Workers Compensation & Carpal Tunnel From A Work Injury
To start, file a claim with the workers compensation commission in your state. The result of the claim will depend on the doctors ability to determine;the cause of your medical condition. However, if it has been determined that your injuries were caused by a previous employer you can still file a claim to receive compensation.;
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be considered a work-related injury. More specifically, they identify as an occupational condition.;Regardless of what your work injury was, you may still be able to receive compensation. This is where hiring the right lawyer comes into play because proving your case is what will make or break your claim.;
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatments
Medication: For mild symptoms, we may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen to relieve pain. Corticosteroid injections can also reduce inflammation.
Splinting or bracing: A splint can prevent wrist motion to reduce nerve injury and pain. You may wear it at night or while working for a few weeks if your symptoms are mild to moderate.
Rehabilitation therapy:OHSU hand therapy experts can help you learn to change how you move, avoiding the strain that causes pain and injures the nerve.
Surgery: In severe cases, surgery can release pressure on the nerve. This almost always provides permanent relief. Depending on your symptoms and anatomy, your doctor may recommend:
- Endoscopic surgery: In this minimally invasive procedure, your surgeon uses small incisions and tools to check for nerve damage and make repairs.
- Open surgery: Your surgeon makes an incision in the palm to expose the nerve and make repairs. Doctors prefer this method in some cases because it gives the surgeon a clear view of the carpal tunnel. Recovery may take longer, and the palm may be tender for a few weeks.
Stage 1 Mild Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel
Initially people have numbness and tingling mainly at night. When the symptoms are mild, the disease process is usually reversible.
Symptoms may include:
- Numbness or tingling on the palm side of the thumb and next two or three fingers of one or both hands the little finger is not affected
- Clumsiness of the hand when gripping objects
- Pain extending to the elbow
- Problems with fine finger movements in one or both hands
- Weak grip or difficulty carrying bags
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What Are The Common Carpal Tunnel Treatment Methods
Common treatment for carpal tunnel involves splints to limit movement of the wrist. Also, prescription or over-the-counter medication to control pain. As the condition progresses, a patient may submit to surgery which involves severing a ligament that may be responsible for compressing the median nerve. The patient may have surgery on one or both hands depending on which parts of the body are being affected.After carpal tunnel surgery, the ligament should eventually heal. This process takes months. Complications can include a loss of grip strength, scarring, pain, stiffness, or an infection at the incision site. About 1 in 4 people will change jobs even after having the surgery. While recurrence only occurs in 10-25% of people , less than half of people feel that their arm is ever the same again. Residual numbness or weakness in the arm is common.
So the question is: Is there another way you can get help for the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome?
When Should You Call Your Doctor
911 or go to an emergency room immediately if you notice sudden loss of feeling in your arm.
- Have tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain in your fingers or hand that keeps coming back or that has not gone away after 2 weeks of home treatment.
- Have gradually developed little or no feeling in your fingers or hand.
- Cannot do simple hand movements, or you drop things.
- Cannot pinch your thumb and index finger together, or your pinch is weak.
- Cannot use your thumb normally .
- Have problems with daily activities because of pain in your fingers or hand.
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When Will Symptoms Improve
After delivery, your fluid levels and the extra pressure in your blood vessels will decrease. As such, your symptoms will likely improve or resolve.
That being said, new mothers use their hands and wrists nearly constantly. Lifting, changing, and feeding the new baby may lead to worsened or new hand and wrist symptoms.
Let your Ob/Gyn know as soon as symptoms begin. If we catch carpal tunnel early enough, we can start conservative treatments to reduce the risk of nerve damage or lingering symptoms.
After pregnancy, keep an eye on your wrist health. You’ll be lifting your baby a lot and making repetitive motions, which can lead to tendinopathies related to overuse.
Even if your new aches and pains don’t seem overtly pregnancy-related, let your Ob/Gyn know. Pregnancy does strange things to the body, and your provider can help you find relief from painful or annoying symptoms.
Carpal Tunnel Symptoms In Pregnancy
When the median nerve is compressed during pregnancy, symptoms present as they would in any patient:
Numbness and tingling
Pain in the wrist or hand
At the onset of CTS, symptoms may come and go. But when numbness or weakness occurs frequently or constantly, that’s a potential sign of nerve damage.
In severe cases, patients may have weakened grip strength or decreased finger dexterity. For example, you might have trouble picking up small objects with your fingers, opening jars, or buttoning clothes.
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When To Get Surgery
“The mistake that people often make is waiting too long to get surgery,” says Dr. Rozental. “I see a lot of people who say that their numbness was gradually worsening and now their hand is completely numb and has been for a year.” If the nerve is compressed long enough, the muscle atrophies and the nerve damage becomes permanent, she says.
So, if your carpal tunnel symptoms aren’t responding to other treatments, take action quickly.
The surgery takes 10 minutes under a local anesthetic. Unless you do a job that involves manual labor, you can typically go right back to normal activities, says Dr. Rozental.
