Carpal Tunnel Syndrome — What You Need to Know

ORTHOPEDICS CONSULTATION MANIt takes time to notice that there is anything wrong at all. At first most of your dominant hand simply feels numb. At the beginning you likely only feel it as you wake up. Perhaps it’s just “asleep.” You give it a shake and get on with the day, and after an hour or two it’s gone again. But then you start noticing it more frequently. It happens during the day now, and you can’t shake it off like you used to. Then one day, you’re sitting in your office and you feel your hand acting up again. Yet, this time, it’s no longer numb — although you wish it were. Instead, you feel a sharp pain running up from your forearm all the way into your dominant fingers. The pain is severe and it wont stop. You decide to see a doctor and are finally forced to accept that everything is not all right — you have carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when pressure is increased on the median nerve and tendons on the carpal tunnel, located on the base of the hand. Workers of certain professions are more likely than others to develop this syndrome. The most common careers for those who tend to develop carpal tunnel largely include those performing assembly line work – cleaning, manufacturing, finishing, sewing, and meat, poultry, or fish packing. Surveys show that carpal tunnel is three times more likely among those involved in assembly line work than data entry personnel.

If you are employed in an industry in which do any of the work previously listed, it could truly be to your benefit to attempt to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome before it’s too late. Here are a few things you can try to decrease that risk:

  1. Stretching and Strengthening
    The number one way to avoid developing carpal tunnel syndrome is by strengthening your hand and developing greater flexibility. Focus these stretches and exercises on the forearms, wrists, hands, shoulders, and neck.
  2. Take Microbreaks
    If you find yourself doing repetitive tasks at work throughout the day, fit in as many micro breaks as you can. These breaks should last around three minutes and can be used to stretch the hand for greater benefits.
  3. Avoiding repetition
    If you have the ability to perform certain tasks in different way (using different muscle, fingers, angles, movement types, etc) then be sure to mix it up as much as possible.

These techniques, of course, can only decrease your chances of developing carpal tunnel — they won’t prevent it from happening 100% of the time. If you find that your job has caused you to develop carpal tunnel, there are treatment options available. These typically include medications and exercises, and sometimes surgery in severe cases. These treatments can be expensive, however, and may require you to take time off of work. If you have developed carpal tunnel and think you can’t afford treatment, you may still have options. Palm Beach Gardens workers’ compensation lawyers may be able to get you the compensation you need to treat your carpal tunnel syndrome. Contact our Palm Beach Gardens workers compensation lawyers today for a free case evaluation.

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