Carpal tunnel syndrome is a musculoskeletal disorder that affects the hand, wrist and sometimes the shoulder. The disorder is also called median nerve entrapment, and it is a cluster of symptoms that result from the compression of the median nerve at the base of the palm of the hand that supplies sensation to the fingers.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, carpal tunnel syndrome is the cause of the highest number of days lost among all work-related injuries. Almost half of reported carpal tunnel cases result in 31 days or more of work loss. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that repetitive stress injuries are the most common and costly occupational health challenge affecting hundreds of thousands of workers in the U.S. and costing more than $20 billion each year in workers’ compensation.
What are the symptoms of CTS?
The signs of carpal tunnel syndrome begin with numbness and or tingling in the thumb, index and middle fingers along with a mild discomfort in the wrist. The symptoms will progress from occasional tingling and numbness to constant numbness, tingling and weakness in your wrist and hand which can lead you to drop objects unintentionally.
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
Compression or entrapment of the median nerve is what causes CTS. Repetitive stress is not the only cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. Inflammation in the wrist whether from rheumatoid arthritis, a fractured wrist, or even thyroid disease or diabetes can cause symptoms.
Tips for preventing CTS
To prevent carpal tunnel syndrome in the workplace, make sure that your workstation is ergonomically modified so as to minimize the factors that could contribute to CTS. Here are a few prevention tips:
- Keep your wrists straight when using tools or typing on a keyboard
- Avoid flexing and extending your wrists repetitively
- Take rest breaks as frequently as possible
- Perform strength conditioning and stretching exercises daily
Preventing CTS in the workplace involves making sure that employees who do repetitive tasks have the proper training and ergonomic work stations, but it also involves retraining workers with old habits that are slowly overtime causing cumulative injuries.
If you are a worker who has experienced symptoms of carpal tunnel, or maybe you have even lost time at work due to your inability to perform you work duties, you can contact a workers’ compensation attorney who will discuss your case and advise you of your options.
If you have suffered a workplace injury, contact the Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorneys at Larry Pitt & Associates. We can help you plan for your future.