Repetitive stress injuries can affect almost anyone
As one case demonstrates, repetitive stress injuries can affect anyone in any position. Even baristas.
It may not be something that many people think about, but a surprising number of people are at risk of suffering workplace injury due to repetitive stress. While some might think that these sorts of injuries are common only among those, for example, working on a factory floor, recent studies show that they can occur among those working in jobs you might not expect. Recently, one study found that certain repetitive stress injuries are surprisingly common among baristas.
The New York Post recently ran a story detailing the case of a 23-year-old barista from Starbucks who began suffering wrist and elbow pain one afternoon at work. Soon, she was unable to move her arm and she sought the opinion of a doctor. Tests revealed that she had medical epicondylitis – a condition also known as “golfer’s elbow” or “tennis elbow.”
Medical epicondylitis causes pain on the inside of the arm from the elbow to the wrist. The pain is due to damage to the tendons responsible for bending the hand toward the arm. Typically, this condition is caused by activities where a person is repeatedly using great force to bend his or her palm to her wrist. This includes not only swinging a golf club and pitching a baseball, but also activities that baristas do hundreds of times a day: lifting heavy jugs of milk, tamping espresso and making complex beverages.
Unfortunately, it appears as if these sorts of injuries are quite common among baristas. Last year, sprudge.com, a website devoted to coffee news, polled 475 baristas about their health. Nearly 50 percent of those polled said that they had suffered an on-the-job repetitive stress injury. In response to the recent New York Post story, one physical therapist said that she regularly sees baristas who are suffering from chronic repetitive stress injuries.
The good news is that many coffee shop owners are becoming aware of how commonplace repetitive stress injuries are among their employees. While some have rearranged their coffee bars to be more ergonomically friendly, others have hired yoga experts to teach their employees how proper stretching can help prevent injury.
No matter what sort of work you do, if you are suffering from a work-related repetitive stress injury, speak to an experienced worker’s compensation attorney. A worker’s compensation attorney can help you understand your rights and make decisions about what steps to take next. Speak to a worker’s compensation attorney today to learn more.
Keywords: Repetitive stress injuries