“I tell my patients all the time that a carpal tunnel release done at the right time for the correct diagnosis is very successful,” she says.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery
Carpal tunnel release is a surgery used to treat and potentially heal the painful condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome. Doctors used to think that carpal tunnel syndrome was caused by an overuse injury or a repetitive motion performed by the wrist or hand, often at work. They now know that it’s most likely a congenital predisposition some people simply have smaller carpal tunnels than others. Carpal tunnel syndrome can also be caused by injury, such as a sprain or fracture, or repetitive use of a vibrating tool. It’s also been linked to pregnancy, diabetes, thyroid disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The median nerve and tendons that allow your fingers to move pass through a narrow passageway in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is formed by the wrist bones on the bottom and the transverse carpal ligament across the top of the wrist. When this part of the body is injured or tight, swelling of the tissues within the tunnel can press on the median nerve. This causes numbness and tingling of the hand, pain, and loss of function if not treated. Symptoms usually start slowly, and may get worse over time. They tend to be worse on the thumb side of the hand.
During a carpal tunnel release, a surgeon cuts through the ligament that is pressing down on the carpal tunnel. This makes more room for the median nerve and tendons passing through the tunnel, and usually improves pain and function.
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Where Pain Ismost Intense
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressive and painful neurological condition. And it’s very common, affecting at least five million Americans.;
The condition occurs as a result of straining or stressing your hand and fingers. When you perform repetitive, rapid and forceful hand movements for a long time , wrist flexor tendons tend to react badly. ;
Over time and a lot of stress, the tendons becomeinflamedand start to show signs of swelling. Thats when problems really go downhill.
The tendons swell inside the wrist joint in a tight space called the carpal tunnel. It’s a narrow, crowded passageway through which your hand’s tendons and themedian nervepass.
Unfortunately, the swellingpusheson the median nerve which is nearby. With enough time, the swelling slowly crushes the nerve. The crushed nerve is what produces all of the sensations of carpal tunnel syndrome – especially pain. You feel the pain in the fingers, hand or wrist. Along with pain, other carpal tunnel symptoms include:
- electric shock sensations
Usually, the place where carpal tunnel pain hurts the most is thepalm of the hand,the thumb,and first finger. It’s common for the fingertips or the thumb’s base to hurt more .
Carpal tunnel pain can be constant or intermittent. The pain is unusual in that it hurts even when you’re not using your hand. In fact, most often the pain is worse when you’re resting or even trying to sleep. This distinguishes carpal tunnel syndrome fromwrist tendonitispain.
Who Can Diagnose My Hand Pain
Carpal tunnel syndrome is ideally diagnosed by an orthopedic surgeon or hand specialist. The physician will conduct a medical examination to assess your hands sensation and function, review your medical history, and analyze your daily activities and symptoms.
The main symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling, typically felt in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger.;Some people describe carpal tunnel syndrome pain as a deep ache or burning that radiates into the arm.
Weakness in the thumb can make it difficult to grip and grasp things. Symptoms may be more pronounced in cold temperatures, while performing certain activities, or at night.
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Stage 2 Moderate Symptoms Of Ct
When the symptoms are moderate in that people notice the symptoms both at night as well as during the day time while doing things like driving or talking on the phone or having difficulty with getting dressed, buttoning, holding small objects, thats when the disease process is more moderate. When the disease process is moderate, we usually can reverse it such that an individual can return to normal function.
What Are The Occupational Factors Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke indicates that carpal tunnel syndrome is “often the result of a combination of factors that increase pressure on the median nerve and tendons in the carpal tunnel, rather than a problem with the nerve itself”.
Carpal tunnel syndrome has been associated with certain tasks including:
- Repetitive hand motions.
- Mechanical stress on the palm.
Those workers performing assembly line work – including manufacturing, finishing, cleaning, and meat/poultry/fish packaging – commonly report this injury. Cashiers, hairdressers, or knitters or sewers are examples of people whose work-related tasks involve the repetitive wrist movements associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Bakers who flex or extend the wrist while kneading dough, and people who flex the fingers and wrist in tasks such as milking cows, using a spray paint gun, and hand-weeding are other examples. Excessive use of vibrating hand tools may also be related to carpal tunnel syndrome.
A possible link between carpal tunnel syndrome and computer mouse use is uncertain. While keyboarding work is generally not a risk factor for developing carpal tunnel syndrome, it can cause pain and exacerbate symptoms for those who already have the condition.
Note that the repetitive motions required for keyboard work and the use of a computer mouse may be related to the development of other injuries.
- Use of oral contraceptives.
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Bilateral Acute Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
Acute carpal tunnel syndrome is typically caused by trauma, says John-Paul H. Rue, MD, orthopedic sports medicine surgeon with Orthopedics and Joint Replacement at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD.
Possible Causes of TraumaDr. Rue explains, This trauma could be from a fracture or dislocation, burns, infection , bleeding or from a high-pressure type of injection injury.
