Repetitive motion injuries represent some of the most common injuries in Georgia and throughout the United States, often caused by repetitive activity in the workplace. In fact, this type of injury made up 48% of all reported workplace illnesses in 1990, a significant increase from only 18% in 1980. Repetitive motion disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome develop because of microscopic tears in the tissue of the affected area. When the body is unable to repair the tears as quickly as they are being made, inflammation occurs, which leads to the sensation of pain. If you have suffered a debilitating repetitive motion injury that you believe to be related to your work duties in Georgia, contact our knowledgeable attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries and medical expenses.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which extends from the forearm to the palm of the hand, becomes squeezed or pressed at the wrist. The carpal tunnel is a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand that houses the median nerve and tendons. In some cases, often when the same motion is repeated over and over again at the workplace (such as typing or using vibrating hand tools), swelling may narrow the tunnel and cause the median nerve to be compressed.
Because the median nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers, in addition to impulses to some small muscles in the hand, when the nerve becomes compressed, the result may be weakness, pain, or numbness in the hand and wrist and radiating up the arm. Common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include frequent burning, tingling or itching in the fingers and palm of the hand, particularly the thumb and index and middle fingers.
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome typically involves resting the affected wrist for at least two weeks and avoiding activity that may worsen symptoms. If symptoms last for six months or more, surgery is recommended to sever the band of tissue around the wrist and reduce pressure on the median nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most prevalent condition classified as a repetitive motion injury, which makes its prevention and management a priority in regards to occupational health and safety.
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), reflexive sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) is a “chronic pain condition that is believed to be the result of dysfunction in the central or peripheral nervous systems.” There are a number of possible triggers for RSD, including injury or trauma, shoulder problems and carpal tunnel syndrome, and it is estimated that between 500,000 and 750,000 people suffer from the condition.
Individuals struggling with RSD typically experience symptoms like increased skin sensitivity, burning pain, stiffness and swelling in affected joints, skin temperature changes, changes in nail and hair growth patterns, and decreased ability to move the affected extremity. Some experts say there are three stages of RSD, during which progressive changes affect the muscles, skin, ligaments, joints and bones in the affected area. Treatment for RSD focuses on relieving the painful symptoms associated with the condition, and may include physical therapy, surgery, medication therapy and more.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic disease characterized by severe pain, swelling and changes in the skin. In many cases, the condition initially affects an arm or a leg and then spreads throughout the body, worsening over time. Type I CRPS, also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy, is often triggered by tissue injury and usually involves no underlying nerve injury. Patients with Type II CRPS exhibit the same symptoms, but their condition is clearly linked to a nerve injury.
There is no cure for CRPS and treatment is aimed towards relieving the painful symptoms associated with the condition, so affected individuals can resume their normal lives. Similar to RSD, treatment for CRPS may include surgery, physical therapy, medication therapy, sympathetic nerve blocks, and more.
Our Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Help
Repetitive motion disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome, reflex sympathetic dystrophy and complex regional pain syndrome are, in most cases, debilitating injuries that can affect an individual’s daily life. If you have developed RSD, CRPS or carpal tunnel syndrome, which you believe to be associated with repetitive motions at the workplace in Atlanta, Marietta, or elsewhere in Georgia, consult our reputable lawyers at Rechtman & Spevak for legal help. Our law firm is located in Atlanta, and our legal team has years of experience helping victims of GA workplace injuries pursue the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. Contact our attorneys today to discuss your possible compensation options.