If you suspect that you’re developing an RSI and it’s starting to impede your ability to work at full capacity, you do not want to put off getting it checked out. Delaying treatment will only make matters worse and it could wind up causing irreparable damage.
The first thing you’ll need to do is tell your employer. OHSA requires that employers identify and correct hazards such as those that lead to RSIs. Your employer cannot try to change and fix the job conditions if it isn’t aware of your injuries or that your job duties are causing a problem. So be open with your employer and tell your supervisor or HR manager about your symptoms. If your condition is work-related, it may be compensable under workers’ compensation laws. But, you’ll need to inform your employer and file a workers’ compensation claim in a timely manner so that all of your doctor’s appointments and treatments will be covered.
Unlike other states that mandate workers use a company doctor for work-related injuries and conditions, New York statutes afford workers the right to use a doctor of their choice for their work injuries. However, when you go to the doctor, tell him/her about your work tasks that likely contributed to the injury so that he/she will document the work-related nature of your condition.
Unfortunately, finding a doctor who is competent to diagnose and treat RSI can be a challenge. Some doctors doubt the existence of RSI, and many others dismiss it as an insignificant problem. Some doctors don’t know the first thing about treatment, while others encourage their patients to undergo unnecessary (and possibly dangerous) surgery in hope of a quick fix. With that in mind, know that you must be careful and selective when choosing a physician.
Diagnosis for RSIs can be tricky because there are no specific testing methods for these types of soft tissue injuries. Muscle strain and pain don’t show up on an MRI or CT scan. Rather, doctors have to use the patient’s symptoms, medical history, examination, and observation. The doctor might have you stop the repetitive task for a period of time, and if your symptoms lessen or dissipate, it’ll be a good indicator that you have an RSI.
If you have even mild discomfort completing certain tasks on your job or at home, it’s a good idea to see your doctor to talk about RSI. Your doctor will ask you questions about your work and other activities to try to identify any repetitive movements you do. They’ll also ask about your work environment, such as whether you work at a computer or have an ergonomic work station. They’ll do a physical exam as well. During the exam, they’ll perform range of motion tests and check for tenderness, inflammation, reflexes, and strength in the affected area.
Your doctor may also order magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound to assess tissue damage. An electromyography (EMG) may be ordered to check on nerve damage.For mild damage, your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist. If the damage is severe, they may also refer you to a specialist or surgeon. Treatment for RSIs usually involves ice compresses, splinting, anti-inflammatory drugs, pain medication, steroid injection, and/or good old-fashioned rest. When the injury is work-related, you also might need an occupational therapy program to speed your recovery.
Remember, each case is unique, so contact HURT-511 for more information on workers’ comp statute and our personal injury lawyers help injured workers recover the benefits to which they are entitled by law. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, call us toll-free at 800-4878-511 or complete our online form. Our firm handles accident and injury claims throughout all five boroughs of New York.
HURT-511 operates in all boroughs of New York including all Bronx neighborhoods, namely: Bedford Park, Belmont, Fordham, Highbridge, Hunts Point, Jerome Park, Kingsbridge, Morris Park, Morrisania, Mott Haven, Parkchester, Riverdale, Spuyten Duyvil, Throgs Neck, University Heights and Woodlawn.