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5 Common Workplace Injuries (and How We Can Help)

No matter where you work or what you do when you’re there, you’re never exempt from potential accidents. Even seemingly safe workplaces pose risks, from loose carpeting to slippery stairs. In fact, about 60% of job-related accidents happen because of normal, everyday activities, not violent events.

Dr. Jay Shah is a board-certified pain medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation expert at SamWell Institute for Pain Management. His skill and experience have helped patients throughout the Colonia and Livingston communities of New Jersey address their work-related injuries and any subsequent symptoms or conditions they cause.

1. Neck and back injuries

Your spine contains a lot of moving parts that can shift, slip, fracture, compress, and overextend. 

Lifting heavy boxes, being struck by falling objects, and making sudden movements can potentially damage your neck and back. Some of the most common injuries we see are:

But trauma isn’t the only force that can lead to neck and back injuries. Repetitive stress injuries occur gradually when you perform the same task over and over again. 

If your workstation isn’t well-aligned with your body, if you stand all day without the aid of proper footwear or a cushioned mat, or if you work in a bent-over position for hours on end — this is repetitive stress.

2. Shoulder pain

At the heart of the shoulder joint is your rotator cuff, the site of many workplace injuries. Pushing, pulling, carrying, lifting, working with your hands above your head, and using heavy machinery and power tools are all common causes of rotator cuff injuries, and you don’t have to be a construction worker to get one. Teachers, cashiers, waiters, and office workers are also at risk.

If you have pain, loss of function, decreased range of motion, or weakness in your shoulder, Dr. Shah can identify the source of the problem and develop a personalized treatment plan to get you moving again.

3. Knee pain

Of course, trips and falls at work can injure your knee, but so can kneeling (think carpet installation, house cleaning, and agricultural work) as well as constant bending. Over time, these activities lead to repetitive stress and overuse injuries, such as tendinitis, bursitis, meniscus tears, and ligament (ACL) injuries. 

Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (the RICE method) is a good way to treat your knee injury at first, but when the damage is extensive, Dr. Shah can speed up the healing process and relieve your pain with platelet-rich plasma therapy, corticosteroid injections, radiofrequency ablation, and nerve blocks, complemented by physical therapy to help you regain full function. 

4. Hip injuries

Your hip joint is also susceptible to workplace injuries, both acute and chronic. Much like your knee, your hip is most vulnerable when your job requires you to squat, lift, crawl, climb, or pivot. 

Potential hip problems include sudden-onset injuries, like muscle strains in your hip flexor and hamstring, labral tears, and joint subluxation or dislocation, as well as gradual injuries such as piriformis syndrome, stress fractures, and bursitis. 

Physical therapy, acupuncture, and cognitive behavioral therapy are highly effective for many people, but Dr. Shah may also recommend hip joint injections and platelet-rich plasma therapy to help restore damaged tissue and accelerate healing.

5. Hand and wrist injuries

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most-recognized repetitive stress injuries. It’s extremely common among workers who type on a keyboard all day, but it also affects those who work on assembly lines, cut hair, cook and bake, and anything else that calls for the same motion all the time.

With overuse, the muscles and tissues in your wrist become inflamed, which puts pressure on the long median nerve that extends from your forearm to your hand, passing through a tunnel of ligaments. Pain, weakness, tingling, and numbness are all symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Dr. Shah typically starts by immobilizing your wrist to allow the inflammation to subside, and he recommends altering the activities that caused the injury. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.

6. Ankle and foot injuries

The most common type of workplace injury by far is the sprain or strain. These happen when you overstretch a ligament or muscle. They can also happen when you slip, trip, or fall. 

In mild cases, you experience minor swelling and discomfort, but if you’ve torn or severed tissues, your pain might be severe and debilitating. Dr. Shah assesses your injury and develops a customized treatment plan that may include RICE, physical therapy, medication, and possibly surgery.

If you got hurt at work, don’t delay your treatment. Call us today to schedule a face-to-face or a virtual visit, or book one online

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