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Can Working From Home Cause a Repetitive Stress Injury?

Working long hours from home can increase your chances of suffering from a repetitive stress injury.

Many people were ecstatic when they heard they could now work from the comfort of their homes, following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, these work-from-home measures introduced new challenges for employees, including anxiety and loneliness.

st. louis woman working from home with wrist pain

Not surprisingly, some of these challenges transcend the psychological to touch on the physical. For example, working long hours from home can have devastating effects on your health and posture. It also increases the probability of suffering from a repetitive stress injury.

Let’s consider whether working from home can lead to a repetitive stress injury and your options if you experience such an injury.

Computers and Repetitive Stress Injury

When it comes to repetitive stress injury, your computer is easily your worst enemy. Countless hours bent over the computer increases your chances of getting repetitive stress injuries. This often results from the repetitiveness of typing on the keyboard every day for long hours. Secondly, working from home means endless hours sitting on your desk, leading to injury if you don’t have proper back and arm support.

There’s also the scenario where you’re stretching to reach the mouse or get some folder from your desk. You might end up overstretching, which could also lead to injury. So to answer the question, yes, working from home can lead to a repetitive stress injury.

Common Repetitive Stress Injuries While Working From Home

While working from home, be on the lookout for the following repetitive stress injuries. If you have any of the following symptoms, seek prompt medical advice and care.

Epicondylitis: This injury is caused by repetitive motion of the elbow. It’s also known as tennis elbow because most people get it when they play tennis for long hours.

Cervical Radiculopathy: This occurs when you compress one of the disks on your neck. It’s often a result of cradling the phone on your shoulder for too long. This is a common injury with customer service reps.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Carpal tunnel syndrome is common with workers who use a keyboard frequently. It affects a region on the ligament of your wrist bone called the carpal tunnel and generally causes swelling. It compresses the nerves surrounding it when it swells, leading to pain and sometimes a tingling sensation.

Ganglion Cyst: This is another injury that affects the wrist. It occurs when a jelly-like substance leaks from a tendon. The leaks occur when you overuse a particular joint or muscle. It causes swelling or a sizable lump on the joint in question.

How to Prevent Repetitive Stress Injuries While Working From Home

Here are a few general tips to prevent repetitive stress injuries while working from home:

  • Take regular breaks
  • Stretch during your break to relax the muscles
  • Get a chair with proper back support
  • Give your eyes some rest

If you still suffer from a repetitive stress injury while working from home, you may be eligible for workers’ comp benefits. An experienced St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney can help you file your claim on time and ensure you get the compensation you deserve. 

At the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann, we have over 30 years of experience protecting the rights of injured Missouri workers. Give us a call 24/7 for a free consultation!

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Updated: December 20, 2021