18 Aug Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in the Arizona Workplace: Not Just for Secretaries
Most people who hear the term “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome” immediately associate this painful condition with secretaries who work eight hours a day at the keyboard. While the type of keyboard and use of a mouse, may negatively affect the fingers and hands over time, typing or keyboarding is not the sole cause of carpal tunnel syndrome and disease.
The pain usually comes from underlying conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, thyroid issues, high blood pressure, old wrist fractures and injuries, and more. The pain might last a short time or become a very painful condition that requires medical treatment, both for the pain and any underlying condition. Surgery is a possibility, depending on the diagnosis.
There are many jobs that require repetitive hand motions, and these are:
- Cutting and de-boning fish, meats, and other food processing,
- Milking cows by hand on the farm,
- Assembly-line work on a conveyor belt requiring manual repetitive actions with parts, such as in the automotive industry,
- Repetitive use of hand tools, such as drills, screwdrivers, ratchets, including those that are air-powered and require a consistent tight handgrip, and more.
These jobs involve repetitive hand motions, holding tools in a certain way while exacting pressure downwards (think of using a dull knife to cut a block of cheese into thin slices), actions that require gripping and releasing a tool or object over a long period of time and using tools that constantly vibrate into the hand, tendons, and bones (jackhammer).
When to File a Claim and See a Doctor
If you begin having consistent pain in your hand(s), file a claim within a week of first awareness, so that you can get to a doctor quickly. While the issue may not be serious, if a larger problem is occurring, you want to get help immediately so the issue does not become worse.
We use our hands for nearly everything we do in life, so keeping them in good shape is essential to maintaining a happy lifestyle. Many people have diabetes II and do not know it until they begin experiencing nerve pain. With diabetes, you can experience foot and leg pain, as well as shoulder, arm, wrist, and hand pain.
Request tests for diabetes, thyroid levels, and any other testing that is allowed and paid for by your medical insurance. Your doctor may suggest that first, but if not, do bring these tests up.
How to Manage Your Symptoms
Your doctor may suggest avoiding overextending your wrists in any way, provide pain-reducing prescription drugs, and deliver steroid injections to reduce any inflammation in the pain area. Wrist splints are another possibility to hold your hand in one position while sleeping.
Here are several tips to try out if you are experiencing pain.
- Take breaks often enough to reduce long-term strain and stretch your fingers and hands to relieve cramps,
- Keyboards come in different sizes and key styles, such as raised keys that may require a more defined tap, as opposed to laptop keys that allow fingers to scoot across to other keys without raising the fingers off the board; this is a personal preference and depends on your pain level,
- Over the counter drugs, such as ibuprofen, can reduce swelling quickly, although take in moderation and only when you really need it,
- If you are retaining fluid, rest your hands and wrists on an elevated surface. Be sure you are comfortable and add small pillows or folded towels for a softer resting surface.
If you need to have surgery done, chances are you need to have a procedure done on a ligament that is causing trouble because it rests on the nerve that is giving you trouble. Your doctor should inform you of what to expect for the recovery process.
Never take your hands for granted. If you are having pain in your wrist, hands, or fingers, see a doctor as soon as possible and remember to file your workers’ compensation claim immediately. If you need help with your claim, call us at once for a free consultation. We are here to help you. 602-346-9009.