Since the 1990’s, the number of workers filing workers’ compensation claims for carpal tunnel syndrome has grown significantly. One of the main reasons for this is that workers are spending significantly more hours at their computers.
For this reason, it is generally assumed that carpal tunnel syndrome is a product of the computer age. However, carpal tunnel syndrome first made headlines in the years during and following World War II, when there was an upsurge in women working in factories and performing repetitive motion tasks.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome began to be noted in medical literature in the early twentieth century, with the first use of the term being noted in 1939. However, there is also literature regarding surgical procedures for carpal tunnel type problems from the 1800’s.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes pain and numbness in the hands. It is frequently caused by trauma to the wrists, work related accidents, or performing repetitive motion tasks, such as prolonged work with jackhammers, typing on the computer and things of that nature. However, it can also be a result of other conditions that cause the wrists to swell such as thyroid disorders, diabetes, heart failure, or pregnancy.
What Are The Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The symptoms experienced with carpal tunnel syndrome are caused by the swelling of the median nerve that runs from your forearm to your hand. Early symptoms include a vague aching in the wrist, hand or forearm. Pain, numbness, or tingling may also be felt at that palm side of the affected hand or fingers, especially in the thumb, index or ring finger, or in all three digits.
These symptoms generally increase as the activity level with the affected hand increases. Symptoms may also be worse during the night, with sleep being interrupted due to the pain or numbness. This is directly related to the wrist being in flexed position during sleep, which produces increased pressure on the median nerve.
In more advanced stages of carpal tunnel syndrome, you may also experience a weaker grip, have trouble handling small objects and/or drop things uncontrollably. And in severe cases, muscle loss (atrophy) can also be experienced.
Workers’ Compensation for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you work at a job that requires the constant and repetitive use of your hands and arms, you may develop carpal tunnel syndrome due to their overuse. New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system covers carpal tunnel injuries.
If you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and believe that it is work-related, you should report it to your employer as soon as possible. You may very well have a workers’ compensation claim and be entitled to disability benefits and in some cases a cash settlement.
However, because carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by a variety things that may have nothing to do with your job, you may need to prove that it is work-related and not due to some other health condition such as pregnancy, diabetes, or a thyroid disorder. This can be complicated and may require the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
Contact an Experienced New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Carpal tunnel syndrome is painful, requires medical attention, and is one of the most common workers’ compensation claims filed. To find out if you have a workers’ compensation claim, or to learn more about your right under New Jersey workers’ compensation laws contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney today.