Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in workers compensation cases
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Many workers suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), which is a repetitive stress injury (RSI) that may occur when an employee uses his or her hands to perform the same motions over and over again. This is a common injury in jobs that require gripping, pinching or typing while the wrist is bent, and may lead to other wrist, hand and arm injuries if not treated. Some examples of jobs that may lead to a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome injury are carpenters, welders, grocery checkers, data entry positions, assembly-line workers, mechanics, factory workers, musicians, secretaries, word processing employees, office workers and meat packers.
Some of the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome include
- weakness in the thumb,
- tingling or numbness in the hands, wrist, forearm, or fingers, particularly the thumb or middle fingers,
- difficulty gripping objects, enhanced pain the more the hand or wrist is used,
- wrist, forearm or palm pain,
- greater pain or numbness at night than during the day.
Depending on the severity of the Carpal Tunnel injury, the appropriate treatment may vary. Often conservative therapy begins with an anti-inflammatory drug such as Ibuprofen. As this work injury is often the result of repetitive movements with a bent wrist, a wrist brace may be prescribed to help stabilize the wrist in a neutral position and to help reduce numbness and pain. Depending on your doctor’s recommendation, cortisone shots are sometime administered and may be helpful. But for some injured workers, none of these treatment options are successful and surgery to release the compression and tension on the Carpal Tunnel is recommended. Only your doctor can advise you of the appropriate treatment.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is only one of many different repetitive stress injuries that may happen to a worker from the overuse of a part of the body. Some of the other overuse syndromes, repetitive stress, and nerve injuries that may be the proper subject of a workers compensation claim include:
- Thoracic outlet syndrome
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
- Tendonitis (pain and inflammation in the tendon)
- Shoulder injuries including the Rotator Cuff
- Focal dystonia (also known as writer's cramp)
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
- Trigger finger
- Epicondylitis (elbow tendonitis or tennis elbow)
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
- Bursitis (pain and inflammation of the bursa)
- Ulnar nerve compression at the elbow
- De Quervain's disease or syndrome