California workers who spend hours on assembly lines, repeating the same movements over and over again, are at risk for developing repetitive stress injuries. This group of workplace injuries affects muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves — often very painful. Even office workers who spend hours typing or doing other repetitive work can face difficulties.

The most common repetitive stress injury is carpal tunnel syndrome. The carpal tunnel is a gap within the wrist through which the median nerve between the forearm and the hand travels. Repeated use of the wrist can inflame tendons in and around the carpal tunnel, gradually compressing the tunnel and often resulting in excruciating pain. Although it can be a temporary problem, in many cases it is permanent.

The chronic pain can affect the quality of a worker’s social, emotional and physical life. In time, one may not be able to continue working, becoming dependent on others for help with normal daily routines. Treatment is intense and typically involves occupational therapy, different exercises and pain management techniques. In some cases, rehabilitation teams include orthopedic surgeons or orthopedists and neurosurgeons or neurologists.

Victims of carpal tunnel syndrome or other repetitive strain injuries in California might find it difficult to prove that their injuries are related to work. This is often the case when damage is not as obvious as workplace injuries like fractured bones or serious gashes. Seeking the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney may make it easier to navigate the claims proceedings required to pursue workers’ compensation benefits for medical expenses and lost wages.

Source: hopkinsmedicine.org, “Repetitive Motion Injury“, Accessed on March 24, 2017