You are halfway through transcribing a medical record when you notice pain in your wrist or forearms. You might take a moment to stretch out your fingers and hands, but you will probably continue to work like normal without letting anybody know about your experience.
Most workers understand that minor discomfort can sometimes occur on the job and that their employer won’t take kindly to workers who look for excuses to stop working. However, there is a noteworthy difference between trying to avoid your workplace responsibilities and respecting your body’s warning signs that something is wrong.
If you try to work through the pain, you might put yourself at risk of permanent career limitations.
Pain caused by your job responsibilities may come back again
Everyone experiences aches and pains sometimes, especially if they work a physically demanding job. However, when the issue goes beyond mild discomfort, when it flares up during your work and when it impacts your ability to do your job, you should not ignore it.
Particularly if your symptoms persist and bother you repeatedly while you do your work, your pain might be a warning sign that you have started to develop a repetitive strain injury. If the functions you do for your job require repetitive tasks, your work could cause cumulative trauma to your back, your hands or other body parts.
Unlike with minor aches and pains, cumulative trauma won’t go away with a dose of over-the-counter painkillers and a night’s rest. It will continue to flare up and worsen if you don’t get proper treatment.
Repetitive strain injury often lead to workers’ compensation claims
The longer you have performed the same job and the more time every day you spend doing the same tasks, the greater your risk of a repetitive strain injury. Carpal tunnel is a common example of a repetitive strain injury.
It won’t get better if you keep doing the same job without accommodations and treatment. You will need to report the issue to your employer and will likely want to start keeping your own, independent records of every flare-up that you experience.
Notifying your employer means that you can apply for workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical care and even pay disability wages until you can return to work. Notifying your employer also puts you in a position to negotiate for accommodations on the job so that you can keep working even though you have an injury.
Learning more about how to apply for workers’ compensation can help you continue earning without constantly dealing with pain.