Working in retail often means you spend long shifts performing repetitive tasks, whether it’s working the cash register or stocking merchandise. This extended wear on your body makes you more likely to sustain an injury while working.
One of the most common injuries among retail workers are musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSDs affect your muscles, tendons, nerves and joints. They often develop over time due to repetitive and demanding workplace tasks such as pushing, pulling, twisting or lifting.
On average, more than 83,000 retail workers suffer from MSDs each year. Symptoms of MSDs vary, since it can affect your whole body. These are just some indicators to look out for:
- Swelling or stiffness of joints
- Reduced range of motion
- Weakened muscles
- Sleep disturbances
- Sharp pain in wrists, forearms, elbows, neck or back
- Tingling or burning in the hands or fingers
Sometimes, these symptoms can be mistaken for temporary pain or a simple case of overexertion. While that may be the case in the beginning, over time these symptoms can escalate into more permanent damage such as back pain, strains and sprains or carpal tunnel syndrome.
To prevent developing an MSD, take advantage of your break times so you can rest your feet and back. A quick stretch and posture adjustment can help relieve tension or stiffness. Staying physically active can also help keep your muscles strong and MSDs at bay.
While you may be inclined to brush any discomfort off as temporary, it’s important that you don’t discount your pain. These long-lasting injuries can make your job painful — and sometimes even impossible — to perform.
In Oklahoma, workers’ compensation may cover your MSD if you sustained your injuries on the job. If your injury has cost you lost wages or expensive medical bills, you have two years from the date of the injury to file a workers’ compensation claim and receive the benefits you may be entitled to.