Do you have pain, tingling or a numb sensation in your arms or hands? Does your job involve repetitive tasks like typing or assembling? You might have carpal tunnel syndrome.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is a passageway in your wrist made of bone and a piece of connective tissue called the transverse carpal ligiment. The median nerve runs through that passageway. It controls much of the motion and sensation of your hand. Flexor tendons that you use to bend your fingers and thumb also run through the carpal tunnel.

Common symptoms

When tissues that surround the flexor tendons swell, or the tunnel becomes narrowed, it puts pressure on the median nerve. This is carpal tunnel syndrome. It can cause several symptoms, including:

  • Numbness, tingling, burning and/or pain in the thumb and first three fingers
  • Pain or tingling that runs up the arm to the shoulder
  • A feeling like an electric shock in the thumb and first three fingers
  • Hand weakness that makes it hard to perform certain tasks or hold onto objects

Repetitive hand use on the job is a major cause of this condition. Things like typing and handling small tools all day can cause the carpal tunnel to develop. When it does, the pain and other symptoms can become so severe that you must stop working for a while as part of your recovery. Other options include wearing a brace on the affected wrist(s), exercises designed to widen the carpal tunnel, and steroid injections. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

Legal support for carpal tunnel syndrome patients

While you are out of work, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation, if you can show a connection between your carpal tunnel syndrome and your job duties. Discuss your condition with a workers’ comp attorney to learn more about the process and how much you could be entitled to.