Repetitive motion, repetitive strain or repetitive stress: Whatever the label, these injuries cause major problems for the people who suffer from them. Apart from the cost of treatment, repetitive stress injuries can also represent a burden in terms of reduced work prospects or pain and suffering. Although some New York employers seem to be dubious about these injuries, they are, in fact, very real and very debilitating.
RSIs are among the more common work-related injuries. Understanding an employer’s responsibility begins with an understanding of the injury itself.
Stanford Healthcare succinctly describes repetitive motion injuries as damage to muscles, joints and other body tissues due to overuse. Performing the same or similar motions over and over leads to swelling, wear and other problems. Unfortunately, repeating motions over and over describes much of what people typically do, at least physically, during a standard workday. Package handlers may lift, carpenters may operate power tools and office workers may type, but the presence of repetitive motion is almost always there in one form or another.
As explained by Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center, treatments often require individual consultation and planning. There is no quick fix — therapy typically involves multiple different types of medical professionals and a variety of techniques and educational programs. Simpler cases may only involve a small team of chiropractors, orthopedists and occupational therapists, while advanced for serious injuries could necessitate expensive imaging and surgical procedures.
Simply glancing at the list of people involved in treating RSIs should be enough to indicate that these injuries could be costly. It makes sense that employers take some responsibility for managing these costs. After all, there is a good chance that they contributed to the injuries — and profited from the workers’ dangerous labor.