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Recognizing and reporting an injury, part 2: chronic conditions

In the first part of this post, we began discussing the importance to injured workers of reporting their injury to their employer in a timely manner.

As we noted, however, there are times when an employee is injured when it simply isn't feasible to recognize the injury right away.

In this part of the post, then, we will discuss the issue of chronic conditions and occupational disease.

Occupational disease is not the only term used to refer to injuries that occur cumulatively over time and therefore cannot be recognized right away. Other terms for this include:
• Chronic conditions
• Repetitive strain injuries (RSI)

Chronic pain is frequently caused by back injuries. Repeated lifting is of course one way that workers can develop this pain. But there are many others as well.

Similarly, carpal tunnel syndrome is often associated with constant keyboard use for computer workers. But it can also develop in other industries, such as in construction jobs that require repeated hammering

In addition to back injuries and RSI injuries involving the hand or wrist, another common chronic condition is called thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS). This is a nerve condition stemming from nerve damage in the shoulder and neck area.

Though back pain is perhaps better known as a chronic condition, shoulder-related pain is remarkably common. The shoulder is actually a very complicated structure and pain may arise from any number of types of tissue damage.

In short, there are numerous chronic pain conditions where it is difficult to pinpoint the exact moment of injury.

In addition, there are occupational diseases, such as asbestos exposure, where symptoms do not develop right away.

To learn more about how to go about reporting such conditions to your employer, please visit our page on occupational disease.

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Denver, CO 80222

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