Carpal Tunnel Syndrome affects three to six percent of all adults in the United States. This includes roughly 15 million Americans. While it can result from a variety of activities, the repeated, long-term activities that lead to the development of carpal tunnel are often only performed when fulfilling work duties. That also means that workers can often make an injury claim for their work-related carpal tunnel injuries through workers’ compensation.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel develops when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the palm of the hand, is pressed or squeezed. This pressure often gets worse over time. The median nerve controls movement for your first three fingers and your thumb. It can be extremely painful and affects how well you can move this portion of your hand.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome often affect the thumb and first three fingers in the following ways:
- Tingling, numbness, or a burning sensation
- Loss of dexterity
- Grip weakness
- Pain in the hand
The pain in the hand can sometimes extend up the arm and to the shoulder as well. You may not be able to hold on to objects like you once could, so dropping objects for unexplained reasons is fairly common.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel can be caused by a variety of repeated movements. Certain work positions result in the development of carpal tunnel more often than others. The following jobs or skills often see carpal tunnel injuries:
- Data entry positions
- Working on an assembly line
- Frequent or persistent computer work
- Playing musical instruments
- Agricultural workers
- Positions that require using tools that vibrate (like jackhammers or saws)
Trauma or injury to the wrist can also result in carpal tunnel syndrome. Wrist sprain or strains can result in developing carpal tunnel syndrome as well.
Workers’ Compensation Claims for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If your carpal tunnel syndrome developed because of your work activities, then it is likely compensable under the workers’ compensation system. However, this type of claim can be difficult because you will need to show that your condition was caused by your work activities. Because you use your hands regularly in your daily life, showing that your work activities were the cause of your condition can be difficult.
This type of claim can also be difficult in situations where you have switched jobs. This is because it often takes years to develop carpal tunnel. If your carpal tunnel actually developed while working at a previous job, this can complicate your workers’ compensation claim as well.
Even with these potential complications, making a workers’ compensation claim for carpal tunnel is often still advisable. This condition causes long-term damage and the medical expenses can be extremely high. In addition, those who develop this type of condition may need to seek additional training in another line of work that does not use their hands as much. Training for this type of career move can be costly as well. A workers’ compensation claim can provide benefits that can help with lost earnings, lost earning capacity, and medical expenses.
Getting Help with Your Injury Claim for Carpal Tunnel
Over half of all carpal tunnel injuries occur because of repetitive workplace activities. You can make an injury claim for carpal tunnel through workers’ compensation if you have been injured at work. Call the Jim Glasser Law Firm at 781-679-5300 for more information or to set up a free case evaluation.