What does carpal tunnel syndrome feel like?
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome usually start gradually and include tingling or numbness in the fingers, hand or elbow. Most often the thumb, index, middle and or ring fingers are affected, but never your little finger; and sometimes you might feel a sensation like an electric shock in those fingers which are affected.
The sensations may travel from your wrist up your arm. These symptoms can often occur when you are doing something with your hands like driving a car, holding a phone or newspaper or can, at times, even wake you up from sleep. Many people shake out their hands to try and relieve their symptoms and often the numb feeling becomes constant over time.
If you are suffering from carpal tunnel as a result of an accident, we can help. We also manage your claim with a no win no fee guarantee.
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With carpal tunnel syndrome you may also feel weakness in your hands and often drop objects due to the numbness in your hand or weakness of your thumb’s pinching muscles which are controlled by the median nerve.
Injured workers have also experienced the pain and suffering caused by carpal tunnel syndrome through the repeated use of vibrating hand tools, sewing, finishing, cleaning, meatpacking and other manufacturing or assembly-line-type tasks.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and have not sought medical attention, you should make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible as the success of treatment is directly related to early intervention.
Do you suspect or have you been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome? Use our hand injury claim calculator to determine what carpal tunnel compensation payout you may receive in Queensland and the ACT.
How did I get carpal tunnel syndrome?
In its most basic form carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on nerves that run through the wrist, and this type of injury can be the result of
- Repetitive overuse or work injury
- Hand or wrist injury from a motor vehicle accident or other crushing type incident
- Arthritis, overactive pituitary gland or underactive thyroid gland
- Wrist fractures
- Congenital factors – some people have smaller carpal tunnel than others
Some people are at higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome including:
- Women between the ages of 40-60 years
- Pregnant women
- Diabetics and people suffering other metabolic disorders
- People with certain arthritis (including rheumatoid arthritis)
- Anyone who experiences a period of rapid weight gain
- People who use their hands repeatedly in their day-to-day activities, such as typists or assembly line workers.
How is carpal tunnel syndrome treated?
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome should begin as soon as possible under the management and direction of a qualified physician. Non-surgical treatments include:
- Avoiding activities that provoke symptoms
- Over the counter drugs to ease pain and swelling
- Prescription medication to release pressure on nerves
- And alternative therapies including yoga, acupuncture and chiropractic treatments
However, for many, carpal tunnel release surgery is the only long term solution and involves severing ligaments around the wrist to reduce pressure on the median nerve. Traditionally, this has involved open release surgery which involves cutting the carpal tunnel ligament to enlarge the carpal tunnel. This procedure is generally done under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis unless there are extenuating or unusual medical conditions that require inpatient care.
Alternatively, endoscopic surgery allows faster functional recovery and is less uncomfortable post operation. However, it also has a higher risk of complications and the need for further surgery.
Although symptoms of carpal tunnel may be immediately relieved following surgery, full recovery can take months. Some individuals may experience infection of the wound, nerve damage and stiffness or pain at the scar. Almost always there is a reduction in grip strength, which hopefully improves over time. Often people need to modify their activities for at least several weeks following surgery and for some changing jobs or altering their duties is required entirely.
How can carpal tunnel syndrome be avoided?
On the job conditioning, stretching exercises and regular breaks will all contribute to the prevention of carpal tunnel injury compensation claims.
Using correct posture and wrist positions while working, or wearing fingerless gloves to keep hands warm in cold temperatures will also help reduce your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
How much can I expect to claim?
Filing a workers compensation claim for carpal tunnel syndrome can be complicated and it’s imperative you understand if your injury is considered to be an accident or occupational disease. If you’ve developed carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of your job, regardless of whether it was caused as a result of a single incident like an accident or over time as a result of the nature of your role, you should speak to us for the right legal advice to determins how much compensation you may get.
Take our hand injury claim calculator and see what you might be able to get for a carpal tunnel compensation payout in QLD and the ACT.
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