Musculoskeletal Disorders and How They Impact Your Ability to Work
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the largest category of workplace injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. MSDs are a broad group of disorders that affect the body’s movement or musculoskeletal system.
Some examples of common MSDs include:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Tension Neck Syndrome
- Ruptured Disc
MSDs are also sometimes referred to as “repetitive motion injuries”, but MSDs can be caused by many different factors, not just repetitive tasks. Risk factors for MSDs include the force, repetition, and posture used when repeating a task, but they also include personal habits related to health and posture.
Office workers and workers that engage in difficult physical labor can both be at risk for MSDs. Some workers may be forced into awkward postures when looking at a computer screen, while others must repeatedly lift heavy objects. Each of these tasks, done over extended periods of time, could increase the risk of MSDs.
Symptoms and Treatment of MSDs
The symptoms of an MSD will depend on the specific issue, but joint pain, stiff joints, and swelling are common. One may also find it difficult to perform certain tasks at work without exacerbating the symptoms.
Treating MSDs requires a comprehensive look at the causes and risk factors that are present. For work-related risk factors, there may be ways to reduce the severity of an MSD by implementing ergonomic aids into your workplace. For example, some people with back pain find that a standing desk is more comfortable, or they prefer to periodically switch between sitting and standing.
You may also be able to request different work tasks that do not exacerbate your MSD. Adjusting your personal lifestyle habits may help you recover as well, and physical therapy can be an effective way to rehabilitate your body.
When these remedies are not effective, or your work duties cannot be adjusted, you may have to take a short-term disability leave. A period of recovery may help alleviate your symptoms.
Filing for Long-Term Disability
However, some MSDs will continue to persist, particularly if your regular work duties aggravate your symptoms. At this point, you should file for long-term disability.
Your insurance company will require proof of your disability, treatment, and inability to work. You will need to document all of your symptoms, have certain medical examinations performed, and note all attempted treatments. You need to present a clear case showing proof of your condition and that you have made an effort to get treatment.
Even if you present a strong case, insurance companies sometimes deny claims due to lack of objective evidence, or by having their own medical experts contradict your doctor’s claims. At this point, you should get help from an attorney with experience handling long-term disability claim denials.
Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick has experience handling all types of long-term disability claims. We understand how the insurance companies work, and we can help you fight them. Contact us today for a no-cost case evaluation.
Category: ERISA Law