Apply Pressure To Wrists
Wrist pain, numbness, and tingling can be treated with gentle pressure to the wrists. You can wear a splint or compression gloves to provide that pressure and prevent nighttime swelling. Applying pressure with self massage is another way to relieve pain. Combined with elevating your hands, pressure is an excellent way to get pain relief from carpal tunnel.
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How Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Can Lead To Shoulder Pain
The carpal tunnel is a narrow region in the wrist that is located on the side of the palm. It protects the tendons that are responsible for bending the fingers, as well as the median nerve. When there is too much pressure in this area, a person can experience weakness, numbness, or tingling in the fingers and hand.
Over time, the entire functionality of a persons arm can be affected. Shoulder pain can be intense and constant, or it can occur with specific motions such as reaching overhead or behind the back. This can make it difficult to handle everyday tasks as simple as brushing your hair or putting away your groceries after a shopping trip.
Stage 3 Severe Symptoms Of Ct
Once the disease process is severe and weve lost muscle function, theres muscles atrophy, theres constant numbness, sometimes that disease process has reached a point where even with surgical management were not able to return someone back to their normal function.
Dr Saginis takeaway was this:
The best course of action with any symptoms suggestive of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is to address these symptoms early and completely. The ideal way I recommend people treat most conditions whether it be nerve compression, tendonitis, arthritis, is actively. By actively I mean, if there is something you can do as an individual to reduce the symptoms and not require surgical intervention, thats the best way of creating long-term success.
At Carpal Tunnel Coaching we believe its reassuring and useful to have a physician diagnose your problem and rule-out other conditions. Regardless of your condition our online video program helps you make better choices on hand and wrist care.
To your good hand health,Coach Cathy
P.S. For more self-care tips now, sign up for the free guide to COOL TOOLS FOR FAST RELIEF. Do you see the sign-in box at the top of this page?
emedicine.medscape.com/article/1243192-overviewOrthopedicSurgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Last updated: Oct 7,2014.SaginiMD.com Joint Implant Surgeons. Fort Myers, FL. Private conversation with Dennis Sagini, M.D.. May 7, 2014.
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What Other Conditions Can Cause Similar Symptoms
Several of them. One, which doctors call de Quervain tenosynovitis, causes problems with the tendons that control your thumb. It hurts to turn your wrist, make a fist, or try to grasp an object. Your doctor can do some simple tests to tell whether you have this condition or carpal tunnel.
Other health problems that may seem like carpal tunnel syndrome include:
How Is It Treated
Carpal tunnel syndrome can often be relieved without surgery. Avoiding activities that aggravate symptoms can help.
Wearing a wrist splint at night to keep the wrist straight can help to relieve pressure on the median nerve and help to rest the wrist. Splints may also be worn during activities that aggravate symptoms, thereby positioning the wrist properly and providing wrist support.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication may help reduce pain and swelling. In some cases, corticosteroid and anti-inflammatory medication injections can help to reduce swelling and provide symptom relief.
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Double Crush Syndrome And Recurrence
First, well start by saying that double crush is still considered a hypothesis rather than a proven fact. However, it certainly explains why relieving the pressure in the wrist doesnt always fix the problem. The idea behind double crush is that there is another location along the nerve where compression is occurring. We dont specifically say median nerve because double crush doesnt specifically refer to an issue with this nerve or to carpal tunnel. Rather, it is an issue in any peripheral nerve when compression is taking place at multiple points.
Since the median nerve goes all the way to the spinal cord in the neck, a misalignment in this area can potentially be the source of a second compression point. As a result, relieving pressure at the wrist only works temporarily. The initial issue in the neck will eventually cause symptoms to flare. This could explain why patients experience carpal tunnel again after surgery, sometimes even several years later.
This hypothesis would also explain why researchers have discovered a higher rate of arthritis in the neck when examining patients who experience carpal tunnel syndrome in both arms.
What Do I Do If My Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms Return
CTS is a syndrome not a disease, if the conditions that led to the carpal tunnel syndrome are not eliminated, CTS symptoms will likely reoccur over time.
Carpal Tunnel returns even after a successful Carpal Tunnel Surgery.
That is one of the major reasons why the Carpal Tunnel Surgical Procedure is an absolute last resort.
Who wants to undergo surgery with all the risks, downtime and potential complications for a syndrome that reoccurs?
Also, steroid injections only work for 50% of people with CTS and the effect only last a few months. Routine steroid injections is not a good idea, so steroids are only a temporary stop-gap at best. Long-term exposure to corticorsteroids has led to joint deterioration and accelerated arthritis in animal studies. With arthritis at near epidemic levels in older adults steroids and not a good idea for a reoccurring chronic condition like CTS.
Most people find that after completing the Carpal Solution Therapy Six Week protocol that their Carpal Tunnel Syndrome will go into remission for two to seven years.
However, with people who use their hand intensely or have physiological conditions, like say a Thyroid condition, there symptoms will return more quickly and they will need to do the Carpal Solution Therapy Preventive Program to keep their hands healthy.
The good news is that you can stay active and work and play as much as you need to or want to do.