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When Work Hurts: Workers Comp And Carpel Tunnel Syndrome

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Many jobs involve the use of your hands and wrists to some extent, but some depend on the almost constant use of them. When the wrist joint becomes overused, it can make simple movements, let alone work, excruciating. If your wrist area is bothering you to the point that you can no longer work at your job, you may have carpel tunnel syndrome and you may be eligible for workers compensation benefits. Read on to learn more.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

The tunnel in this case is a narrow passageway that contains nerves. When those nerves get compressed through use or pressure, problems can develop over time. This pathway of nerves becomes inflamed, and the wrist, hands, and fingers will become almost useless due to pain, swelling, and tingling. If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Pain in the hand and arm, sometimes with shooting pain in the arm

  • Numbness and pain

  • Pain that feels like a hot poker

  • Swollen sensation, even if no swelling is visible

  • Itching

  • Worsened pain at night

  • Burning and tingling

This condition can eventually progress to the point that the nerves and muscles that help you move your thumb can atrophy, leaving you with the inability to grip anything. As you can imagine, this condition is incredibly debilitating.

What can be done?

One of the primary forms of treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is the resting of the affected area, which is something that is nearly impossible to do if you continue in your present job. In some cases only surgery will help, and that involves the severing of a ligament. Once the injury heals, a larger tunnel should be the result, which will hopefully mean less chances for further inflammation. 

How to get workers compensation coverage?

Not all work-related injuries happen in an instant, and carpal tunnel syndrome is a perfect example of one that builds up over time. To help ensure that you get the coverage you need and deserve, do the following:

1. As soon as you know that your carpal tunnel syndrome is a result of your job, let your supervisor know about it.

2. Seek medical treatment, stay in treatment, and follow all medical protocols related to the injury. Let the doctor know that the condition is work-related.

3. Follow up to ensure that a claim is filed with the workers compensation carrier.

4. Keep careful records of all of your treatments.

5. Rest your wrist as much as possible by staying home. Workers compensation entitles you to earn a portion of your pay while you recuperate.

6. Ask about vocational rehabilitation to help you train for a new position that doesn't rely as much on repetitive movements with your hands and wrists.

If you injury fails to heal properly, you may be entitled to a lump sum settlement. Speak with a workers compensation attorney for help on getting a settlement that you deserve.