You’ve done the same job for years, but recently it has started to cause you pain. Maybe the discomfort starts toward the end of your shift, or maybe it manifests when you go home for the day. If you ignore the symptoms, you may find that they don’t just increase in intensity, they will start occurring earlier every day that you are at work until they affect you throughout your work day.
Many people dealing with the early warning signs of cumulative trauma try to downplay or ignore their symptoms, hoping that they will just go away. This approach puts you at a disadvantage because it deprives you of adequate medical care and could actually worsen your long-term prognosis.
Cumulative trauma will keep getting worse
The rigors of modern employment can do serious damage to the human body. Many companies expect their workers to perform the same function for an entire shift, possibly every single day that they work. Whether you assemble cardboard boxes all day or load pellets onto trailers for shipping, you may eventually notice pain in your hands, arms, shoulder, neck, back, hips or legs caused by cumulative trauma.
Every day that you perform repetitive functions, you cause a small amount of damage to your body, and those small amounts build on top of one another until they start to create painful, unignorable symptoms. The sooner you are honest with yourself about those symptoms and how they relate to your work, the sooner you can get treatment for your injuries and potentially change your job responsibilities so that the symptoms don’t keep getting worse.
Cumulative trauma qualifies for workers’ compensation
Provided that you have a medical diagnosis and that there is a direct connection between your job and the nature of your injuries, you can likely qualify for Iowa workers’ compensation benefits due to cumulative trauma.
Once you inform your employer of the diagnosis and file a claim, you can potentially have your medical treatment fully covered by workers’ compensation. You may even qualify for disability benefits if you need time off of work or different job responsibilities because of your injury.
If you understand that cumulative trauma will not go away or get better but will instead continue to progress, then you may be better prepared to discuss the issue with your employer and pursue the benefits you need to support yourself during your recovery. Learning more about how Iowa workers’ compensation functions and what conditions qualify can help you feel confident about pursuing a claim.