The pain in your wrists is getting worse. Add in the tingling, numbness or weakness you’re experiencing, and it’s getting harder and harder to do your job. You’ve got to see your doctor.
When you do, just what does your doctor diagnose? Carpal tunnel syndrome, and the doctor tells you that the work you do probably caused it. The affliction involves the compression of the median nerve as it passes through the wrist. Workplace actions that require repetitive tasks with force and prolonged use of wrists or hands in an odd position are among the occupational risks for carpal tunnel syndrome.
And if this is what you have, you aren’t alone. The California Department of Public Health looked at workers’ compensation claims in the state and discovered that close to 140,000 of them between 2007 and 2014 were carpal tunnel-related. Among the claims, the highest number came from workers in three areas: the manufacturing of apparel accessories and other apparel; animal slaughtering and processing; and textile, coating mills and fabric finishing.
“While the rates of CTS have been going down in the past decade, there are many jobs that have relatively high rates,” a physician scientist with the health department said. He added that while those jobs already mentioned are among the biggest causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, it also can occur when employees have a job that requires them to work in an awkward position.
Doctors can recommend a number of ways to reduce the pain, starting with improved ergonomics in the workplace to change the position of the wrists. Some workers could benefit from using splits or taking anti-inflammatory medications. If the symptoms worsen, then the patients should continue to seek other treatment options before carpal tunnel syndrome becomes irreversible, such as with nerve damage. Surgery may be an option.
It is vital to treat carpal tunnel syndrome as soon as possible to minimize the risk of permanent damage. Don’t put it off out of fear of medical bills or a big insurance deductible. If your duties at work frequently are linked to carpal tunnel syndrome cases, you should have a case for workers’ compensation coverage. An attorney with expertise in workers comp cases can help you to make a strong case when you file your claim.