If you work in an industry that requires you to use your hands repetitively, then you may be one of the 15 million people who fall victim to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The American Academy of Family Physicians found that CTS affects approximately three to six percent of all adults in the United States. However, you may be wondering what Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is and what causes it.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Information
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve (the nerve that runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand) becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. But what is the median nerve and what importance does it play? It is responsible for controlling the movement in your hand of the thumb and first three fingers. The pressing or squeezing on the nerve tunnel makes that canal smaller. This results in an irritation of the nerve. The condition is generally painful and gets worse over time when left untreated.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can really occur because of many different things. For instance, one may get it if they have a certain disease, or even pregnancy may be a contributing factor. The most common causes are repetitive motion and trauma. There are many types of activities and jobs that may require a person to use repetitive hand motions, including data entry work, playing musical instruments, sewing, painting, or even being a cashier.
The symptoms of CTS will generally vary from person to person and be dependent on the nature of the activity that caused it to occur. Some common symptoms include numbness or tingling in the thumb or first three fingers, loss of dexterity in the thumb or fingers, pain in the hand, drip weakness or an inability to grasp, or frequent dropping of objects.
Workers’ Compensation and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The question of whether or not you will be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits for carpal tunnel syndrome relies greatly on whether or not it was caused by a workplace injury or by a non-work-related factor instead. The employee will have to prove that their injury was work-related and not of another source. In some cases, a worker may hold a second job that might have caused the CTS, and this could be argued in court.
Another question that is typically brought up is: Was it an accident, or an occupational disease? Some state’s laws mandate that you can only receive compensation from a disability that stems from an occurring accident. If CTS was characterized as an accident in your state, then you may have to prove that the injury was caused suddenly and violently. If the state recognizes it as an occupational disease, then you will have to show that, as an employee, you suffered a greater exposure to the disease than did the general public.
In some cases, carpal tunnel may call for workers’ compensation and, in other cases, it may lead to a personal injury lawsuit. It really all depends on the surrounding situation and causes. You should speak to a personal injury lawyer today with the experience needed to review your case. WTW is always on your side; call today!