A person may be eligible for long-term disability (LTD) benefits under their disability benefits plan when they suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome and as a result, are unable to perform the essential tasks of their job. Carpal tunnel syndrome results from a compressed nerve in the carpal tunnel, which is a narrow passageway in the wrist.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include numbness, tingling, weakness as well as other symptoms in the hand, fingers and arm. In most cases, the thumb, middle or ring, and index fingers are affected, and the person may feel an electric shock sensation in these fingers. The numbness and other symptoms generally begin in the fingers and may travel up the wrist and into the person’s arm. The symptoms may be acute enough to waken the person from sleep, which can result in fatigue due to sleep disturbance.
The particular anatomy of a person’s wrist, as well as health problems and repetitive hand motions can contribute to, or cause, carpal tunnel syndrome, according to the Mayo Clinic. Further, although appropriate treatment can often relieve the symptoms and restore hand and wrist function, if a person continues to spend a significant amount of time doing the repetitive tasks that initially contributed to the condition, recovery may be delayed or inhibited.
Carpal tunnel symptoms may occur during a variety of actions, such as driving, holding a phone or newspaper, or typing on a keyboard. In some cases, shaking out your hands may reduce or alleviate the symptoms, but in more serious cases, the symptoms may become continuous. The weakness and numbness can cause an affected person to drop objects and/or they may find themselves unable to open jars and perform other tasks that require dexterity or strength.
Someone who experiences persistent symptoms that impact their normal activities should consult with their doctor. Without treatment, carpal tunnel syndrome may result in permanent muscle and nerve damage.
Persons who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome may be able to temporarily alleviate their symptoms through the following steps (www.mayoclinic.org).
- Take short breaks from any repetitive activity that involves the use of your hands.
- Periodically stretch your fingers and palms and rotate your wrists.
- Take pain medication, such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin.
- At night, wear a snug wrist split.
- Don’t sleep on your hands.
- Relax your grip and reduce the amount of force you apply when working on a keyboard or cash register.
- When writing for a prolonged period, use an oversized pen with a soft grip.
- Take frequent breaks from work that involves using your hands, and periodically stretch and bend your hands gently. This is particularly important when using equipment that requires a large amount of force or equipment that vibrates.
- Be careful of your form and posture. Don’t roll your shoulders forward and avoid bending your wrist all the way down or up. Your keyboard should be at the height of your elbows or somewhat lower.
- Your hands should be kept warm as carpal tunnel symptoms tend to worsen in cold temperatures.
Someone who has developed persistent carpal tunnel syndrome or repetitive strain disorder symptoms may find that their normal work activities aggravate their symptoms and prevent them from recovering, or their condition prevents them from being able to effectively do their job. In such cases, the sufferer may need to take time off work. In order to be eligible for long-term disability benefits, if you have LTD coverage, your application for benefits must include medical documentation from your doctor which precisely identifies how your symptoms prevent you from performing the necessary tasks of your normal work. A claimant must also have shown that they sought regular treatment from a physician for their condition, before claiming disability benefits.
If you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome or a repetitive strain disorder, and your insurer has unfairly denied you LTD benefits, call Kotak Law to find out how we can help you obtain owed disability benefits.