Every job has its own hazards and dangers, even those jobs which are thought of as “low-stress” on your body. Many people may not consider the strains their bodies are placed in on a daily basis at work – thinking that since their work doesn’t seem strenuous there isn’t any strain going on. However, sitting at a computer all day for years can have serious results on your body, and many office workers who spend a lot of time on computers can find themselves sufferers of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
What is Carpal Tunnel?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the strain caused by repeated action on the nerves and muscles which travel down the arm, and through the elbow and wrist. This fine series of muscles and fibrous tissue is designed to help stabilize and control fine motor skills, such as hand and wrist movement and coordination. After time and repeated strained usage, these muscles become irritated and swollen, and can cause pain, numbness, and inflammation throughout the arm and wrist.
Many people experience symptoms beginning in the back of the affected hand. They may notice that their hand becomes tired, sore, or swollen after a moderate amount of work. At this stage, it is easy to mistake carpal tunnel for simple muscle strain, and most people take a minor painkiller or anti-inflammatory to deal with the discomfort. After time, and as the condition worsens the sufferer may experience pain through the wrist, the forearm, and even up into the elbow or shoulder. As the situation continues to deteriorate, a person may experience not only pain and discomfort, but tingling, swelling, numbness, or even strong stabbing pain. Under these circumstances, if the condition has progressed this far, a sufferer should make arrangements to see a doctor and find out how to remedy the situation.
Treatment and worker’s compensation
Common early treatments include anti-inflammatories, wrist stretching exercises, wrist braces, and of course, avoidance of the behavior which caused the muscle strain. In some severe cases, you may need to go undergo surgery to correct the injury, but with continued strenuous action the pain of carpal tunnel can return. Only a doctor can diagnose and properly treat carpal tunnel, so if you are worried that you may be suffering from the symptoms of carpal tunnel you may want to consider visiting a doctor to discuss your options immediately.
Worker’s compensation claims for strain and repeat movement injuries can be tricky. When you begin to notice symptoms, file a report with your employer that you have carpal tunnel-like symptoms in your hand or arm, and document what specifically those symptoms are, when you began to notice them, and what causes them to flare up. Your employer may suggest you visit the doctor immediately, or you may choose to do so without direction from your employer.
If you do choose to pursue a worker’s compensation claim for your carpal tunnel injuries, you may want to consider contacting a lawyer immediately to discuss your options. The most common type of workplace injury are strains and sprains and only a worker’s compensation attorney can discuss with you the particulars of your situation and whether or not you could possibly have a claim. It is important to have documentation and to be prepared to discuss both your work and medical history with the attorney in detail.
A worker’s compensation attorney may be able to help you understand your rights and the process of filing a claim for your carpal tunnel injuries and treatment.