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Workers no longer have to fear carpal tunnel diagnosis

Every year, thousands of workers in all types of industries -- from offices to factories -- experience a pain, weakness and/or general numbness in their hands that not only affects their ability to perform their job, but their overall quality of life as well. For many of these workers, a trip to the doctor's office may verify what they already suspected: they have developed carpal tunnel syndrome.

While a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome may seem frightening and conjure up images of major surgical procedures, this isn't necessarily the case. For instance, medical professionals indicate that those diagnosed with the condition can often be effectively treated with physical therapy, a hand splint, and/or a regimen of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Furthermore, medical professionals indicate that it is only when these potential remedies prove ineffective and symptoms persist for at least six months that surgical intervention may prove necessary. Even then, workers don't need to fear having to undergo a major procedure that will leave them restricted in movement and unable to return to work for months.

As a bit of background, the carpal tunnel is a small tube comprised of ligaments and bone that is located at the base of the hand. It's designed to protect the median nerve, which enables a person to move/feel their fingers and thumb.

Simply put, carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve. Often, this pressure is caused by the thickening of the transverse carpal ligament, which serves to narrow the tube and squeeze the median nerve.

In a follow-up post, we will discuss how minimally invasive endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery can help relieve pressure on the median nerve, and put workers back at their desks, construction sites or assembly lines in a relatively short amount of time.

Those who suffer debilitating injuries on the job here in Chicago should strongly consider speaking with an experienced attorney about their rights and their options concerning workers' compensation.

Source: The Columbus Ledger Enquirer, "New carpal tunnel surgery 'minimally invasive'," Larry Gierer, Nov. 4, 2013; WebMD, "Endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome," Oct. 2010

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