Most people have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome (CPS), a form of repetitive strain injury. The medical condition develops over time. Many workers may not recognize the early symptoms, while other workers do not realize that the symptoms may be connected to their work, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. The agency says it is difficult to track how many workers suffer from CPS due to under reporting. People who never file claims may be missing out on important benefits to cover the costs of treatment and lost wages related to CPS.
Carpal tunnel is often associated with typing and the use of the mouse on a computer. It is important to note however, that any job that involves repetitive motions of the hands can lead to CPS, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. In fact workers on assembly lines have a greater chance of developing CPS than office workers and data-entry personnel.
Recognizing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome
Symptoms are often more noticeable in the morning. Many people feel discomfort in the hands after resting. As symptoms worsen, the sensations may become more persistent throughout the day, leading to a loss of strength. More serious cases can lead to deteriorating muscles at the base of the thumb. Some workers lose the ability to detect hot and cold in their fingers and hands.
Early signs of CPS include:
- Tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers
- A burning sensation in the palm of the hand or the fingers
- Fingers feeling swollen, even when there are no visible signs of swelling
- Weakness in the grip - often causing a person to drop objects unexpectedly
The feelings of numbness or tingling are often more concentrated in the index and middle fingers, as well as the thumb.
What to do if you detect symptoms of CPS
Because symptoms appear gradually, it is often easy to put off getting treatment for CPS. It is important for anyone suffering the symptoms to seek medical attention. There are a variety of available treatments for CPS, and early detection can provide more options. Because CPS is often work-related, it is important to notify your employer to preserve your right to recover workers' compensation benefits. Contacting an experienced workers' compensation lawyer can help you to protect your rights.