, but they are not the only potential way for blue-collar workers to get hurt on the job. Instead, it is possible for workers to wind up with life-altering and career-ending injuries without ever experiencing a catastrophic accident.
Repetitive motion injuries are a form of cumulative damage that your body can develop if you perform the same tasks day after day. What may seem like a minor inconvenience now could eventually develop into an injury that ends your job, which is why it is important to seek medical evaluation and treatment early if you suspect a repetitive motion injury.
Report any pain that persists for more than one shift
Everyone has days where something hurts or they overextend themselves in some minor fashion. If your knees are a little achy, your back is a little sore or your hands are a little stiff, that doesn’t inherently mean there is something drastically wrong with you or that you won’t be able to continue working.
However, persistent pain in parts of your body that you use to perform your job could be a sign that you have overextended your body somehow. If a night of rest and over-the-counter medication reduces or eliminates your discomfort, it may not be something you need to worry about in the long term.
Still, if you find that the ache or pain is only getting worse every day that you work or simply persists at the same level of discomfort, you may need to inform your supervisor or human resources contact. They can both help you change your work responsibilities to reduce the pressure on the injured body part and help you create an official record of your injury, which can help you connect with workers’ compensation benefits if you need them.
Repetitive motion injuries require rest and possibly other treatments
The simplest way to alleviate the discomfort associated with a repetitive motion injury is to stop using that part of your body in the manner that led to the injury. If you constantly screw one piece onto another part, gripping and turning may be what causes the pain. If you lift items onto a production line or move them from one machine to another, it could be twisting or lifting that causes your pain.
Any part of your body that you use repetitively for work could eventually wind up with a repetitive motion injury. Your knees, back, shoulders, hands and any other body part could suffer damage to the connective tissue or muscle. The sooner you seek evaluation and treatment, the better your chances of reducing your pain and potentially returning to work. Regardless of your prognosis, workers’ compensation benefits may prove to be important for you as you recover.