Dealing With Maritime Repetitive Strain Injuries
The work you do aboard vessels is physically demanding and exhausting. Unfortunately, it also exposes you to the possibility of repetitive stress injuries. The work you do can put enormous strain on the same muscle groups over and over, risking serious injuries that limit your mobility. It’s important to be aware of pain and discomfort so you can seek the treatment you need as quickly as possible.
If you believe you’ve developed stress injuries because of your work in this industry, the maritime law firm at Fuquay Law Firm can help you fight for the compensation you are owed. Call us at 251-219-0329 to schedule a consultation now.
Symptoms of Repetitive Strain Injuries
Almost every area of the body can be ravaged by a repetitive stress injury. Some symptoms to watch out for include:
- Redness in the affected area
- Pain when in use and when at rest
- Tingling or numbness
Noticing these symptoms one time may not be a sign of a repetitive stress injury. However, if these symptoms increase over time, it is worth getting them checked out by a company-approved physician.
Areas of the Body Likely to Be Affected
The areas of the body impacted by stress injuries depend largely on the type of work you do. For example, if you work with power tools, the constant high-powered vibration can impact circulation in your fingers. If you have a tight grip on a rope for several hours every day, this can cause damage to your thumbs and wrists.
Regularly lifting heavy items or boxes can cause repetitive stress injuries to your back and hips. Jobs that involve lots of pulling or rowing can damage the ligaments and nerves of the arms. In general, areas impacted by maritime stress injuries include:
- The fingers and thumb
- Wrists and hands
- Arms and shoulders
- Back and hips
Don’t forget about hearing damage. While this may not be as obvious as the other injuries listed above, consistent exposure to loud noises or loud vibrations can steadily damage your hearing over time.
The first and most obvious treatment recommendation is often to stop doing the work that caused the repetitive strain injuries. Unfortunately, many maritime workers don’t notice or identify these injuries until they have done additional damage to their muscles and joints, which means that rest may not be enough on its own.
Furthermore, resting is often not an option for maritime workers. Whether they work on the dock or on a boat, the nature of the job often means putting in long hours and going weeks without a break. Resting an injury means giving up income and job stability. This is one reason it’s important to report injuries to your supervisor as soon as possible—doing so allows you to seek compensation under maritime law.
Other treatment options depend on the type of injury you have and how far it has progressed. Sometimes, simple stretches and regular physical therapy can undo past damage and strengthen the area enough to prevent future damage. Putting ice on the affected area when it is not in use may also bring some pain relief.
Some severe injuries do not respond well to these treatment options. When an injury has progressed too far for less invasive treatments to work, surgery may be required. This is typically the last resort, as surgery is expensive and requires a long recovery time.
Compensation for Maritime Injuries
While these types of injuries may not be as immediately identifiable as injuries caused by accidents, they still qualify you for compensation under maritime law. Depending on the type of work you do and where you work, you may be entitled to maintenance and cure. This allows you to keep your job, get your medical bills covered, and keep meeting your financial obligations while you recover from your injury and get ready to go back to work.
Discuss Your Options with Fuquay Law Firm
Maritime injuries can disrupt your career and leave you with chronic pain and limited mobility. It’s important to learn about your options for compensation and get the ball rolling after an injury. To find out how we can help, call Fuquay Law Firm at 251-219-0329 or contact us online.
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