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Common signs of overexertion in medical professionals

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2024 | Blog, Workers' Compensation

Work in the medical field can be surprisingly physical in addition to the mental workload. Unfortunately, this leaves nurses, aides and physician assistants susceptible to overexertion.

More than just general fatigue, overexertion can have intense physical and even psychological effects.

Signs and symptoms of overexertion

Recognizing signs of overexertion may help a person mitigate the most serious effects. The four most common physical symptoms include:

  1. Exhaustion: Overexertion might start with extreme tiredness that can lead to irritability, dizziness and irrational thinking
  2. Nausea: Queasiness in the stomach could be due to working too hard and dehydration
  3. Faintness: A sudden sensation of lightheadedness or dizziness can be another warning sign
  4. Acute pain: A sharp and intense discomfort is indicative of potential strain

Identifying these signals is important as they indicate that the body is reaching its limits. Those who overexert themselves can experience all sorts of injuries. For example, joint dislocations, muscle sprains, tendonitis and stress fractures are possible.

Furthermore, the irritability from fatigue and pain can devolve into abnormally low motivation. A sufferer might even experience chronic anxiety or depression.

Tips for avoiding and treating overexertion

By staying alert to the signs of overexertion, workers can take timely actions to prevent further harm. A good first step is regular stretching to prep the body for any strenuous activity.

Workers also need to take their time when making patient transfers, being sure to use good posture and techniques. Taking appropriate breaks can also prevent overexertion, as are adequate nutrition and hydration.

Someone who experiences overexertion usually needs more than a night’s rest. The worst injuries can require surgery or other medical treatments. However, in the earliest stages, the injury may simply require sufficient rest time for healing, a cold compress and elevation to reduce swelling.

When an intense work environment results in overexertion, the employee may be able to cover the cost of treatment with workers’ compensation insurance. Still, overexertion can be difficult to prove, which is why watching for the signs and symptoms can assist with a claim.