One of the worst types of injuries that can occur at work is a shoulder injury. These types of injuries range from minor should strains and dislocated frozen shoulders to even mobility impairment. When employees hurt their shoulders at work, their performance can easily be affected. Here are three of the most common shoulder injuries that occur in the workplace and how they’re treated.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
The rotator cuff is comprised of muscles and tendons that are connected to the upper arm bone (humerus). Rotator cuff injures, such as tears, can be the result of repetitive overhead motion or high-impact collisions. In addition to being painful, rotator cuff tears can make you weak and decrease your range of motion.
Many rotator cuff injuries can be treated by resting and applying ice. However, if conservative treatments don’t work, injections into the shoulder joint are often recommended. Physical therapy can also be helpful because it restores flexibility and can strengthen the shoulder.
In severe cases, surgery may be needed, such as arthroscopic tendon repair, which entails a surgeon reattaching the torn tendon to the bone. Other types of surgeries for rotator cuff repair include those, such as bone spur removal or open tendon surgery.
When the upper portion of the arm bone pops out of the shoulder socket, a dislocated shoulder occurs. This typically is the result of a blow to the shoulder or a high-impact fall. There can even be damage to the tissue and nerves surrounding the shoulder. When this happens, you can be more at risk for additional injuries. What’s more, recurrent episodes can cause weakness and make you chronically unstable.
For acute cases, a dislocated shoulder can be treated by immobilizing the arm in a sling for one to three weeks. Physical therapy is usually done while using the sling. Once the sling is removed, it’s important that you continue doing physical therapy exercises.
In some cases, surgery is recommended, although this is often the last resort as rest and physical therapy are effective with most patients. Surgery is done for reattaching the torn tissue to its original location, where it ripped away from the bone. The procedure can be performed through an arthroscopy, involving tiny incisions, or it can be done by doing an open incision.
Shoulder fractures are another type of common workplace injury, especially with employees whose jobs involve a lot of physical activity. The most common shoulder fracture is a clavicle fracture, which often is caused from a fall.
Another type is a broken shoulder or proximal humerus fracture. This is a fracture in which a crack or break occurs in the shoulder bones, creating symptoms of redness, bruising and severe pain. This type of fracture occurs more in older employees, besides people who suffer from the bone disease, known as osteoporosis. There are other shoulder fractures that involve the shoulder blade (scapula).
Most shoulder fractures can be treated by using a sling or some type of shoulder immobilizer, along with taking painkillers and applying ice packs. Only about 10 to 20 percent of shoulder fractures require surgery.
Considerations and Warnings
- Rather than occurring immediately, shoulder pain usually develops slowly. This can make it difficult to determine the root cause of pain.
- Pay close attention to how you sit at your desk. It’s critical that you sit properly so that your shoulders aren’t stiff and uncomfortable.
- Good sitting posture is also beneficial in aligning joints. When sitting, make sure your knees are positioned underneath the level of your hips. Consider that this can force your pelvis to slant forward, which causes your shoulders to relax, so you’re less fatigued, besides have reduced shoulder tension.
- Even swiping items at a checkout stand or operating a computer mouse can lead to shoulder pain.
If you’re the victim of a workplace injury that is due to the negligence of your employer, don’t hesitate to call the Law Office of Joshua Borken. As a highly trained and experienced Minnesota workers compensation attorney, I do everything possible to make sure that my clients receive compensation for all their expenses. Please contact us and find out more about how we can help you.