Most people will feel a little muscle soreness or stiff joints after work as they get older. These uncomfortable moments can usually be remedied with some extra stretches, rest or hot/cold therapy. Most of the time, with a little extra attention, you could be pain free by the end of the week. What happens when the pain lingers, though?
If you noticed muscle stiffness or joint pain after work but common remedies aren’t solving your problem, it could be a repetitive stress injury (RSI). RSIs are much more common than many people think and are often a result of workplace duties.
Early signs of an RSI
If you begin feeling discomfort or pain in your muscles or joints during or after work, see a doctor right away. Even with proper treatment, an RSI can require months of physical therapy to heal. The unfortunate reality is that most people ignore early symptoms in hopes that they will go away on their own. They often don’t and become chronic.
Repetitive stress injury symptoms include:
- Tenderness and pain in a heavily used muscle or joint
- Throbbing in the area around the muscle or joint
- Change in temperature in the affected area
- Tingling or loss of sensation, especially in hands and fingers
- Weakness in the affected area
In addition to being painful, these symptoms will keep you from doing things in your personal life you enjoy and completing your daily work duties. Don’t wait until it’s too late to see a doctor.
Vocations most at risk for RSIs
Many people only associate workers compensation and on the job injuries with construction workers. People who have “safe” jobs tend to suffer from repetitive stress injuries often, though. Anybody can be injured on the job, and if you do, don’t be afraid to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.
If your job forces you to overuse particular muscle groups, work in awkward or non-ergonomically designed spaces, repeatedly perform an action or carry heavy loads, you are most likely at risk for an RSI. Some of the most at risk jobs include:
- Nurses and hospital staff
- Farm workers
- Airline baggage handlers
- Professional drivers
- Packaging and assembly workers
- Shelf stockers and checkout staff
- Office workers
Anti-inflammatories like aspirin and ibuprofen can help alleviate your symptoms, but seeing a doctor is one of the best courses of actions you can take.
Nobody wants to live with pain. If your body begins to tell you that something is wrong, listen right away. Early treatment is often the best away to avoid long term care and treatment.