Orange County Attorneys Explain Collecting
Workers Comp for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Most office workers never think that they will get injured at work . . . let alone that they may one day need to file for workers’ comp. But it’s not just dangerous machinery or heavy lifting that causes work injuries. Performing the same work day-in and day-out can “wear out” the body – until it just can’t keep doing it anymore.
The type of “cumulative trauma” that results from doing the same task over and over is called a repetitive stress injury. In other words, repeating the same action over months or years can lead to a serious workplace injury that can keep an employee from being able to work. And the most common repetitive stress injury (or “RSI”) among office workers – as well as manufacturing employees and construction workers – is carpal tunnel syndrome.
Who Gets Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in the Workplace?
In an office environment, Carpal Tunnel syndrome typically results from long hours of computer work, including typing on a keyboard, data entry, or working with a mouse all. Cashier work, lifting boxes over-and-over in a warehouse, performing repetitive tasks on an assembly line, and operating construction equipment also frequently give rise to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Women are three times more likely to suffer carpal tunnel syndrome than men. This is in part because women typically hold a greater number of clerical jobs than men. However, it is also due to the fact that a women’s arms and wrists are usually smaller men’s – and so they are more susceptible to repetitive stress injury.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include severe pain, tingling numbness or weakness in the hand or arm due to the repeated movements of the hand and/or wrist.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The carpal tunnel itself is a narrow passageway in the wrist made up of bones and ligaments. This “tunnel” houses the median nerve along with tendons that control finger movement. When this tunnel becomes compressed or narrowed, it puts pressure on the median nerve, leading to the symptoms associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Individuals with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may experience tingling, numbness, or pain in the hand, particularly the thumb, index, and middle fingers. The discomfort can radiate up the arm, and in some cases, individuals might notice weakness in the affected hand. In addition to activities that involve repetitive wrist movements contributing to the development or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, conditions like arthritis, diabetes, or hormonal changes can increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Signs of Carpal Tunnel Work Injury
- Pain in the hand, wrist, arm or shoulder
- Tingling or numbness in the hand, wrist or arm
- Wrist when bending the wrist
- Unable to grip an object without pain
- Dull pain in the forearm between the elbow and wrist
- Stiffness in the hand and/or fingers – which may be worse in the morning
- Weak fingers that are unable to pinch objects
How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treated?
The treatment and long term prognosis for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome will vary depending on the severity of condition. In mild to moderate cases, conservative approaches are often recommended. These may include wrist splinting to keep the wrist in a neutral position, alleviating pressure on the median nerve. Anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce swelling and relieve pain. Physical therapy exercises may be prescribed to strengthen the muscles around the wrist and improve flexibility.
In more severe cases, medical interventions such as corticosteroid injections or surgical intervention, known as carpal tunnel release surgery, might be recommended. This procedure involves cutting the ligament that forms the roof of the carpal tunnel, creating more space and relieving pressure on the median nerve.
As for the long-term prognosis, many individuals with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome find relief with appropriate treatment, especially if addressed early and they are able to adjust their work duties to avoid the repetitive tasks that caused the injury. However, in some cases, particularly if the condition is advanced or there are complicating factors such as permanent nerve damage, individuals may experience persistent symptoms that prevent them from working.
However, it is essential that an employee with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome gets the treatment, corrective surgery or special assistance devices that will ease their pain and prevent the condition from worsening. Without treatment, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can substantially worsen, and lead to more severe pain, permanent damage and even the inability to hold objects or use the thumb on the affected hand.
Getting Workers Comp for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Employers will frequently deny workers comp benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Employers may discourage employees from filing a workers comp claim on the basis that the pain or weakness is just “part of the job.”
Keep in mind that employers will often try to blame carpal tunnel syndrome on a variety of other causes in an attempt to deny a carpal tunnel workers comp claim. They may try to allege that your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the result of age, weight, arthritis, disease, pregnancy, diabetes, or non-work activities such as sports, housework or hobbies.
Orange County Workers Comp Attorneys for Carpal Tunnel
Because employers often deny workers comp benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, it is important to speak to an experienced workers comp attorney about your injury. An experienced workers comp attorney can prove that your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome arose out of and in the course of your employment. They can show that as an employee you suffered a greater exposure to risks of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome than do members of the general public.
Our Orange County attorneys have helped hundreds of men and women obtain the maximum workers compensation for which they qualify. If you are suffering from the pain and other symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, call our experienced Orange County Workers Comp Attorneys for a free consultation today. We will help you get the workers comp benefits to which you are entitled.
Orange County Workers Comp Attorneys: 562-622-4800
Workers Compensation attorneys for Los Angeles, Orange County & Southern California, including: Anaheim, Carson, Bellflower, Compton, Downey, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, La Habra, La Mirada, Lakewood, Lomita, Long Beach, San Pedro, Santa Ana, Torrance, Wilmington, Whittier and Yorba Linda.