When we hear about CTS – Carpal Tunnel Syndrome we often think this injury is associated with office personnel who work at a computer station all day long. The truth is CTS can happen to any of us who performs a repetitive motion task or uses the wrong tool for the job. Use the right tool and the right positioning when performing any assigned task.
Please see the FREAS SharePoint page under Safety for more information on this topic and a list of all previous Weekly Safety Messages issued this year.
Extended Safety Message:
• Carpal tunnel syndrome is identified a repetitive motion injury.
• It occurs when an important nerve in the wrist is regularly pinched and compressed.
• Workers with CTS commonly feel pain, weakness, and tingling, usually in the first three fingers of the hand and the base of the thumb.
• Occasional shock-like sensations that radiate to the thumb and index, middle, and ring fingers
• Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the tunnel becomes narrowed or when tissues surrounding the flexor tendons swell, putting pressure on the median nerve.
• Symptoms are often most severe during sleep.
• Heredity can play an important factor. The carpal tunnel may be smaller in some people.
• Serious cases can be disabling.
• In most patients, carpal tunnel syndrome gets worse over time, so early diagnosis and treatment are important.
• Other health conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid gland imbalance are sometime associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
• A medical evaluation is required to properly diagnose CTS.
• Early on, symptoms can often be relieved with simple measures like wearing a wrist splint.
• If nonsurgical treatment does not relieve your symptoms after a period of time, your doctor may recommend surgery.
• Use tools designed for the job, and if possible, periodically rest your hands.
• Use tools that keep your wrist in a neutral position, rather than a forward or backward bend, to minimize force.
• Perform stretching exercises periodically – see link: https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/exercises-carpal-tunnel-syndrome#1
• Reduce repetition of movement and vary your arm’s position when performing an activity.
• Select 2-handled tools with handles that have a spring return and locking position.
• Wear gloves or use anti-vibration wraps to improve grip strength and lessen the shock of vibrating tools.
• If possible, keep your wrists in a neutral position.
• Remember to report all work related injuries and illnesses to your supervisor as soon as they occur.