When you think of work-related injuries, your mind might turn to back problems. While that is the most common musculoskeletal issue that comes from work, it is far from the only one. Second on the list is shoulder injuries. These can be physically limiting, which can lead to time off work. In the case of severe damage for a person who has a demanding job, the problem can be career ending.
Addressing shoulder injuries can be rather difficult because you use your arms for many tasks during the day. It also might difficult to determine the root cause of the pain you are experiencing. It is possible that the symptoms are coming from another area, which complicates some cases even more.
Work-related risks and prevention
Employers have a duty to keep the workplace safe. This includes providing protections from shoulder injuries and protocol that alleviates pressure from the shoulders when workers have to do overhead lifts and similar tasks. Things like heavy lifting without assistance should be minimized. It isn’t enough for employers to state the safety protocol. Instead, it must be included in the culture of safety at the company. Proper equipment must be provided and reminders about procedures are critical.
Shoulder anatomy and radiating pain
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint, but there are also many muscles, ligaments and bones in the area. Any of these structures can cause problems if they are injured in any manner. Shoulder pain can also be due to other factors, including pleurisy, which occurs when a person has pneumonia or certain other lung conditions. Problems with the gall bladder, liver and heart can also cause these symptoms.
As people age, tendons and other shoulder structures may begin to degenerate. Conditions like osteoarthritis can also occur. These make the person more likely to suffer from shoulder injuries, but proper body mechanics and ergonomic items can be preventative.
For injured workers, getting medical care is a priority. Shoulder injuries often require the impacted arm be allowed to rest and heal. Workers’ compensation can help them to get the care they need. It might also provide benefits for partial wage replacement so the person has some income for basic life needs while they heal.