Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The carpal tunnel is a passageway from the wrist to the hand, and is comprised of tendons, ligaments, and bones. Sometimes, the nerves and tendons running through the carpal tunnel become compressed, causing pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in the hand and wrist. This musculoskeletal disorder is known as carpal tunnel syndrome. Usually the compression is caused by swelling or thickening of the tendons in the carpal tunnel, which is very narrow.
Left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can be very painful and result in a loss of movement in the hand and arm. Simple daily tasks, such as getting dressed and brushing teeth become difficult to do and those affected may be unable to continue working. Workers who develop carpal tunnel syndrome as a direct result of their job may file for workers’ compensation benefits.
Types of Workers Affected by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome can happen because of an isolated accident, but more often, it is a repetitive stress injury; in other words, it develops slowly over time from repeating the same work-related tasks day after day. Any job that requires workers to use the same muscle groups puts them at risk for injury. Some of the workers who frequently develop carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Office workers who type on a computer or write documents for hours every day
- Assembly line workers who perform repetitive tasks on an assembly line, including those in the meat packing, fish packing, poultry, cleaning, manufacturing, and sewing industries
- Kitchen workers who spend their time chopping, peeling, slicing, or cleaning
- Cashiers and stock room workers
This partial list indicates that carpal tunnel syndrome is not confined to any one industry, but can affect any worker subjected to repetitive stress of the hand, wrist, and arm area.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Workers experiencing the following symptoms may have carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Pain, numbness, tingling, or burning in the hand, especially in the thumb, index, ring, and middle fingers
- Difficulty grasping things due to weakness or numbness
- Sporadic shock-like sensations running through the thumb, index, ring, and middle fingers
- Loss of awareness of where the hand is
- Tingling or pain traveling up the forearm to the shoulder area
The symptoms may start gradually and worsen over time. They can appear at any time, sometimes disturbing sleep patterns. During the day, activities such as holding a book or phone may aggravate symptoms. Steroid injections are sometimes used to alleviate symptoms, as well as the use of a splint. In severe cases, surgery may be needed to release the pressure on the nerves and tendons.
Filing a Claim for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome because of your job, you should report your injury immediately to your employer and seek medical treatment. A successful claim can provide you with benefits that cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and disability if you are unable to continue working because of your injury.
Your employer may not believe that your injury is related to your work, in which case you may need the assistance of a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer on your side, who knows the deadlines for filing claims and the proof you will have to submit to be successful.
South Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks LLP Help Injured Workers
No matter what your injury or illness may be, the South Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks LLP have the knowledge and experience to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. We will help you navigate the process so that you can concentrate on your recovery. Call us at 856-761-3773 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we help injured workers throughout South Jersey, including the City of Camden.