Overexertion and Muscle Strain Injuries in the Workplace

Do Colorado workers’ compensation laws provide a remedy for overexertion injuries at work?

Overexertion and muscle strains are in the top 5 of the most frequent injuries that happen in the workplace. Overexertion accounts for an estimated 35 percent of work-related injuries, leading to more than 300,000 absences annually. These injuries cost billions of dollars each year.

With so many American workers affected each year, many workers are left wondering if their injuries are covered under the state’s workers’ compensation system. Continue reading to explore your rights and learn more about these especially common types of workplace injuries.

Overexertion and muscle strain by occupation

Up to 40 percent of the human body consists of muscles, connective tissues and joints. Workers may sustain an injury to these parts of the body whether they are engaged in a sedentary occupation or in a field that demands physical labor.

The industries and occupations where overexertion and muscle strains are most often reported include:

  • Business services
  • Construction
  • Education
  • Health care
  • Government
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Professional services
  • Transportation
  • Warehousing

Overexerted body parts

Strains occur when a muscle endures excessive pressure, repeatedly performs the same motion or becomes stretched beyond normal capability. The strain leads to a tear in the muscle, which causes subcutaneous bleeding and bruising. Pain is caused by irritation of nerves at the injury site.

Muscle strains and overexertion lead to injuries in the following areas:

  • Blood vessels
  • Cartilage
  • Ligaments
  • Tendons
  • Joints
  • Muscles
  • Nerves
  • Spinal discs

Causes of overexertion injuries

Work-related overexertion injuries can occur secondary to 1 or more of the following:

  • Repetitive motions
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Failure to use proper body mechanics when lifting
  • Lifting excessive weight
  • Pulling or pushing heavy objects
  • Stretching
  • Sitting or standing for an inordinate length of time
  • Exposure to excessive vibration

Preventing overexertion in the workplace

Here are some tips for avoiding overuse and strain injuries in the workplace:

  • Stay physically fit as required by your job. Regularly stretch and practice strength training to help build a strong core, which prevents soft tissue injuries.
  • Before lifting, remember to keep your back straight and lift with your legs.
  • Limit the amount of time you’re engaged in repetitive motions.
  • Change your position every 20 to 30 minutes.
  • If you’re confined to a desk, ensure that frequently used items are within reach. Use a footrest if possible, and adjust the height of your computer keyboard.
  • When you overexert or strain a muscle, immediately notify your employer and consult with a health care provider before the injury worsens.

Treating soft tissue injuries

Cold compresses or ice packs often reduce inflammation and swelling. Warmth is then applied to encourage circulation and reduce discomfort. Depending on the extent of the injury, a health care provider may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication. They might also recommend having an X-ray or another type of imaging study to determine the severity of the injury. Employees need to adhere to the physician's recommendations and maintain documentation of the consultation. Failure to do so may result in the rejection of a workers’ compensation claim.

What to do after an overexertion injury at work

When an injury occurs on the job, employees need to report the accident to their supervisor immediately, then seek medical intervention.

After filing a workers’ compensation claim, consult an experienced attorney at the Babcock Law Firm to make sure you’re getting treated fairly.

The more serious your injury, the more imperative it is for you to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. The Babcock Law Firm has helped hundreds of injured Colorado workers successfully handle their work injury claims from start to finish. If you’ve recently suffered a work injury, contact us today to talk about your case. Your first consultation is free.

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