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Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome the office boogeyman?

Are you working in the technology industry in Minnesota, typing away on your computer keyboard for hours on end every day? Then you might soon notice the first signs of a painful and debilitating repetitive motion injury. Repeating the same motions over and over again can cause overexertion of the affected joints and other areas of your body until the physical strain becomes too much. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a repetitive strain injury that is prevalent in your field of employment.

CTS can present serious problems for both workers and businesses in the tech industry. It is a debilitating injury that can adversely affect workers' lives and workplace productivity. Ergonomic changes to the work stations are among the things that may help with fighting off this threat.

What is CTS?

There is a tunnel in your wrist that holds the median nerve that extends along the elbow, down the middle of the forearm and into the palm of your hand. The nerve affects movement and sensation in your hand. However, repetitive motions of the hands and wrists can cause pressure on the median nerve, which can cause swelling of the nerve bundles in the carpal tunnel.

What are the symptoms of CTS?

Data-entry specialists, designers, programmers and others who spend most of their days using a mouse and a keyboard are typically affected, and they could experience the following symptoms:

  • Fingers become swollen, itchy and numb
  • Tingling in the fingers
  • Pain in the arm, elbow, wrist and hand
  • Grip strength decreases

Treatment

You might find that carpal tunnel syndrome gets worse and more painful over time. For that reason, early diagnosis and treatment are essential. Once the pain becomes acute and chronic, more severe treatment may be necessary. If you do not delay treatment, non-operative measures may suffice. This could involve therapy, injections and a brace.

However, if you leave it to become more serious, surgery may be the only option. Although the procedure typically takes less than an hour to complete, it can be costly. The tingling and numbness may subside within approximately six weeks following the surgery, but you might be without regular wrist and hand functions for as long as six months.

Does workers' compensation cover CTS?

If your financial stability depends on the use of your hands, six months without normal use can be devastating. Although the Minnesota workers' compensation insurance system recognizes CTS as an occupational illness or injury, proving that your condition is work-related may be challenging. For that reason, others in similar situations seek the support and guidance of experienced legal counsel to navigate benefits claims for them.

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Law Office of David M. Bialke
7260 University Avenue NE
Suite 160
Fridley, MN 55432

Phone: 763-571-2410
Fax: 763-571-2549
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