Working a physically demanding job may have given you a competitive wage for years. You may have a healthy sense of pride in how hard you work to support your family. You might ignore the signs of minor injuries or even go to work when you feel sick to maximize how much you earn.
Unfortunately, a strong work ethic combined with persistent pain at work could combine to leave you unable to do the same job in the future. Whether your hands start cramping halfway through the afternoon or you feel a twinge in your back every time you turn, pain is a way for your body to tell you to stop what you’re doing. Ignoring the signs of a work-acquired injury could eventually mean not being able to work anymore.
Not all trauma is abrupt or immediate
Traumatic injuries take many different forms. Some of them are the result of a single incident, like an equipment malfunction or a car crash. However, performing physical labor might mean causing multiple small traumas to your body every day.
Repetitive stress or motion injuries develop over weeks or even years. While there may not be one specific triggering incident, these injuries are the result of your work. Doing the same motion again and again, without enough rest can damage your muscles, joints and bones.
Left untreated, those injuries might become severely debilitating in time. Even if they don’t prevent you from doing your work, they might cause enough pain to affect your job.
Chronic pain reduces your productivity at work
Even if you can ignore the pain and power through to get your job done, you won’t do as good of a job as you could in better health. Research into chronic pain and productivity has shown that pain on the job can result in five hours of lost productivity every week. Pain slows you down. It makes it harder to focus and can even increase your risk of getting into arguments with your co-workers.
In other words, it will benefit you and your quality of life to address your repetitive motion injury through a workers’ compensation claim. At the same time, your actions will benefit your employer and your co-workers by helping you do your best work.