The term ‘musculoskeletal disorder’ is used to describe a number of upper limb disorders such as tenosynovitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis. Many of these conditions are known as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).
If you have suffered any sort of repetitive strain injury as a result of your working conditions, you may be eligible to claim compensation. If you wish to make a claim, you should discuss your case with a personal injury solicitor who can assess the validity of your case.
Repetitive Strain Injury is the term applied to disorders that occur due to the prolonged and repetitive use of specific parts of the body to complete repetitive movements. The symptoms of RSI include pain, swelling, numbness, weakness and a loss of dexterity. Symptoms don’t necessarily occur immediately after strenuous activity. Instead, it may often take hours or days before these symptoms begin to set in and not everyone will necessarily experience all of these symptoms.
In 2016/17 more than half a million people in the UK suffered from some form of RSI. The problem is increasing due to the intensive use of computers and other forms of technology that involve large amounts of keyboarding. Posture-related health problems are also growing due to the sedentary nature of many jobs nowadays.
What Causes Repetitive Strain Injury?
Repetitive Strain Injury usually occurs due to carrying out repetitive actions. Such actions will differ depending upon the work environment however some of the most common types of repetitive actions are:
Those that involve production line work, such as rapid product assembling or packaging
Using a computer keyboard consistently throughout the day for tasks like data entry
Both of these activities involve the limbs being in a fixed position for too long whilst they are supported incorrectly. This causes continuous muscle contraction which can cause Repetitive Strain Injury.
While there are many other causes of the condition, there are certain factors which may exacerbate the seriousness of the condition or make the development of this condition more likely. For example, if you are working in cold temperatures, working without a break, using a badly designed chair or a desk that results in poor posture and vibrating equipment then the condition or the likelihood of developing the condition may be intensified.
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If you have pain and weakness in the hand and forearm, then this could be caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition is usually caused by highly repetitive manual acts like grasping items by the hands. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is most common amongst factory line workers.
De Quervain’s Syndrome
De Quervain’s Syndrome is most commonly suffered by office workers using a computer. It involves pain and swelling within the wrist, usually at the bottom of the thumb joint.
This is a problem commonly associated with workers who are using machines that involve prolonged grip, such as industrial drills or chainsaws. The injury involves pain in the fingers or thumb that makes it difficult to straighten them.
What should I do if I experience RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury)
Whilst there is no official cure for RSI, your doctor may be able to treat specific conditions, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, with treatments like steroid injections, surgery or physiotherapy. Regular resting of the injured limb is also recommended by doctors. However, resting for long periods of time can cause the muscles in that area to weaken. To avoid weakening and to encourage circulation, gently massage and flex the affected area.
How to Prevent it
If you work at a desk, you should arrange your equipment correctly so that it can most comfortably accommodate you. For example, if your hands tend to hurt or cramp from having your keyboard lie flat, you could potentially use a slanted board to elevate your keyboard. When sitting, you should place both feet on the floor and position your screen at eye level while arranging objects that you frequently use within easy reach. Short, regular breaks from repetitive activity, such as a walk to the photocopier allow muscles to relax and help prevent limbs from becoming tense.
Amount of Compensation
Personal injury compensation is decided upon the individual circumstances of how the injuries have impacted upon the individual. Compensation will take into account the pain and suffering caused by the injuries, as well as any loss of amenity/function that has occurred. Compensation will also take into account any financial losses that have occurred as a result of your injuries, such as if you have been unable to work and this has caused a loss of income.
Level of Repetitive Strain Injury
Complete recovery in a matter of weeks
Complete recovery within a few months
Up to £2,300
Pain that lasts 2-3 years
£6,175 – £7,700
One side of the body affected and ongoing, intermittent pain
£10,600 up to £11,700
Bilateral incapacity resulting in surgery and possible loss of employment
Making Personal Injury Claims
If you have developed a repetitive strain injury due to poor conditions at work, you may be entitled to compensation. First Personal Injury solicitors are available to assist you and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
First Personal Injury works with both families and individuals across England and Wales, leading them on their legal journey and helping them claim compensation after an accident or injury.
*Please note – With regards to No Win No Fee - In limited circumstances, fees may be charged when your accident claim is not successful. These specific limited circumstances will be explained to you by your Solicitor.
The Citizen's Advice Bureau says it's our "civil and legal right" to make an accident claim. But 69% of us don't make an accident claim. Don't miss out on what's rightfully yours.
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