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Carpal tunnel syndrome -- what is it?

If you don’t have it, you probably have not given much thought to carpal tunnel syndrome. But if you have been diagnosed with this condition or suspect there is something wrong with your hand or arm, this post could help you understand what is happening – and what you can do to get better.

The carpal tunnel a passage in the wrist that allows a nerve called the median nerve to pass between the arm and the hand. The ligament at the top of the tunnel is very rigid. If that ligament or other surrounding tissues become swollen, the resulting pressure on the median nerve and causing carpal tunnel syndrome.

The symptoms

As the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons explains, typical symptoms include:

  • Numb fingers
  • Tingling or burning sensation
  • Pain in the fingers, or radiating up the arm toward the shoulder
  • A “shock” running up through the fingers
  • Weakness in the hand, possibly causing you to drop things or struggle with fine movements like buttoning your shirt

Having to do repetitive tasks in the workplace is one of the most common risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome. Many people develop it after years of typing on a computer or doing manufacturing work. Once symptoms get bad enough, the patient may be forced to stop working until they and their doctor can get the condition under control.

Treating carpal tunnel syndrome

There are non-surgical options, such as wearing a brace, modifying your activities or taking medicine to reduce the swelling. But in some cases, surgery is the only way the patient can get relief. It can take up to a year to recover from carpal tunnel surgery.

What do I do in the meantime?

If you are unable to work due to carpal tunnel syndrome, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits until you have recovered. Talk to a workers’ comp attorney in the Brick area to discuss making or appealing a claim.

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