The median nerve runs down the arm and supplies signals from the brain to the hand and fingers. The carpal tunnel is a space between the bones of the wrist that allows the median nerve to pass through.
When the tissues of the carpal tunnel swell, it can put pressure on the median nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a collective term for the symptoms of weakness, pain and sensation changes that can result.
The cause of carpal tunnel syndrome can be difficult to pinpoint. It may result from repetitive motions of the wrist that cause swelling of the tissues. People in certain professions may be at greater risk of developing CTS than others.
Which occupations pose the greatest risk?
OHS Magazine reports on a California study that attempted to calculate the rate of work-related carpal tunnel syndrome incidence per full-time equivalent worker to determine which occupations posed the greatest risk of CTS. The incidence was highest among people involved in manufacturing and administrative work.
These industries often require workers to perform repetitive manual tasks in an awkward position or a forceful manner. These are recognizable risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome.
How can workers prevent carpal tunnel syndrome?
According to the Mayo Clinic, workers in industries that pose particular CTS risks may be able to take steps to prevent the condition from developing. A cold environment can encourage hand stiffness and pain.
Even if workers cannot control the workplace temperature, they can keep their hands warm by wearing fingerless gloves. It can also help to take a few minutes every hour to stretch the wrists and hands gently. Workers can also try to exert less force when performing repetitive tasks, such as using a keyboard or a cash register.
If you are injured in the workplace, our Workers’ Compensation attorneys can help.