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Tillman & Associates, Attorneys at Law

Carpal tunnel may develop over time, but can be debilitating

Sudden accidents at a job site or plant often make news headlines. Catastrophic events that occur unexpectedly have a certain kind of news value. But when it comes to workplace injury, a great number of people are injured over a period of time—sometimes after years on the job—from repetitive use.

Many people may be aware that repetitive stress injuries exist—for instance, people may recognize the phrase carpal tunnel syndrome. Some repetitive stress injuries have familiar (and somewhat cute sounding) names, such as tennis elbow.

But these repetitive use injuries can have significant impact on a worker without making headlines. Many workers may have heard of carpal tunnel, but fewer know what may be going on inside the body. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a serious injury that can be work-related. Generally, a nerve in the wrist can become compressed over time.

A worker may experience pain, tingling or numbness from the medical condition. The symptoms may be felt in a single thumb or finger, but for some, sensory symptoms may be felt in other areas in the arm all the way to the shoulder.

Repetitive use injuries progress over time. Many workers may only experience minor symptoms and shrug off the idea that it may be a compressed nerve thinking that it is a natural part of the aging process. But as an injury progresses, the symptoms can become more debilitating.

Seeking medical advice and a diagnosis of carpal tunnel is important. Treatment may help alleviate the condition, while other patients may need surgery to repair the damage. Early diagnosis is often important and may leave room for a wider variety of potential treatment options.

For people who have suffered a repetitive injury that is work-related, Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws may be of value. Workers diagnosed with a repetitive stress injury, such as carpal tunnel, should consider speaking with legal counsel for advice on what legal options may be available under Georgia’s workers’ compensation system.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, “Carpal tunnel cases need prompt treatment," Mark Saleh, April 23, 2013

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