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Carpal tunnel syndrome is an injury that causes pain and discomfort in a person’s wrists, arms, and hands and can leave them unable to perform day-to-day tasks.
The carpal tunnel is a narrow part of the wrist formed by the small carpal bones on the underside and sides of the wrist and the transverse carpal ligament on top. One of the main nerves in the hand — known as the median nerve — passes through the “tunnel” and provides feeling in the thumb index, middle, and ring fingers in addition to controlling muscles around the base of the thumb.
What Are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Numbness, tingling, burning, and pain in the fingers that get feeling from the median nerve are all symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, a person may feel occasional shock-like sensations in the same fingers, and it’s not uncommon for these sensations to radiate up the forearm toward the shoulder. In more severe cases, the hand may become weak, which can make it difficult to hold objects without dropping them and perform simple daily tasks.
What Causes It?
Most cases of carpal tunnel syndrome develop from repeating the same hand or wrist motions or flexing or extending the wrist or hand in unnatural positions over an extended period of time. In some cases, it can be caused by trauma, such as the trauma sustained in a car accident, workplace accident, or some other case of personal injury.
Pregnant women and those who have certain health conditions, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and a thyroid gland imbalance may also be more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
Some people are at increased risk of carpal tunnel syndrome because they may be predisposed to having a smaller “tunnel.” Those people are particularly susceptible to developing the syndrome from trauma, but a doctor may not make the connection between trauma sustained several months earlier and carpal tunnel syndrome, because it’s usually caused by repetitive motion over a long period of time.
Therefore, a detailed history of medical conditions, how the hands have been used, and prior hand, arm, and wrist injuries are important parts of diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome, according to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatments
When carpal tunnel syndrome is caught early, its symptoms can often be managed without surgery. Wearing a wrist brace or splint and changing hand behaviors, such as how a person types or grips objects can help reduce pressure on the median nerve, and anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation. Alternatively, a doctor may prescribe a cortisone injection and physical therapy to help relieve pain and pressure on the nerve.
In more severe cases, a costly surgery may be the only option. Surgery involves cutting the ligament that makes up the roof of the “tunnel” in order to relieve pressure on the median nerve. Recovery can take up to a year, however, and it will likely require time away from work or lighter duties.
Compensation May Be Available
Regardless of how your carpal tunnel syndrome is treated, it will likely end up being a costly injury.
Since it is often caused by repetitive work tasks, employees may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer to receive compensation for medical bills and lost wages. In cases where it’s caused by accident related trauma, compensation may be available through a personal injury lawsuit.
In either situation, an attorney may be able to help you recover compensation. To learn more about how an attorney may be able to help you recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to a carpal tunnel syndrome, contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.