Working with vibrating tools and performing jobs that require repetitive motions are putting unprecedented demands on our anatomy that it just wasn’t designed to handle.
The result is carpal tunnel, a pinching of the median nerve, which controls many of the muscles in your hands. The pinching is often caused by irritation of the tendons that share the tunnel with the nerve. Irritation can result from repeated short rapid motions of the tendons, such as is caused by typing, and it can also be caused by injury to the wrist or the use of vibrating tools.
In the early stages, symptoms of carpal tunnel include:
- Tingling (like when your hand is “asleep”)
- Mild pain that gets worse when holding small objects
As the condition progresses, you may experience:
- Weakness in your hand
- Lack of coordination
- Inability to fully bend fingers
These symptoms make it harder to hold objects and perform tasks that require fine dexterity.
Finally you may experience:
- Swelling sensation in fingers
- Complete numbness, including an inability to distinguish between hot and cold
- Loss of muscle tone, even complete atrophy of hand muscles
If you suffer from carpal tunnel as a result of your job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation.