How do I know if I have carpal tunnel syndrome?
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome usually start off gradually; the thumb, index finger and palm of the hand are typically the first areas to experience uncomfortable sensations. Common descriptions of symptoms include aching, tingling, itching, burning, swelling and numbness in the wrist, fingers and forearm. The little finger is not affected by carpal tunnel syndrome as a different nerve gives feeling to the little finger. Symptoms of CTS most commonly start at night in one or both hands, as many people sleep with flexed wrists which is where the pressure on the median nerve is most prominent.
As symptoms begin to worsen, there will be noticeable tingling and aching during the day. It may become difficult to perform manual tasks such as typing, gripping objects or forming a fist. In extreme, untreated cases, the muscles at the base of the thumb may waste away and there may be a complete loss of sensation. Occupations most commonly associated with carpal tunnel syndrome include computer workers, factory workers, construction workers, drivers, musicians and chefs. This is because CTS is frequently caused by repetitive hand motions.
There are countless causes for carpal tunnel syndrome, but if it has developed due to the nature of your job, you may be within your rights to claim compensation. These causes may include using vibrating tools, typing for long periods of time, repeatedly lifting heavy objects or repeatedly bending your wrist. Employers have a duty of care to ensure employees do not develop CTS by providing the correct training and equipment. If they fail to take the appropriate steps and you develop carpal tunnel syndrome as a result, you could be eligible for compensation.