Repetitive Stress Injury...Need Financial/Career Advice

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abs9986
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 7:25 pm

Repetitive Stress Injury...Need Financial/Career Advice

Post by abs9986 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:33 am

I am 26 and live in the State of Maryland with B.S in Business. Since graduating, my career has focused on process improvement, business analysis, and operations.

My most recent position was a Business Analyst where I was employed 5 months. Due to the nature of the work, I was on the computer nearly 100% of time on a desk that was too high and chair that was too low. Over the course of those months, I began developing pain in my right arm (mouse arm) that continued getting worse. I then switched to my left arm when the pain become intolerable in my right arm. Unfortunately, the same thing happened in my left arm. I ultimately lost my job in Sep. 2012 due to "contract changes" aka because I became too injured to use the computer for my job.

Since Sep. 2012, I have seen multiple Drs. who have diagnosed me with tendonitis and ulnar neuropathy. I have not been working for 5 months, but the pain really hasn't gotten any better - which the Drs. are having trouble explaining. I can't really use a computer for more than 10min at a time without a good amount of pain throughout my arms, wrists and hands. This applies to heavy lifting and any other repetitive activity. The Drs. thought I should be better within 6months - 1 year - but with 5 months already complete - I have to accept the fact that this injury will take a lot longer to heal or never heal.

So here are my questions:
1. Having come from a career where I was exclusively using the computer, what other options do I have for work? Does anyone have any thoughts on careers that do not use the computer the majority of the time or other repetitive activities?

2. Seeing as how my degree is in business - would I need to go back to school to receive training for a more realistic career?

3. Financially, I have been living off my savings (about 40K). I also have supportive parents, but ultimately my savings are declining (I have lots of medical bills including physical therapy and Dr. visits etc). Do I qualify for any sort of disability or other financial aid? Does anyone have any thoughts on ways I can save money during this difficult time?

Note - I applied for workers comp which has been a disaster. I don't know if it is like this for others, but the insurance company took months to even process my case and have been so difficult. They denied my claim and I went to court to argue my case. So maybe I have a 50% chance of willing the case. Even so, it would only cover some medical bills and a couple months of time off work because the Dr. will not recommend that I be off work any longer even though I am not getting any better.

I really want to be working again - I'm just having a lot of trouble thinking of what I can do. This has been extremely difficult for me and my family so any suggestions or advice are much appreciate.

Thank you.

reggiesimpson
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Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:47 pm

Re: Repetitive Stress Injury...Need Financial/Career Advice

Post by reggiesimpson » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:20 am

I sounds like you have a "repetitive stress syndrome" which should be covered by worker comp. The MDs should be documenting this. Revisit them. Get a hold of an occuparional therapist to better understand your work positions now and in the future. Speak to a WC atty. Good luck.
Last edited by reggiesimpson on Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Rob5TCP
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Location: New York, NY

Re: Repetitive Stress Injury...Need Financial/Career Advice

Post by Rob5TCP » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:23 am

Years ago I remember someone using Dragon Naturally because of their pain in using a keyboard.
See if this is a realistic option.

Chukar
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Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:01 pm

Re: Repetitive Stress Injury...Need Financial/Career Advice

Post by Chukar » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:12 am

I agree with reggiesimpson to see an occupational therapist to help you determine what your career options are. I would recommend one who specializes in or is familiar with assistive technology. An occupational therapist should be able to help you do what you need to do at work while healing your injuries.

Please don't think that your ONLY option is to find a job that doesn't require using the computer. I work in the assistive technology field and Rob5TCP has a great suggestion. Dragon naturally speaking is frequently used by people with repetitive stress injuries in order to use the computer without using the mouse and keyboard. It will take some learning to become proficient with this, but likely a great fit for your situation. Also there are lots of other options too - lots of people use the computer without using their hands by using alternative mice and keyboards.

I don't know much about the assistive technology program in your state, but check it out. Most states programs help people with disabilities (including people with repetitive stress injuries) to find the right type of technology to help them do what they need to do in life. http://www.mdod.maryland.gov/mtap%20home.aspx

Good luck!

Jeanz
Posts: 119
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:58 pm

Re: Repetitive Stress Injury...Need Financial/Career Advice

Post by Jeanz » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:27 am

I had a similar, though shorter-lived, problem, and since what gave me trouble was the mouse and not the keyboard I was able to use a Fellowes touchpad instead. This was some years ago, but I think they are still available.

Oh, yes -- the other things that helped were braces (available without prescription) at night and supportive fingerless gloves during the day. Later, I worked at home and found that a cordless mouse was also helpful.

Default User BR
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Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 7:32 pm

Re: Repetitive Stress Injury...Need Financial/Career Advice

Post by Default User BR » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:34 pm

I switched to using mouse pads with a squishy bump Example and that helped me. As you are suffering persistent symptoms, it might not help but perhaps worth a try. Medical advice is off-topic here.


Brian

arthurb999
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Re: Repetitive Stress Injury...Need Financial/Career Advice

Post by arthurb999 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:05 pm

Why didn't you just get an adjustable chair?

Oddlot
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:01 pm

Re: Repetitive Stress Injury...Need Financial/Career Advice

Post by Oddlot » Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:43 pm

abs9986 wrote: Over the course of those months, I began developing pain in my right arm (mouse arm) that continued getting worse. I then switched to my left arm when the pain become intolerable in my right arm. Unfortunately, the same thing happened in my left arm.
I used to "mouse" with my right hand until I started having neck/back/arm pain some years ago. I switched the mouse to the left side, and unlike your experience, I have been OK since. A mouse to the right of a desktop keyboard is farther off-center from the main section of the keyboard since the number pad is on that side; thus I find it easier to maintain good posture with the mouse to the left since the mouse is closer in. Also, I started using keystroke commands as much as possible, which further helped maintain posture as well as improved productivity.

Oddlot

carolinaman
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Location: North Carolina

Re: Repetitive Stress Injury...Need Financial/Career Advice

Post by carolinaman » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:06 am

It sounds like you have a good workers comp case. This is not the long term solution but should help you pay bills and transition to the long term. Make sure you have a good workers comp attorney representing you. You will probably not be successful without one. The company gave you a poor work setup which led to your problem.

As others have stated, yours is a common problem. There should be therapists who specialize in this type of problem who can help you. Not using computers would really limit your job/career choices. Process improvement and business analysis are good areas that should have strong demand. Hopefully, you can find a solution to your problem and continue your career. Best wishes.

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