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Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Carpal Tunnel?

While carpal tunnel may entitle you to workers’ compensation, the process of obtaining it is not always straightforward.

The world of work injuries and workers’ compensation can be very confusing. In a clear-cut case, such as an accident with a piece of machinery, just about anyone can recognize it. For less obvious conditions, recognition is not so easy. One common example of a less noticeable ailment is carpal tunnel syndrome. While carpal tunnel doesn’t make the headlines, it can be a very frustrating condition. It can deeply affect your ability to work and live, and because of that, may entitle you to compensation. Whether you’re dealing with carpal tunnel or not, the best course of action is educating yourself on the subject, and if necessary, talking to a St. Louis workers compensation lawyer.

office worker with carpal tunnel syndrome

Anatomy and Symptoms

Carpal tunnel fits into a category called “repetitive stress injuries.” What the name refers to is a small tunnel filled with nerves that runs through your wrist. When you get carpal tunnel syndrome, it is usually a result of swelling in that area. The symptoms of this overuse include a tingling feeling or a loss of sensation in your hands, lack of hand strength, or a numb feeling in your arms. Without treatment or a change in behavior, these symptoms tend to get worse over time.

Common Causes

As you can assume from its category, repetitive stress injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome comes from repetitive movements made with the hands. The most common are typing and using a cash register, but many other hand motions have the same effect.

The Consequences

The total effect of carpal tunnel syndrome goes far beyond the symptoms themselves. While tingling in the hands is very uncomfortable, what is so damaging about the disease is that it decreases your ability to live your life. You will be less proficient at the work you do as well as anything you do in your life that requires grasping or precise use of your hands.

Avoidance Strategies

The best ways to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome are taking breaks from whatever repetitive task you are completing, keeping your hands loose rather than gripping tightly, correcting your overall posture, using safety equipment specifically built to prevent carpal tunnel, and regularly doing exercises to strengthen your hands and wrists.

Workers’ Compensation

Many states do not allow workers to claim compensation for carpal tunnel, but Missouri is not one of them. You can acquire compensation from your condition. You may have to see a doctor, get physical therapy, or purchase special equipment to manage your disease. These costs add up and may be paid for by workers comp.

While carpal tunnel may entitle you to workers’ compensation, the process of obtaining it is not always straightforward. Unlike an acute injury, carpal tunnel is not an obvious condition, and its cause is not always easy to prove. When navigating a complex subject such as this, your best option is to speak with a St. Louis workers compensation attorney. Give us a call 24/7 at (314) 361-4300 for a FREE and private case evaluation.

Updated: July 24, 2018