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Signs of carpal tunnel syndrome and steps to take

In a previous post, we briefly discussed carpal tunnel syndrome and how workers can be affected by this particular occupational disease. This particular disease can develop when workers do repetitive work.

But what are some symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome that can alert workers the disease is developing? Are there tell-tale signs? Are there specific motions or job functions that perpetuate carpal tunnel syndrome?

Unlike a work-related injury such as a broken bone or a head injury, the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome can be less obvious. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when a nerve at the wrist gets pinched and causes tendons to swell. Pain, numbness or weakness can indicate carpal tunnel.

A worker may first start to feel pain or tingling in the thumb. As time goes on, the pain can spread to other fingers and eventually the whole hand. Without proper medical attention, the worker may begin to have trouble grabbing objects and performing tasks that require this kind of movement.

The longer the pain continues, the greater risk of a worker suffering permanent muscle damage in the thumb and wrist. If a worker begins to feel this type of pain, it is important to have a doctor look at it. Sometimes the pain prevents the worker from working, often putting him or her in a tight financial situation.

If the carpal tunnel syndrome is properly documented, the worker could claim workers' compensation benefits. These benefits, as we've seen in the past, can help a worker with lost wages and medical expenses from a work-related injury.

Source: The Star Press: "ASK THE EXPERT: Understand and avoid carpal tunnel syndrome," Oct. 13, 2011

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