Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is primarily a repetitive stress injury (RSI) that’s recognized and compensable under California workers’ compensation laws. The injury involves the median nerve along with the tendons that pass through the relatively narrow carpal tunnel in the wrist. When the median nerve and those tendons are inflamed, they swell, and they become compressed in the carpal tunnel.
RSIs are Complex Claims
California carpal tunnel syndrome claims take about three times as long to process than most other claims. RSIs are progressive disorders that aren’t going to be diagnosed as quickly as an injury like a fracture. Conservative treatment plans are lengthy, and the rate of permanent disability is about triple that of other workplace injury claims.
The median nerve controls both feel and movement of the thumb and first three fingers of each hand. When it’s inflamed and compressed, you might experience intermittent burning pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the affected hand. You might experience difficulty holding objects like your morning cup of coffee, and your fingers might not seem to work well when buttoning a shirt or holding a knife or fork. Symptoms usually start in the dominant hand, but it’s not unusual for carpal tunnel syndrome sufferers to experience symptoms in both hands. It’s not unusual for carpal tunnel pain to radiate all the way up the arm either.
What Types of Workers Get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
As per the National Institute of Health, carpal tunnel syndrome often results from physical job activities that involve using tools and hand-held vibrating equipment. Production line and construction workers often suffer from the disorder due to repetitive hand and wrist motion or stress, but even office workers who use a keyboard and mouse all day develop the syndrome.
Diagnosing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
A doctor will perform a physical examination to determine if a patient might be suffering from the disorder. If a physical examination is positive, a nerve conduction velocity test would be performed for purpose of determining how fast the median nerve transmits impulses. Another test known as electromyography might be performed to determine how much damage there is to the median nerve.
Conservative treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome would consist of anti-inflammatories and a wrist brace to immobilize the affected wrist and hand. Corticosteroids or lidocaine might be used in more serious cases to reduce the inflammation. In a severe case, surgery would involve relieving pressure and creating more space in the carpal tunnel by cutting a ligament. The recovery period is a few weeks to a year. A brace should be worn during the recovery period.
Don’t Close the Door on Your Options
Remember that just like in any other workers’ compensation claim, your employer’s insurer will want to resolve your carpal tunnel syndrome claim as quickly and inexpensively as possible. If you choose to forego processing of a lengthy claim and settle early, your case will be closed. Future treatment and other workers’ compensation benefits will have been terminated.
Contact a Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Attorney
RSI claims develop over time, and they’re difficult to prove. They’re not the result of an obvious accident, and insurance companies are prepared to defend such claims. Filing your workers’ compensation claim through an experienced and effective California workers’ compensation lawyer dramatically enhances the possibility of obtaining maximum workers’ compensation benefits for your condition.