Carpal tunnel syndrome, which is also called median nerve compression, is a painful condition that can lead to numbness, weakness and tingling in the hands. The cause of that pain, numbness or other symptoms comes from the pressure that is being placed on the median nerve. The median nerve runs the entire length of the arm and passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist before entering the hand.
There are some techniques that can help minimize the risk of carpal tunnel developing, such as regularly rotating your wrists to take pressure off the nerve and taking breaks to give your wrist and arm time to relax throughout the day. However, if you have carpal tunnel and the condition begins to worsen, you may notice less feeling in your fingers, weakness in the hand and numbness, tingling or pain.
What causes carpal tunnel?
Carpal tunnel is most often caused by repetitive motions, such as typing or moving the hands in the same way repetitively. Women are more likely to develop the condition than men, as are those who work as cashiers, bakers, knitters, line workers, hairstylists or musicians.
How is carpal tunnel diagnosed?
Carpal tunnel is diagnosed using X-rays, an electromyogram test, nerve conduction studies and other techniques. For early stage carpal tunnel, exercising and stretching may help reduce the symptoms. Later stages may require surgery or medications.
If you’ve developed carpal tunnel while performing your work, then your employer may be liable. You may be able to pursue workers’ compensation and get the coverage you need to seek medical care, to cover lost wages and to help you train for a new position if necessary.