The American Chiropractic Association has stated that carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most expensive injury to occur on the job, costing nearly $30,000 as a result of time away from work and necessary medical bills.
Carpal tunnel syndrome or CTS is a result of issues with the median nerve. This nerve is located in the forearm and can become compressed by a narrow tunnel in the wrist known as the carpal tunnel. This compression can cause the bones at the roof of the tunnel to collapse, which irritates the nerve and causes pain and muscle weakness.
Individuals with smaller carpal tunnels are more likely to suffer from CTS. The smaller the carpal tunnel, the more likely compression of the median nerve will occur. CTS can also occur for a number of reasons, including diabetes, having mechanical issues with the wrist and from a work-related wrist injury.
In terms of workplace related CTS, those in the cleaning, finishing, manufacturing, meatpacking, sewing or similar industries are more prone to developing the painful problem, and more often than not it will develop in the employee's dominant hand.
Common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include burning, itching and numbness in the hand, or index and middle fingers. Individuals have also reported that their fingers felt swollen as a result of carpal tunnel syndrome even though there was no visual evidence of swelling.
Sufferers of CTS can lose grip strength and have difficulty grasping small objects, which can greatly impact a person's livelihood if he or she frequently works with their hands.
However, depending on the root cause of CTS, if it is determined repetitive motions at one's job resulted in CTS; workers' compensation may be available, as well as social security disability benefits.
Source: Sioux City Journal, "Do you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome," Scott Sneller, 10 March 2011