According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, every year, 15,000 illnesses and injuries occur in the warehousing and storage industry. Many of these injuries are caused by repetitive stress, much in the likeness of the injuries suffered by athletes who make the same movements again and again, causing stress to the muscles and surrounding tissue.
Repetitive stress can cause inflammation and tears in a particular muscle or joint and can be very painful. One type of repetitive stress injury, or RSI, in particular that is becoming increasingly common is carpal tunnel syndrome. But what is carpal tunnel syndrome and is it possible to get workers compensation for the injury?
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve and tendons in the wrist that allow you to flex your fingers become compressed and inflamed. Increased compression caused by activities with repetitive movement in the fingers such as typing, writing, drawing, painting, cooking, etc can can wrist pain, numbness, and weakness.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can happen to anyone of any age and is often treated with surgery to increase the space between the tendons in the wrist, known as carpal tunnel release. However, there are also nonsurgical treatments including rest, splints, steroid injections, and diuretics.
Does Workers Compensation Cover CTS?
As long as the injury is work-related, you may be able to file a workers compensation claim regarding your carpal tunnel syndrome. However, should you file it’s important to include as much evidence as possible that the injury was caused by your work. This is because you may run into various arguments regarding your carpal tunnel syndrome and other activities you may partake in. After all, carpal tunnel can often be caused by other activities and what you do in your free time may additionally affect your condition.
Does CTS Count As a Workplace Injury?
During the filing of workers compensation claims, one of the most common questions and debated issues includes the question of whether or not carpal tunnel syndrome may be considered a workplace injury or not. As mentioned above, a worker may do other activities in their free time, which could increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Unless the worker has strong evidence that the injury was in fact caused by the work alone and not because of a recreational activity or second job, the employer’s insurance company may very well deny the workers compensation claim.
If you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome and believe that it was caused by the activities of your work, consider consulting a workers compensation lawyer to determine if you should file a workers comp claim. Stay tuned for our blog’s Part II for further information regarding workers compensation and carpal tunnel syndrome.