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The risk of work-related carpal tunnel syndrome

Hand injuries are some of the most devastating ailments you can suffer. Apart from the pain, a hand injury could prevent you from performing even the most basic tasks. But while you can try to protect your hands from physical damage, your work could still lead to medical complications like carpal tunnel syndrome.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the carpal tunnel within your wrist gets compressed or irritated. The compression puts pressure on the median nerve that runs through the tunnel, reducing blood flow to the hand and causing the ailment.

The symptoms of carpal tunnel include:

  • An electric shock sensation in your hands
  • Burning sensation
  • Grip weakness
  • Numbness in the hands or fingers

While these symptoms can come and go, they can last longer as your condition worsens. It might even come to the point that the sensations last indefinitely.

Causes of carpal tunnel syndrome

Various factors can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, such as:

  • Heredity: If you have a family history of carpal tunnel syndrome, there’s a good chance that your family has narrower carpal tunnels and is more prone to the syndrome.
  • Injuries: Wrist fractures, dislocations and strain injuries can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Medical conditions: Complications such as rheumatoid arthritis can lead to inflammation in the wrists, leading to carpal tunnel syndrome. Changes in blood sugar levels – like the ones experienced by people with type 2 diabetes – can also lead to similar inflammation.
  • Repetitive work motions: Repeating movements like typing on a keyboard or hand movements during sports can also strain the median nerve.

If your job has you constantly using your hands for repetitive work, you may be at risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. Assembly line workers, mechanics, agricultural workers, and individuals who type a lot such as writers, are some of the most at risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Can workers’ compensation cover carpal tunnel syndrome treatment?

Without any health insurance, the surgical treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome costs a jaw-dropping $7,000 per hand. Fortunately, workers’ compensation can cover treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. However, claims administrators might deny your claim for carpal tunnel syndrome if they think a nonwork-related factor caused the ailment instead.

You can challenge a claims administrator’s denial through a hearing. Because of the complexities of the claims process, it would be ideal to consult with an attorney who can stand for you in the hearing. An attorney won’t just represent you in court but also keep you updated with the status of your claim and ensure your rights as a worker are protected.