Overview on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome From the Perspective of a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

The carpal tunnel is a canal that travels from the forearm to the hand containing nine tendons. The tendons are covered by a membrane. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the swelling of this membrane which causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand.

There are many causes of CTS including: repetitive and forceful grasping, repetitive bending of the wrist, broken or dislocated bones in the wrist which produce swelling, arthritis, thyroid gland imbalance, excessive typing, hormonal changes associated with menopause, and pregnancy.

If you have symptoms you should see a doctor, preferably one who specializes in hand injuries. The strongest indicator of a problem is numbness, tingling or pain in the hand or wrist, sometimes extending to the elbow or fingers.

There are different treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome and a doctor will be able to recommend individualized care. If the CTS is not severe, a doctor might recommend a wrist splint. The stationary position of the wrist relieves pressure and reduces the inflammation. A doctor can also prescribe medications for pain and inflammation.

For more severe cases, a doctor may perform a cortisone injection. The doctor injects medicine into the wrist which reduces the swelling of the membrane and relieves pressure on the nerve.

If these treatments do not provide relief, the doctor may decide to perform surgery referred to as a “release.” The ligament that forms the roof of the carpal tunnel will be cut to relieve the pressure on the nerve. Local anesthesia is used during this common surgery and an overnight stay is not required.

CTS can be work related. Most doctors agree that typing or repetitive use of the hands contributes to carpal tunnel syndrome. Illinois law states if your job causes, aggravates or accelerates your problem, it is covered under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

Everyone with job related CTS is entitled to reimbursement for all medical bills, including co-pays and other out-of-pocket expenses. If you miss time from work you may be entitled to compensation for this time period. You may also be entitled to benefits for the permanent nature of your injury. The amount depends on the ultimate recovery as well as your earnings at the time of the diagnosis.

Many workers who think they have CTS actually have other problems such as DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis, trigger finger problems, radial tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome or ulnar nerve compression.


Source by Michael Helfand

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