Workplace injuries are often brought on by sudden accidents that can put employees out of work for months. However, repetitive stress injuries can be equally devastating. Shoulder health is often overlooked. Repetitive lifting, reaching, and arm rotating can gradually wear away at your rotator cuff.
It could start with a dull, subtle discomfort in your shoulders and turn into something far worse if left untreated. The pain can become more severe over time and limit your range of motion.
How rotator cuff injuries happen
Your rotator cuff comprises several different muscles and tendons that keep your arm connected to the shoulder socket. With repetitive arm motions, these muscles and tendons can eventually tear.
WebMD has identified two ways a tear can occur:
- Partial tear: When a partial tear occurs, it affects the tendon in the upper part of the shoulder. Since the tear is usually small, this type of rotator cuff injury may only require physical therapy and rest.
- Complete tear: When the shoulder tendon disconnects from the bone, recovery may require surgery and lengthy treatment.
If you have sustained a rotator cuff injury, you may experience:
- Difficulty raising your arm
- Weakness in your shoulder or arm
- A clicking or popping feeling when moving your arm
- Pain and discomfort that can affect sleep
Rotator cuff injuries are very common in construction, painting, warehouse work, carpentry, and other jobs that require repetitive arm movement.
The recovery process
Your doctor may identify a tear through an MRI or X-ray or examine your range of motion and strength. Treating the injury may involve pain medication and exercises to increase strength and flexibility in the shoulder.
Your recovery may be lengthy and costly, depending on the severity of your injury. If it was job-related, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. But repetitive stress injuries can often be difficult to prove. The insurance companies that handle workers' compensation benefits may try to claim that you had a pre-existing condition and your injury wasn't job-related.
Before filing a workers' compensation claim, it's important that you first receive a thorough medical evaluation. Doing so can not only unveil other potential injuries, it can provide a record of your injury.
You should then speak to an attorney at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP, based in New York City. Our experienced legal team will work tirelessly to negotiate with insurance companies for the maximum financial compensation you're entitled to receive for your injury. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.