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How to avoid workplace injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome

People in Michigan whose daily work routine involves hours and hours of the same physical activity often risk suffering repetitive stress injuries. This might be a knee injury for someone who spends hours on his or her feet every day, or a back injury for someone who lifts boxes or paints walls. Even those who have sit-down office jobs can suffer repetitive stress injuries, and one of the most common types of these is carpal tunnel syndrome.

Many activities can lead to syndrome that is often characterized by pain, numbing and swelling in the wrist and palm side hand. Those who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome can often obtain workers' compensation benefits to pay for medical treatment and any lost wages due to time spent away from work, but there are also a number of things that employers and employees can do to cut back the risks of sustaining this repetitive stress injury.

Employers can modify equipment and use ergonomically designed tools, as well as adjust tasks and processes in order to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, in some cases employers can reassign workers who have carpal tunnel syndrome or its symptoms into other positions.

A University of Maryland Medical Center report has also found a number of things that keyboard workers can do themselves in order to minimize the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Take frequent short breaks, about three minutes each, to avoid overexertion of the hand and finger muscles.
  • During breaks, take deep breaths, stretch or shake limbs, lean back in the chair or squeeze shoulder blades together.
  • Practice good posture.
  • Adjust the tension of the keys on the keyboard so that they do not need to be pressed too firmly.
  • Keep the hands and wrists in a relaxed position while typing.

These are only a few suggestions to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Those who are already experiencing symptoms may be wise to pursue medical attention and workers' compensation. Workers' compensation attorneys can help with this process.

Source: University of Maryland Medical Center, "Carpal tunnel syndrome--Prevention," accessed December 2012

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