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Workers' compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome

Officer workers may not be facing the same high-risk situations on the job each day as those who are employed at factories or construction sites. But that doesn't mean they are not at risk of developing severe injuries and conditions that can prevent them from fulfilling their responsibilities at work.

One of the most common injuries that office workers suffer from is carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition can quickly become debilitating, and if left untreated, can leave a person with life-long pain and immobility.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome impacts the carpal tunnel, which runs the length of an individual's arm -- from forearm to the wrist. This tunnel protects the median nerve and the various tendons in the arms. These nerves and tendons allow the fingers to feel and bend, as well as control the base of the thumb. 

When the carpal tunnel becomes inflamed or irritated, the nerve and tendons become bent or pinched. The carpal tunnel can swell up, which ultimately compresses the nerve inside it and prevents the individual from being able to use their hand properly. 

Common symptoms for this condition include numbness, weakness in the hand, wrist pain and arm pain. The symptoms are generally mild at first, but if the condition is not treated, they will become more severe and debilitating over time.

Who is at risk? 

Women are about three times as likely as men to be diagnosed with this condition. The female carpal tunnel is smaller and there is a possibility that more women are employed in positions which can lead to the condition. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome is common among people in a wide variety of industries, but those who work in administrative positions are at a higher risk than others. This is because these positions often require an individual to sit at a computer and type frequently. Data entry personnel, in particular, are at a high risk of developing the condition. It must be noted, however, that any job task requiring repetitive stress on the arms and hands can lead to the condition.

How can carpal tunnel syndrome be prevented?

Employers of office workers should recognize the importance of preventing carpal tunnel syndrome in their employees. Not only is prevention beneficial for the health and welfare of their employees, it's also critical to ensuring their success as an organization. 

Employers should consider the following prevention methods:

  • Provide office workers with ergonomic keyboards and work spaces that are designed to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. This will ease the pressure on the carpal tunnel and provide employees with a more comfortable workplace environment. 
  • Offer job training sessions that provide employees with information on what they can do to prevent the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Teaching employees stretching exercises and explaining the correct posture and position to use while working can help employees work to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Emphasize the need for employees to take frequent breaks throughout the day. Office employees should take a break from their desk workstations for a few minutes every hour to prevent the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Can You File for Worker's Compensation if You are Diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

If you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and you are unable to work in the office environment while you treat the condition, you may be eligible for worker's compensation. Employees who can prove that they developed carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of workplace conditions or job responsibilities may be able to make a claim for compensation. It's important to work with an attorney who specializes in worker's compensation law and who can help you collect the evidence necessary to prove that your job responsibilities led to this debilitating and painful condition. You may be able to seek compensation not only for your medical expenses, but also for any wages that you lost during your time off of work or any expenses that you incurred due to a diminished quality of life.

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