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Can steroids help those with carpal tunnel syndrome?

Whether one is typing at a computer all day long or performing the same task repeatedly on a factory assembly line, repetitive stress disorders are a common affliction suffered by many in Aurora. One particularly common type of repetitive stress injury suffered at work is carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be painful, requiring the worker to take time away from his or her job. According to one source, approximately 5 percent of individuals in the United States have carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome puts pressure on a nerve called the median nerve in a person's arm that stretches the length of the person's forearm, all the way to the palm of the hand. The median nerve is located within a narrow corridor, consisting of tendons in a person's hand. These tendons can swell, putting pressure on the median nerve, causing inflammation and numbness, tingling and pain that radiates from a person's hand up to their arm.

One study out of Sweden showed that steroid shots might help relieve the pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, at least temporarily. The study examined 111 people with carpal tunnel syndrome between the ages of 18 to 70-years-old that had never received steroid injections. Two-thirds of participants were given methylprednisolone injections. Within 10 weeks, those who received the injections did not report suffering from the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. But, of those who received the injections, 75 percent of them still required surgery within 12 months.

Therefore, while steroid shots can temporarily relieve the swelling of the afflicted tendons, which in turn, reduces the pressure on the median nerve. Though, the most effective solution for those who have moderate to severe carpal tunnel syndrome may be to undergo a surgical procedure, where the carpal tunnel is opened up, relieving the pressure on the median nerve.

In the end, carpal tunnel syndrome can cause a person to miss work, especially if a surgical procedure is necessary. When this happens, a person may want to seek workers' compensation benefits to help the person cope with the medical expenses and lost wages incurred while they are unable to work. To learn more about how workers' compensation benefits can help those who cannot work due to carpal tunnel syndrome, it may help to consult with an attorney.

Source: WebMD, "Steroid Shots a Temporary Fix for Carpal Tunnel?," Dennis Thompson, Sept. 3, 2016

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