A work-related shoulder injury might result from an accident involving sudden trauma or repetitive motion. With a serious shoulder injury, the pain can be severe and debilitating. Range of motion can be dramatically reduced, and an employee might not be able to come close to competently performing his or her job duties.
Common Shoulder Injuries
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint with a wide range of motion. Just think of the motions that a baseball pitcher’s shoulders go through when delivering a pitch, or how you use them when you’re swimming. Shoulders consist of structures like bones, muscles, nerves tendons and cartilage, any of which can become damaged. When one or more of those structures becomes injured, treatment is going to be needed. Some of the more common shoulder injuries follow.
This injury occurs when the proximal end of the humerus partially or completely pops out of the shoulder socket. Once a shoulder is dislocated, it’s prone to subsequent dislocation. The injury is accompanied by intense pain, bruising and shoulder weakness. Once the joint is properly relocated, it will be immobilized.
Rotator Cuff Tears
This part of the shoulder consists of muscles and tendons that attach to the scapula (shoulder blade). A torn rotator cuff can make it painful for a victim to even lift a drink to his or her mouth. Popping might occur along with a crackling sound. Falls are the most common cause of rotator cuff injuries at work, but painters, plasterers and carpenters suffer rotator cuff injuries from repetitive motion. Treatment might consist of anti-inflammatories, physical therapy or surgery.
Irritation can cause the tissue in the rotator cuff to swell. In turn, that swelling can affect blood circulation in the shoulder area. It causes, pain, loss of strength and range of motion in the joint. It’s often seen with workers with jobs like tree trimmers, painters or plasterers who often work with their hands at head level or above. Unless shoulder tendons are torn, impingement syndrome is usually treated conservatively with anti-inflammatory medications and rest. It might take some time to return to work though.
Bursas are sacs in the shoulder that are filled with fluid. They absorb shock and help to reduce friction in the shoulder joints. When bursas are overused, they can cause inflammation. Bursitis is common with construction and industrial workers. Anti-inflammatories and rest are the usual and customary treatment for the condition. This treatment protocol might take some time though.
Shoulder Injuries and Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Your entire claim for workers’ compensation benefits in California turns on whether you suffered a work-related injury. If your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer doesn’t accept your claim, it might argue that you suffered a pre-existing injury, or you injured your shoulder in some other way when you weren’t at work. In any event, you’re going to need a qualified, experienced and California workers’ compensation lawyer right away.
Contact a Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you’ve suffered a serious shoulder injury at work, you probably have a valid workers’ compensation claim. After immediately reporting your injury to your employer, you’ll want to speak with us as soon as possible. Without an income from your job while medical bills are accumulating, and no income is coming into the household, workers’ compensation benefits can keep you and your family afloat until such time as you’ve reached maximum medical improvement and returned to work. That’s what the California legislature intended them to do.