Working in the meat-packing industry has always been tough on your body, but over time, you got stronger and found your job easier than before. Then, a few weeks ago, you started to notice some fatiguing of your muscles. Your arm was sore, and you were having trouble with your elbow joint.

When you told your employer that you’d been hurt, they asked you to use over-the-counter pain medications and to use cold compresses. You were surprised that they didn’t encourage you to go to the hospital or tell you to see your doctor.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), some in-house health units in facilities like yours do encourage workers not to report their injuries, but that’s not right. You should never be penalized for seeking medical care for a workplace injury or made to feel as if you shouldn’t ask for medical care.

Underreporting injuries is a common issue in the meat-packing industry, which is one reason why reporting your injury is so important. Workers must know what their rights are and assert themselves. If you’re hurt and need medical care, you deserve to get it.

The repetitive nature of the work in a meat-packing plant could be what is causing your arm and elbow to hurt. Repetitive-stress injuries are common in factory jobs. The good news is that most of those repetitive-strain injuries can heal, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t seek medical care. You may need to take time off work to heal or to go to physical therapy. Your employer should support you seeking those services and help you with your workers’ compensation claim. If they refuse or discourage you, you may want to learn more about your legal rights.