Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
Carpal Tunnel syndrome is a combination of parasthesia (pins and needles) numbness and pain affecting all over the hand except the little finger and half of the main finger. This can be caused by a pressure on the median nerve that passes through the wrist which can result from continuous repetitive movements of the hand such as using a keyboard.
Who is most likely to suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome CTS?
Whereas much carpal tunnel syndrome related media attention has, in the past, been devoted to employees whose tasks include monotonous data entry on computers, more ergonomically designed computer hardware has led to carpal tunnel syndrome becoming less of a problem with an office environment. However, employees still at risk of acquiring carpal tunnel syndrome at work include assembly line workers, those involved in manufacturing, sewing, cleaning and food packing.
Women are three times more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome at work than men – due to their naturally thinner wrists and consequently thinner carpal tunnels – and carpal tunnel syndrome is hardly heard of in people less than thirty years of age. It is estimated that carpal tunnel syndrome affects three out of 10,000 employees each year, with the majority missing more than ten days from work because of their injury: plus there is the added potential for the re-occurrence of the condition when the employee returns to work.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Mild symptoms usually can be treated with home care. We would always advise consulting your GP in the case of any form of injury, however, you can also:
- Stop activities that cause numbness and pain. Rest your wrist longer between activities.
- Ice your wrist for 10 to 15 minutes 1 or 2 times an hour.
- Try taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
- Wear a wrist splint at night. This takes pressure off your median nerve.
The sooner you start treatment, the better your chances of stopping symptoms and preventing long-term damage to the nerve.
You also may need medicine for carpal tunnel syndrome or for a health problem that made you susceptible to developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Surgery is an option. But it’s usually used only when symptoms are so bad that you can’t work or do other things even after several weeks to months of other treatment.
To keep carpal tunnel syndrome from coming back, take care of your basic health. Stay at a healthy weight. Don’t smoke. Exercise to stay strong and flexible. If you have a long-term health problem, such as arthritis or diabetes, follow your doctor’s advice for keeping your condition under control.
You can also try to take good care of your wrists and hands:
- Try to keep your wrist in a neutral position.
- Use your whole hand—not just your fingers—to hold objects.
- When you type, keep your wrists straight, with your hands a little higher than your wrists. Relax your shoulders when your arms are at your sides.
- If you can, switch hands often when you repeat movements
What you should do if you display symptoms of CTS?
If you think that you have carpal tunnel syndrome, your first course of action should be to visit your local doctor. Once you have advised him that you have symptoms which might be related to your occupation, he will conduct the initial tests and then refer you to a specialist for confirmation of his diagnosis. If the specialist agrees that you have carpal tunnel syndrome induced by poor work practices, then you should see a solicitor in respect of claiming compensation for your carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a recognised industrial injury for employees who regularly use power tools and are involved in other aspects of manufacturing, and a solicitor will be able to determine whether your personal circumstances entitle you to claim compensation for acquiring carpal tunnel syndrome. If it can be proven that work practices promoted by your employer have led to you developing carpal tunnel syndrome, you should be able to claim compensation for your injuries.
Claiming Compensation for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome CTS*
Claiming compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome is processed in exactly the same way as any personal injury claim, with an initial application to the Injuries Board Ireland and an independent medical examination. Even though musculoskeletal disorders are covered in the Injuries Board Ireland´s “Book of Quantum”, you may wish to have a solicitor familiar with personal injury claims of this nature complete your application form to ensure that all aspects and consequences of your injury are included.
As well as being able to claim compensation for the physical trauma you may have experienced through your carpal tunnel syndrome, you might also be able to claim special damages for any out of pocket expenses you may have encountered making doctor´s appointments and travelling to see a specialist. Furthermore, when making a claim for carpal tunnel syndrome compensation against an employer, being represented by a solicitor makes it less likely that you will experience an awkward workplace confrontation when able to return to work.
Even though the Statute of Limitations allows two years (from the date when you are diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome) in which to make a claim for compensation, you should not delay in contacting a solicitor. Cases of this nature may often be complex and take time to resolve, and a lengthy preparation of your case due to medical tests may result in it becoming time-barred.
CONTACT OUR PERSONAL INJURY TEAM TODAYIf you have experienced an accident or accidents in the workplace and you have questions surrounding the incident please feel free to call any one of our personal injury solicitors at Coleman Legal Partners to find out if you have a potential action against your employer. If you have suffered as the result of an accident at work and would like to discuss your situation, please contact Rose Sweeney or Keith Rolls by email or FREEphone us on 1800-844104.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with RE.8 of SI 518 of 2002.