What Is Carpal Tunnel?
Is an example of a Repetitive Stress Injury. Carpal tunnel syndrome is an excruciatingly painful and debilitating condition plaguing many individuals today. Wrist injuries make it both challenging and difficult to work and perform even the simplest tasks at times.
These types of injuries can affect a person’s wrists, hands, and arms. Symptoms often come and go and are often worse at night. You may wake up in the morning with achy and numb fingers and need to “shake it out” to return feeling to the hand. However, if left untreated, or if unsuccessfully treated, people are faced with adapting their lifestyles to accommodate this debilitating issue.
“Minnesota Statutes 176.135, subs. The Minnesota workers’ compensation statutes entitle an employee to reasonable and necessary medical treatment and supplies to cure or relieve the effect of the work injury.
The employer shall:
- Furnish medical treatment for those who are injured while working.
- Furnish any medical, psychological, surgical, and hospital treatment, including medical, and surgical supplies, apparatus, and medicines…
- Furnish surgical treatment…when the surgery is reasonably required to cure and relieve the effects of the personal injury sustained on the job
- Pay for the reasonable value of nursing services provided by a member of the employee’s family in cases of permanent total disability
Individuals who suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome experience numbness, tingling, or a burning sensation in the fingers. They may also experience “shock-like” sensations in the wrist that radiate from the forearm up to the shoulder. In severe cases, a person may experience weakness in the hands, making it difficult to hold onto things, often dropping them while attempting to perform simple daily tasks.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Repetitive motions are most often the cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Repetitive flexing motions or extending the wrist or hand in unnatural positions or performing the same hand or wrist motions over an extended period can exacerbate the condition. However, it can also be brought on by trauma, such as a car accident, workplace accident, or another type of personal injury.
Certain health conditions may predispose people to carpal tunnel syndrome, such as:
- Individuals with smaller “tunnels”
- Pregnant Women
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Thyroid Gland Imbalance
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome High-Risk Job Duties
Many people work in jobs that involve repetitive motions; this puts them in a higher risk category for developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Activities that can trigger carpal tunnel syndrome or aggravate an existing condition include:
- Assembling items with small pieces
- Handling objects on conveyor belts
- Operating vibrating power tools
- Scrubbing, or using sprayers
- Using keypads
- Using tools such as ratchets
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the most common occupations in which carpal tunnel syndrome occur include:
- Braziers, cutters, welders, and solder techs
- Clerical work and data entry
- Highway maintenance workers
- Installers – power lines and cable
- Institutional or cafeteria cooks
- Painters, construction, and maintenance workers
OSHA & Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
OSHA guidelines state, “…This means that exposure at work either caused or contributed to the onset of symptoms or aggravated existing symptoms…unless the illness was caused solely by a non-work-related event or exposure off-premises, the case is presumed to be work-related. “
Examples of working conditions that may elicit work-related Carpal Tunnel Syndrome include:
- Awkward positions of the upper body, i.e., reaching above the shoulders or behind the back, and angulation of the wrists to perform tasks
- Cold temperatures
- Excessive vibration from power tools
- Forceful exertions, usually with the hands
- Repetitive and prolonged physical activities
Often, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be managed without surgery, by wearing a wrist brace or splint, and learning how to reduce pressure on the median nerve. When the surrounding tissue becomes swollen or inflamed, it presses in on the median nerve, narrowing the “tunnel”, thereby creating the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Cortisone injections, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy may also help relieve pain.
However, depending on the severity, surgery may be the only option. Surgery involves cutting the ligament to relieve pressure on the median nerve. Depending on the individual, recovery may last up to a year. Regardless of how your CTS is treated, it can be an expensive injury.
Compensation for CTS
Since repetitive work tasks are the most common contributors to these types of injuries, employees may qualify to file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer. Worker’s comp provides compensation for medical bills and lost wages and even retraining for a new position. In other cases, such as those caused by accident-related trauma, compensation through a personal injury lawsuit may be available.
Get Results from Our Mankato Workers’ Compensation Attorney
A neurologist will perform a neurological examination and request an EMG test, a diagnostic test that measures the electrical activity of muscles and nerves. This test will help your neurologists diagnose the severity of your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and determine the best treatment. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Doctors recommend that treatment begin as early as possible after symptoms become noticeable.
An approved workers’ comp claim for Carpal Tunnel syndrome means receiving the necessary medical care that will help you heal as well as recover any wage-loss benefits you need to pay expenses during your recovery period.
To get these benefits, it starts by talking to an experienced attorney. The Law Firm of Harvey & Carpenter has over 50 years’ experience combined to help you with your claim. We pride ourselves on successfully helping people like yourself get their claim settled.
Harvey & Carpenter handles workers’ compensation, workplace injury and accidents, social security disability, and personal injury cases. And if you sustained the injury while on the job, we gather the necessary paperwork, such as the injury report, copies of your medical records, and any other relevant information needed to present your case.
Contact Mankato Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Attorneys Harvey & Carpenter
To learn more about how Harvey & Carpenter, Attorneys at Law can assist you in receiving due compensation for your carpal tunnel or wrist injury, or any other legal issues, contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.