Carpal Tunnel Syndrome And Repetitive Motion Injuries
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) gets very little media attention. It’s not a flashy injury, like ring degloving or burns. It is, however, a life-altering injury, and one that is frequently attributable to the workplace. If you developed CTS from work-related repetitive movement, Meshbesher Law Firm can help.
Recognizing The Symptoms
CTS is the name given to a set of symptoms caused by pressure on the median nerve. This is a nerve that goes from the forearm to the hand through a space in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. When this nerve is pinched, fingers and hands feel numbness, tingling and weakness. Often, these symptoms first crop up at night, and the sufferer can relieve them by shaking his or her hands.
Symptoms can include:
- Pain between the hand and elbow
- Pain in the index, thumb and middle fingers
- Weakened grip
- Lost dexterity
- Inability to pinch or grab
Causes, Diagnosis And Treatment
CTS has a couple of causes, and anything that causes swelling of the tendons in the wrist or causes the carpal tunnel to shrink will do it. A major cause is the repetitive motion of someone’s hands. This is especially true if the repetitive movement involves the hands being lower than the wrists, such as the sort of motion that comes with typing or working a cash register.
A doctor tests for the syndrome by checking the feeling and strength in a patient’s shoulders, arms, wrists and hands. The doctor might have the patient perform the Phalen’s maneuver or wrist-flex test, where the patient presses their hands together to flex the wrists as far back as possible and see if this causes tingling.
Once diagnosed with CTS, the patient might have to wear a wrist splint at night, stop the activities that caused the numbness and pain and ice the wrist at regular intervals. If the pain will not abate after months of treatment, a patient may need surgery where the ligaments in the wrist are severed.
It is often hard for anyone with CTS to return to the job, and treating it can mean time off work. Work-related CTS is covered by worker’s compensation benefits in Minnesota. If the worker and the worker’s lawyer can prove that the condition was caused by the repetitive motions of the job, the worker can receive benefits for:
The difficult part of getting these benefits is that the worker must prove that the syndrome came from work. The symptoms can develop months after leaving the job that caused the injury, and it can take years to develop.
Fighting Back Against Insurance Companies And Employers
Insurance companies frequently try to claim that CTS came from some nonwork-related condition. The company may try to say it stems from a hobby or a health condition. A good lawyer can set them straight and make sure the sufferer gets all the benefits that he or she deserves.