California workers in various occupations perform repetitive motions day after day for hours on end. If you are one of them, you might find your body rebelling against the punishment. This is where sprains and strains come in. It is your body’s way of forcing you to rest and heal.
A sprain is an injury to the connecting ligaments between bones, and a strain involves the tissues and tendons that form connections between bones and muscles. If you do not listen to your body, you might suffer significant strains and sprains that require surgery, extensive rehabilitation or both.
Are you at risk?
The following conditions will make you vulnerable to strains and sprains:
- If you are overweight and your body has lost muscle tone and fitness, you are at risk of musculoskeletal injuries.
- If your job puts you at risk of falls, it will increase your risk of suffering strains and sprains.
- If you have suffered similar injuries before, chances of repeat injuries increase.
Repetitive activities of any nature will put an unhealthy load on your ligaments, tendons and muscles, and if you do not take frequent breaks or alternate your tasks, your body will likely protest.
Causes and symptoms
If you understand what causes repetitive motion injuries and the symptoms for which to look out, you could avoid spending time away from work.
Strains refer to muscle or tendon injuries, caused by the following:
- Overstretching and overuse by performing repetitive motions like lifting, carrying, pulling or pushing heavy objects can cause injuries such as back strains.
- A strain can also result from a direct force, such as an object striking you.
- Symptoms include muscle weakness, pain, swelling, spasms and cramps.
- A severe or moderate strain can cause a muscle to tear.
Sprains refer to injuries to the ligaments that connect bones, and they occur under the following circumstances:
- When a fall or the impact of making direct contact with another person or an object occurs, it can force bones out of position.
- Examples include a wrist or ankle sprain caused by a fall.
- You might hear the popping sound upon the impact of a fall or struck-by incident.
- You will experience pain, and notice swelling and bruising.
- If the sprain is severe, you will feel intense pain.
- After suffering a sprain, moving the affected joint will be difficult.
Treatment of sprains and strains
Elevating the injured joint and applying a cold pack can provide some level of relief until you can see your doctor. The severity of the injury will determine whether you need occupational or physical therapy. However, the treatment of severe strains and sprains may involve surgery, followed by immobilization and wearing a splint or brace during recovery.
Every time you suffer a sprain or a strain, you will be more vulnerable to suffer similar injuries, which may become more severe each time. Along with mounting medical bills will come wage losses due to your inability to go back to work until you have recovered. Fortunately, help is available. An attorney who has experience in dealing with the California workers’ compensation system can provide the necessary support and guidance throughout the navigation of the benefits claims process for coverage of medical expenses and lost wages.