Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is defined by Mayo Clinic as hand and arm condition resulting in paresthesia (numbness), tingling, pain, and other symptoms caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist. The carpal tunnel itself is a narrow passage on the bottom of your hand that is supposed to protect the nine tendons used when bending your fingers.
When the carpal tunnel is compressed, the underlying nerves are also compressed, causing pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness of the hand and arm, which are the common symptoms of CTS. While there are natural causes of CTS related to the anatomy of one’s wrist and other health problems, one of the main causes of carpal tunnel syndrome is repetitive patterns of hand uses often related to one’s occupation.
For this reason, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) classifies CTS as one of the major types of workplace injuries and further classifies CTS as a work-related musculoskeletal disorder (MSD).
Additionally, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), states that carpal tunnel syndrome is not confined to any one work environment, though it is more prevalent in industries involving assembly line work such as manufacturing, sewing, cleaning, meat, poultry, and fish packing, and finishing work. These occupations are three times more likely to result in carpal tunnel syndrome than office workers, who are also at an increased risk for developing CTS. It is also known that women are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. While the reason for this gender disparity is not entirely clear, researchers believe it may be related to women having a narrower carpal tunnel than men.
At the Attorney Injury Group, our Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys understand that many workers who are experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome choose to ignore the pain and work through it hoping it will go away on its own. This is generally not the case, and you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. If your doctor diagnoses you with occupational carpal tunnel syndrome, you should report it to your employer immediately.
One of the most difficult aspects of workers’ compensation claims involving repetitive stress disorders, including carpal tunnel syndrome, is proving your injury was work related. The longer you decided to live with your condition and not report it, the harder it may be to prove your case.
You should also contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Massachusetts as soon as possible. Your attorney will able to help you document your claim before submitting it to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. This will maximize your chances for obtaining full and appropriate workers’ compensations benefits award. It may also be necessary to see additional medical specialists who are more familiar with carpal tunnel syndrome than primary care physicians. Your attorney may be able to assist you with this process as well.
If you are injured on the job in Massachusetts, call the Attorney Injury Group for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim.