Grocery store workers have difficult jobs dealing with people who aren't happy for any number of reasons, including just not wanting to do their shopping that day. When something is out of stock, it can mean unjustified anger toward anyone who happens to be stocking shelves nearby or the person at the cash register.
A high incidence rate of repetitive stress injuries, too
While it appears to most of us that the job doesn't involve too much physical dangers, grocery workers face a higher risk of injury than many of us realize. Some injuries come from accidents, such as a slip and fall on a slick floor. Others aren't so easy to detect at first because there is no accident that causes them. These cumulative trauma injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, can be just as painful and hard to live with as an injury from an accident.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve that goes from the hand to the arm becomes compressed in the wrist area. This nerve travels through a narrow passageway that is formed by the carpal bones. The median nerve shares the carpal tunnel with the flexor tendons that move the fingers and thumb.
The syndrome is caused by the tissues surrounding those tendons swelling or by the tunnel narrowing. These crowd the nerve and cause it to become damaged. The wrist motion that cashiers use when ringing up customers and the hand motion used in typing on a keyboard can both cause carpal tunnel syndrome to occur and worsen.
What are the symptoms?
Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause tingling and numbness in the affected hand. These, along with pain, can radiate to the arm. When the condition first starts, the symptoms are usually minor. Symptoms might come and go and be bothersome. As the condition worsens, so do the symptoms.
You might begin to notice shooting nerve pain that affects that digits. The respective hand might be weak and clumsy, so you might drop things. These symptoms can be more prevalent at night or when you are holding something for a prolonged period.
How is it treated?
If it is caught early enough, carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated with physical therapy and wrist splints. When the condition worsens, you might need to have surgery to have it corrected. No matter how severe the case, you may find it difficult to keep up with your work like usual due to the restricted wrist and hand movement necessary during the healing process.
Workers' compensation covers cumulative trauma injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. This will cover your medical bills and provide other benefits.