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Carpal tunnel syndrome pains workers

While sitting may seem like a safe activity, sitting too often or for long stretches of time can be detrimental to a person's health. What is a person to do then, when one's job necessitates sitting? As one article recommending healthy workplace behaviors suggests, there are ways that workers can decrease the risk of sustaining an injury from sitting too long.

Many workers who are sitting for much of the day are looking at computer screens and typing on a keyboard. While a person may be able to alter the type of chair that he or she sits in or even use a standing computer station, there are few ways to avoid typing if one's job requires a significant amount of email correspondence, writing, or internet searching.

When workers spend long periods of time performing tasks like typing, they may begin to feel pain in their wrists, fingers, elbows, or shoulders. Some of this pain could be due to carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the result of repetitive hand and finger movements. Typing is just one example of a repetitive movement in the workplace. Many assembly line and kitchen workers also repeat the same hand and finger movements over and over throughout the day.

However, there are actions that workers can take to make carpal tunnel syndrome less bothersome. For instance, stretching one's fingers, hands, and shoulders can help relieve pain. In addition, taking breaks from the repetitive motion may alleviate tingling sensations or pain felt in the fingers, wrist, and forearm.

For many workers, carpal tunnel symptoms are likely minor. However, if a worker's carpal tunnel symptoms become more severe, the worker may have to resort to more extreme means of treating the syndrome. Carpal tunnel surgery can help people with severe symptoms that are not alleviated by other techniques.

A worker struggling with pain from carpal tunnel syndrome may not think that this type of pain could warrant a workers' compensation award. However, workers' compensation is not limited to workers who experience an extreme injury on the job. An injury resulting from repetitive movements day after day may also be eligible for workers' compensation.

Source: Northwest Asian Weekly, "10 ways to stay healthy at work," Vivian Miezianko, Jan. 10, 2013

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