Injuries or disease that involve the shoulders is fairly common. It is correct to say that there are several ways in which an individual could injure their shoulder while working and many industrial diseases that can affect a person’s shoulder. This article and a subsequent one will discuss common shoulder injuries that lead to worker’s compensation claims.
When an employee’s work requires them to carry out repetitive and heavy use of their arms and shoulders this could result in a shoulder injury. As with any worker’s compensation claim, the injury's cause takes center stage in the claim. Some common shoulder injuries in worker’s compensation claims include the following:
- Shoulder sprain and strain - a sprain or strain often refers to a soft tissue injury. Soft tissues include muscles, tendons and ligaments. Such kinds of injuries are prevalent in the workplace, especially where one’s job duties involve reaching overhead, lifting, pushing and pulling. Such activities, when done repetitively, result in shoulder sprains and strains. However, medical doctors do not always define sprains and strains in the exact same way. Some may use the terms interchangeably. However, a strain means damage to muscle or tissue that are attaching a muscle to a bone. A sprain, on the other hand, refers to damage to tissues connecting bones. When the injury entails spraining or straining, it is characterized by stretching, fraying or tearing the soft tissue. Common symptoms associated with strains and sprains include pain, bruising and swelling. Often such injuries may take weeks or a few months to be resolved. And treatment may be characterized by over-the-counter painkillers, massage or physical therapy or being prescribed cortisone or steroid injections to reduce pain and swelling.
- Shoulder impingement - this injury occurs after the pinching of soft tissues in the shoulder. The pinching happens during arm movement and results in pain, swelling and sometimes weakness in the arm. Shoulder impingement is closely related to overhead work activities, and treatment may include physical therapy, home exercise or cortisone or steroid injections to relieve pain and swelling.
- Shoulder tears - various shoulder tears can happen. However, the most common are rotator cuff tears and SLAP (superior labrum anterior posterior) tears. Rotator cuff tears occur when a rotator cuff tendon rips partially or fully. While it may sound painful, at times, tears happen without any symptoms occurring. When symptoms are present, they include pain, stiffness, difficulty moving the arm and weakness. Rotator cuff tears are common in construction work and with health care workers. They are closely linked to repetitive overhead work activities, and treatment includes physical therapy, injections or surgery in severe cases. SLAP tears are linked to the labrum[Shoulder Labrum Tear | Johns Hopkins Medicine], which surrounds the shoulder socket. A SLAP tear occurs in the upper part of the labrum and extends to the back and front. Symptoms include deep pain, difficulty sleeping and popping and clicking of the shoulder. Injuries are characterized by development over time or can happen suddenly. Such an injury is closely linked with repetitive overhead work activities over a period of time.
For legal advice on filing a worker’s compensation claim, speak to a worker’s compensation personal injury attorney Alaska [https://www.crowsonlaw-wasilla.com/alaska-personal-injury-lawyers/] today.