Carpal tunnel syndrome is a work-related injury that affects employees in a wide range of industries. It is one of numerous repetitive use injuries caused by occupations that require workers to use constant forceful or repetitive actions or motions. Some of the jobs linked with this type of work-related injury include: typing, word processing, sewing, assembly line work in factory-manufacturing jobs, and those occupations associated with the repeated use of vibratory tools such as jackhammers or electric sanders. Carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive use injuries have debilitating consequences that often affect a workers’ ability to perform their job duties.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition in which the nerve that runs to an individual’s hands and fingers becomes compressed. The pressure on the median nerve in the wrist causes carpal tunnel syndrome. The median nerve runs from the forearm down to the hand through a small place in the wrist known as the carpal tunnel. This passageway contains nerves and tendons, and is quite narrow. Any swelling or irritation to that area from repetitive use can pinch the nerve causing extreme pain, numbness or tingling. This nerve controls movement and sensation in the thumb and first three fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome is more common among women.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome tend to be mild in the beginning and then become progressively worse. The initial symptoms of this condition frequently occur at night and some people may experience a bit of relief if they shake their hand. The extent and severity of the symptoms can vary from one person to the next. The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome most often occur in the thumb, index finger and the middle finger; however, one can experience symptoms anywhere on their arm between the hand and the elbow. Symptoms that most individuals experience include:
Difficulty gripping or carrying objects
Difficulty with fine finger movements and coordination
Early treatment improves the chances of stopping the symptoms and for preventing long-term or permanent damage to the nerve. Various treatment options are available to those who are suffering from the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome and are determined by the severity of the condition. The goal of therapy is to reduce the swelling and relieve the pressure on the nerve. Some of the more common therapies include stopping the activities that have caused the symptoms or rest periods during those activities, immobilizing braces or splints to stabilize the wrist, medications such as anti-inflammatory and corticosteroid drugs, physiotherapy, and as a last resort, surgery.
To prevent or even improve the symptoms associated with a repetitive use injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome, workers in at-risk industries need to take some important precautionary measures. Office ergonomics is a study based set of guidelines that recommend how a workstation should be set up including proper placement of a desk, computer, keyboard and chair. Individuals employed in high-risk industries must take frequent rest breaks, use proper body mechanics and maintain good posture. Wrists should be maintained in a natural position as much as possible. Rotating jobs amongst workers should be considered. In addition, incorporating exercise into your daily routine can help to improve strength and flexibility and reduce the risk of repetitive use injuries.
As with other workplace injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome injuries may be compensable through a Workers’ Compensation claim. Employees who develop symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome caused by repetitive-use job responsibilities should report their conditions to their employers immediately, and seek medical treatment by a physician. Many insurers initially deny claims for carpal tunnel syndrome because it is often difficult to prove that these types of injuries are caused solely by the work activities.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome or any other type of repetitive stress injury, we encourage you to seek legal guidance from a qualified carpal tunnel syndrome attorney at the law firm of E.S. Borjeson & Associates. Proving that a carpal tunnel injury is work-related is no easy task as many insurers deny the claims in order to further investigate if other contributing factors were involved. Therefore, it is necessary for these individuals to have the support and guidance of experienced an Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer who knows how to handle the intricacies of these difficult cases whether it is through an initial application or the appeals process. We can help determine what legal options are available to you, guide you through the process, assist with obtaining the proper medical evidence, and file the paperwork correctly and in a timely manner.
If you or a family member is suffering from a work-related repetitive use injury or carpal tunnel syndrome, contact Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at E.S. Borjeson & Associates so that we can help you get the necessary and fair compensation that you deserve. Call us today to schedule a free consultation or submit an online contact form.