Authorities in California expressed their concern over the number of workers in the state who are victims of carpal tunnel syndrome. The California Department of Public Health says over 139,000 such cases were reported in the seven years from 2007 to 2014. Ligaments and bones form a rigid tunnel through which tendons and nerves run between the wrist and the hand. The tendons are used to bend the fingers, and the feeling in specific parts of the hand is provided by the median nerve. Repetitive use of the hands can bring about extremely painful workplace injuries.
Occupations with high rates of carpal tunnel syndrome include electronics and electrical workers along with electromechanical assemblers, attendants in coffee shops, cafeterias and food concession facilities, telephone operators and more. However, workers' compensation data shows that women are more susceptible to these workplace injuries, with high incidence rates among women working in facilities that process food and manufacture apparel, as well as administrative workers. Health authorities say this could be because the carpal tunnel in women is smaller than those of men.
The syndrome develops when repetitive use of the hand causes the tendons to swell, squeezing the median nerve inside the limited space of the carpal tunnel. According to researchers, ergonomic changes to work environments could prevent CTS. Such changes could avoid situations in which workers have to make forceful and repetitive hand motions while maintaining awkward body postures. Although nonsurgical treatment exists, the most effective way of resolving this painful condition is through surgery.
Victims of carpal tunnel syndrome or other musculoskeletal workplace injuries in California might find it difficult to prove that their conditions are work-related. This is where the skills of an experienced workers' compensation attorney come in. A lawyer can provide the necessary support and guidance throughout the benefits claims process in pursuit of compensation for medical expenses and lost wages.