Repetitive stress on a particular set of muscles at the workplace can cause musculoskeletal disorders including carpal tunnel syndrome.
Although we may not view carpal tunnel syndrome as a serious illness, it can severely affect a person’s ability to perform his or her job or even daily activities.
Workers at Risk
There are certain classes of workers who are at a higher risk of repetitive stress injuries. The workers involved in the following activities are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
- continuous working on the computer
- loading and unloading trucks
- repeatedly lifting heavy objects such as merchandise or equipment
Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
It is important to seek proper treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome as soon as it is detected. Mild forms of the condition usually heals by taking a few measures such as applying cold packs to reduce swelling, avoiding activities that aggravate the condition, and taking multiple breaks throughout the work day. However, if these measures do not work, then an injured worker might have to seek non-surgical treatment, which includes:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: These medications offer short-term relief from pain, but there is no evidence that they have any impact on the condition itself.
Wrist splints: These are used to immobilize the wrist in order to relieve the tingling and numbness that a patient may experience at night time.
Corticosteroids: A doctor injects the affected area with cortisone to relieve pain and reduce the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
In cases of serious carpal tunnel syndrome, a worker might have to seek surgical treatment after non-surgical therapies fail to work. Surgery is aimed at relieving pressure from the median nerve. This is achieved by cutting off the ligament that is pressing on the median nerve. Two common surgical techniques used for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome are:
Endoscopic surgery: The procedure involves the use of a telescope like device with an attached camera that is used to see and cut the ligament through small incisions in the hand or wrist.
Open surgery: A comparatively large incision is made in the palm of the hand and the ligament is cut to relieve the median nerve of the pressure.
Endoscopic surgery involves less pain and discomfort compared to open surgery. Some patients may also require some physical therapy after the surgery to be able to return to their job.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers who develop carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of the work they do may be entitled to Missouri workers’ compensation benefits. However, the insurer may argue that the injury is not work-related and hence benefits are denied. In such a case, immediately contact a Missouri workers’ compensation attorney from The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann to get help with the claim process. Call us at (314) 361-4300 for a free consultation.