Carpal Tunnel Syndrome — the Latest in Workplace Injuries
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressive condition in which the median nerve — stretching from the middle of the arm to the palm — becomes compressed. While there are a number of possible causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, including genetic predisposition, pregnancy or injury, it is increasingly diagnosed as a stress injury caused by repetitive motion of the wrist. At one time most sufferers were assembly line workers. Now, many people who suffer from this painful condition spend an extraordinary amount of time on a computer keyboard.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome range from a tingling sensation or numbness in the hands and fingers to sharp pains in the arm, wrist and hand. Some sufferers report the loss of control of the fingers and a feeling of swelling or stiffness. This condition can progress to a point of unbearable pain if it’s not treated and can result in missed work and impaired dexterity.
Preventing and treating carpal tunnel syndrome
Many people with carpal tunnel syndrome find relief through surgical procedures. Surgery is an extreme measure, and results in a prolonged recovery period during which the wrist is immobilized. Before surgery becomes necessary, there are some measures employers can take to reduce their workers’ vulnerability to carpal tunnel syndrome to some extent. Here are some modifications that might help:
- Workplace ergonomics — Work stations should be equipped with stratified desks that allow the keyboard to drop below the screen of the computer.
- Posture — Properly positioned chairs with adjustable height options ensure better blood flow and hand positioning.
- Resting — Workers at computer stations should be encouraged to take frequent breaks during which they stand, stretch, drink water and flex their wrists.
- Stress — All forms of stress can increase illness and injury in the workplace, and stress reduction can greatly increase productivity.
Chronic pain or numbness in the hands, wrist and fingers can seriously interfere with your ability to earn a living. If you are suffering from the early signs of carpal tunnel syndrome, ask your employer to help by making some changes in your work station and schedule until your symptoms subside.
A workplace injury attorney can help you receive monetary compensation for medical bills and income you might have lost due to a work-related injury. Speak to us about your options.