If your California job requires you to do a lot of typing or other repetitive hand motions, you face a high risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. This highly painful condition that affects not only your hands and wrists, but can also affect your arms, neck and back afflicts thousands of workers each year.
Carpal tunnel syndrome gets its name from the fact that you have a carpal tunnel in each of your wrists. This literal tunnel provides the passageway through which the ligaments, tendons and nerves of your hands and fingers get to your arms. In the case of your nerves, they ultimately connect with your brain so that you can move your fingers and hands.
Not only are your carpal tunnels very narrow, but they also have very little give to them. Their roofs consist of your transverse carpal ligaments and their sides consist of your carpal bones. Your constant repetitive motions cause the synovial tissues of your carpal tunnels to swell, thereby depriving your flexor tendons of the lubrication they need. This, in turn, puts pressure on your medial nerves, causing the pain always associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Dealing with the problem
Unfortunately, once CPS begins, you cannot stop it from progressing. You can, however, delay the progression. Once your hands and wrists begin to hurt, your best option, if you work at a computer, is to switch to an ergonomic keyboard. If your repetitive motions consist of hammering or wielding another hand tool, using a wrist splint can help. Nevertheless, ultimately you may need to undergo surgery to repair the damage and ease your pain.
While there are not specific standards in every industry regarding an employer’s responsibility to provide ergonomic tools, the Occupational Safety and Health Act does require all employers to remove ergonomic hazards from the workspace.