Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) affects an estimated 3-6% of adults, making it the most common entrapment neuropathy. CTS can cause pain and weakness in the hand, affecting a person’s everyday life.
Repeating the same hand and wrist movements over a prolonged period can cause CTS. As such, certain workers are more likely to develop it. If you were diagnosed with this condition and your job is the cause, you’re likely wondering if worker’s comp covers treatments for carpal tunnel.
We’ll answer that question in this guide, as well as go over what steps you should take, so keep reading for valuable advice.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome can develop when the tissue around the flexor tendons swells or when the tunnel becomes narrower. The result is more pressure on the median nerve, which reduces the amount of blood flow in the area.
It’s crucial to get a diagnosis from a medical professional to confirm CTS. If you’re experiencing the following symptoms, talk to your doctor right away:
- Numbness, burning, tingling, or pain in the hand
- A shock-like feeling in your fingers and thumb
- Pain or tingling sensations along the forearm and shoulder
- Weakness or numbness in the hand that causes you to drop things
- Clumsiness with your hands
Sensations of pain or tingling are usually greatest in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers. People with CTS may find it difficult to perform tasks such as buttoning a shirt or other precise movements.
What to Do if You Have Work-Related CTS
Repetitive motions aren’t always the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. Other causes include pregnancy or health problems. Plus, it can be a heredity condition.
However, if you’ve only noticed symptoms of carpal tunnel recently and your job involves keeping your hand and wrist in a certain position or repetitive motions involving your hands or wrists, this is usually a sign of a work injury.
If you’ve been injured at work, including repetitive stress injuries, it’s crucial to take action as soon as possible. Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect carpal tunnel problems. Having documentation of the injury is valuable evidence.
Are Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Job-related activities that result in carpal tunnel syndrome are covered under workers’ compensation.
Repeating the same motions over a prolonged period can result in this type of work injury. For example, production line workers and office workers that spend most of the day at a computer are more likely to suffer a repetitive stress injury.
When the tendons in the wrist become inflamed, you may experience the symptoms listed above. It can make even simple tasks difficult, such as putting on clothing or picking up small objects. You may find it hard to sleep if the pain and other symptoms wake you up at night.
If you suspect job-related carpal tunnel syndrome, seek a medical diagnosis. Your provider will ask you questions about your medical history and your history of symptoms.
Patients usually undergo a physical examination as well as electrophysiological tests, ultrasounds, X-rays, MRIs, or a nerve conduction study to obtain a diagnosis.
After you seek medical attention, notify your employer and file a workers’ compensation claim. Seeking compensation will help you pay for your medical bills and cover any time you’re unable to work. After all, CTS causes patients to lose an average of 27 days of work from the first appearance of symptoms to the final treatment.
Treatments for CTS
Carpal tunnel syndrome can get worse if left undiagnosed and untreated. There are several treatments for carpal tunnel.
If caught in the early stages, treatment may include resting the hand, avoiding certain activities, and using a cold pack to reduce swelling. Splints or braces are an option that helps prevent the wrist from bending and allows your body to rest. You may also use NSAIDs (ibuprofen, Advil, etc.) to relieve symptoms.
If the pain persists or causes difficulty with everyday tasks, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids, which decrease swelling and inflammation. Generally, injections are deemed more effective than oral corticosteroids.
If non-surgical treatments don’t help, patients may need carpal tunnel surgery. This involves cutting the ligament pressing against the nerve. Patients may undergo open surgery or endoscopic surgery.
If you have to get surgery to correct the issue, this involves taking time to heal and physical therapy sessions. Patients may need to take time off work as a full recovery can take months. Temporary disability benefits can help in this instance.
There are some risks to surgery as a form of treatment for CTS. Risks include minor complications such as scarring to more serious problems like wound infection, incomplete release of the ligament, and nerve damage.
Why You Should Seek a Workers’ Comp Attorney
If you were injured at work, you deserve compensation. It’s in your best interest to work with an attorney that specializes in worker’s comp cases to ensure you get that compensation.
An attorney will review your case, help you file a claim, and assist you if the claim gets denied. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common workplace injury that can affect your quality of life. You deserve treatment, and if you’re unable to work, you may qualify for benefits.
Don’t Let Pain Ruin Your Life
If you sustained an injury at work, such as a repetitive stress injury or carpal tunnel syndrome, you can seek compensation and benefits. Workers’ comp covers treatments for carpal tunnel, which means you can file a claim and begin the healing process.
However, you’ll get the most benefits if you work with an experienced workers’ comp attorney. If you were injured in Augusta, GA, and you need help filing a claim or if a claim was denied, you have options. Send us a message or call us today to go over your case and get started today.