What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome And What Are The Likely Causes?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that causes numbness, tingling and weakness in the hand and/or arm as a result of a pinched nerve in the wrist. The condition usually starts gradually and gets worse over time.

As mentioned above, carpal tunnel symptoms can include numbness or tingling in the thumb, index and middle fingers. This can come and go, especially when grasping objects such as a steering wheel. Sufferers may also experience discomfort or pain in the wrist as well as weakness which can make it difficult to grasp objects. In fact, dropping things is one of the signs of carpal tunnel.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is common, affecting three to six percent of adults in the U.S. according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). People who perform repetitive motion on the job such as typing or performing the same task again and again on an assembly line may eventually develop a carpal tunnel injury. Trauma or injury to the wrist can also lead to the condition.

Jobs that can lead to carpal tunnel include:
  • Data entry or otherwise working on a computer
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Sewing
  • Painting
  • Cashiering
  • Construction
  • Agricultural work

Carpal tunnel syndrome typically develops gradually over time, yet the symptoms can eventually make it difficult or impossible to work.

Treatments may include:
  • Resting the hands and arms frequently
  • Wearing a splint/arm brace
  • Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain
  • Corticosteroid injections to reduce swelling and pain

If these treatments don’t work, surgery may be necessary. Surgery is expensive and there could be a significant recovery time.

If you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and believe it is related to repetitive motions performed on the job you may be able to get medical treatment and compensation under workers’ compensation, even if you have left the job that caused the condition. Confirmation by a doctor that your symptoms are directly related to the job in question will strengthen your claim.

What To Do If You Have CTS and Your Claim Has Been Denied

Unfortunately, because carpal tunnel syndrome tends to develop over time—months or even years—it is not uncommon for an employer or their workers’ comp insurance company to deny a claim. The company may claim that your injury wasn’t caused by working conditions, that it’s not serious, that it doesn’t require medical treatment or that you don’t need time off for the injury.

If your carpal tunnel claim has been denied, the expert attorneys at Marc J. Shuman & Associates, LTD. can help. Our seasoned attorneys know the ins and outs of workers’ compensation laws in the state of Illinois. We’ll help you get the compensation you deserve so you can focus on recovering and getting back to work.

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