Injuries at the workplace are very common and may be debilitating. Workplace injuries often occur because of high-risk jobs, scarcity of safety devices, lack of training, overwork or repetitive work, and with higher numbers of manual workers. They may affect any part of the body, such as the head, neck, trunk, upper limbs, and lower limbs, or at times multiple locations.
Some of the common types of workplace injuries include:
- Bone dislocations
- Soft tissue injuries
- Injuries requiring limb amputations
Upper extremity injuries, that include your shoulder, elbow and hands, are fairly common while operating heavy machines, lifting heavy objects, driving automobiles, or with falls and include:
- Rotator cuff tear
- Shoulder impingement
- Biceps tendon rupture
- Fractures of the shoulder blade (scapula) or elbow
- Dislocation of the adjacent bones
- Partial misalignment (subluxation) of adjacent bones
- Partial or complete tears of ligaments
The most common symptom of shoulder and elbow injuries is pain. Some injuries may damage the nerves supplying your shoulder and elbow, and cause inflammation, loss of muscle control and loss of sensation. Left untreated, symptoms can worsen to paralysis, limited movement, or immobility.
In order to diagnose workplace injuries, your doctor may perform a thorough physical examination and review the specifics of your injury. Imaging studies such as X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI) scans may also be performed.
Depending on the type and severity of injury, treatment will be initiated. Regardless of the type of injury, the patient should be provided first aid that includes:
- ABC, or checking the airway, breathing and circulation
- Immobilization of the body part affected to avoid further damage
- Shifting to the hospital for further stabilization.