Particular occupations and workplaces may be more prone to certain workplace injuries. It was widely believed that office workers may have greater vulnerability to carpal tunnel and long-range neurological injuries. In a recent study by the Henry Ford Health System, however, researchers found that workers in construction and other manufacturing jobs are more susceptible to carpal tunnel injuries than office workers.
Carpal tunnel causes swelling of the ligaments and bones in the wrist which leads to nerve compression. Common symptoms vary in severity and include mild occasional numbness in the fingers, hand weakness, feeling loss, extreme night pain and hand function loss.
Injuries from carpal tunnel syndrome dropped steadily from 1.3 million injuries reported in 2003 to 900,380 in 2018, according to recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor. But the costs for carpal tunnel medical care in this country are estimated to be over $2 billion annually.
The study was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in the spring. Researchers in this study, trying to explain conflicting information in earlier research studies, determined that injuries in labor industry occupations exceed injuries from office jobs.
Workers facing the risk of carpal tunnel injury engage in activities involving repetitive finger use. These involve motions such as high-force hammering, long-term use, extreme wrist motions and vibration.
Health conditions can also contribute to this injury. These include diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, fluid retention from pregnancy or menopause, rheumatoid arthritis and or autoimmune disorders, wrist fractures or trauma.
Prevention and treatment
The study illustrates that carpal tunnel is a primary contributor to hand and upper extremity pain in the manufacturing and clerical workplaces, according to the study’s senior investigator. Ergonomic conditions for both occupations need to be evaluated and considered.
Surgery may be recommended when the injury does not respond to non-surgical treatment or becomes severe. Surgery enlarges the tunnel size and decreases the pressure on the nerves that pass through the space by cutting the transverse carpal ligament covering the carpal tunnel at the base of the palm.
Capral tunnel syndrome and other work-related injuries may be costly. Attorneys can help ensure that you can pursue compensation for these injuries.