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Is carpal tunnel really a work-related injury?

On Behalf of | May 11, 2022 | Workers' Compensation |

Carpal tunnel is a serious repetitive-stress injury that can make it difficult to use your wrist, hand and fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when the ligaments of the wrist are stressed and become inflamed. This causes the median nerve to become compressed, which leads to unusual symptoms.

Carpal tunnel may be linked to your work depending on what you do for a job. For example, if you work in an office and type for many hours a day, carpal tunnel could develop over time. Working with heavy tools that require repetitive hand and wrist movements may cause the development of this condition as well. So, simply said, you can get carpal tunnel syndrome from your job, though it does take time to develop.

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel?

Carpal tunnel has a range of symptoms that may worsen as the condition becomes more severe. Some of the common symptoms people run into include:

  • Clumsiness of the hands
  • Pain in the wrist and hand that begins at night or develops throughout the day
  • Tingling the thumb and fingers
  • A weak grip or weak wrist

In the very early stages of this condition, it is possible to rest the wrist and hand to see some improvement. With regular rest and ice, some people see improvement, too. However, if you have to go back to doing the activities that brought on the symptoms, like typing excessively throughout the day, then the symptoms may come back and worsen.

What changes can you make to address carpal tunnel?

At the first signs of symptoms, you need to inform your employer of the symptoms. You should see a medical provider to determine if you have carpal tunnel or another injury, like tendinitis, that needs to be treated. If you do, then you may ask your employer to make some reasonable accommodations, like adding ergonomic supports in the workplace, and seek workers’ compensation to seek the treatment you need.

Physical therapy, cortisone shots, pain relievers, rest and even surgery can help with this condition. To start with, report that you have an injury, so you can begin focusing on your recovery.