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What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

On Behalf of | May 18, 2021 | workers' compensation |

When it comes to workers’ compensation, most people file claims as a result of injuries. However, certain medical conditions can occur because of one’s work environment.

According to the Mayo Clinic, carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the pathway surrounding the median nerve becomes inflamed. This causes symptoms like pain and numbness, and can even disrupt the function of your hand and arm.

What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?

Lots of things can inflame the pathway around the median nerve, including wrist injuries, arthritis, and certain medications. However, the condition often results from workplace factors and overuse. Use of hand tools or other devices that involve repetitive motions may contribute to inflammation. Problems can also arise when working on assembly lines, which require persistent repetitive movements.

How is carpal tunnel diagnosed?

Your doctor will perform a physical exam, as well as ask questions about your medical history. Diagnostic testing can also determine the scope and extent of the damage. Doctors can use a device called an electromyography to identify damage to muscles and tissues.

How is it treated?

Treatment depends on the severity of symptoms. Minor carpal tunnel is typically treated with wrist splints and anti-inflammatory medications. Corticosteroid injections are also used to reduce swelling.

More severe cases can require surgery. Making a small incision in ligaments can improve function and reduce pain and numbness. These procedures often use an endoscope, which typically involves less pain and a faster recovery period.

While treatment is helpful for relieving pain and inflammation, you may also need to avoid the conditions that led to carpal tunnel in the first place. Otherwise, the issue will continue to worsen until major dysfunction occurs.