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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by compression of your median nerve (a nerve that is in your forearm). If you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, you may have pain, weakness, numbness and parethesia (a tingling or burning feeling, or “pins and needles) in your thumbs, index and radial fingers. You may also notice that your palms and fingers feel swollen, you have trouble making a fist, you can’t grip items and you can’t detect temperatures with your hands.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may make it difficult for you to use your hands for everyday things like opening a bottle, opening a door, brushing your teeth, holding a pen, picking up things, holding larger items like pots and pans or laundry baskets. The pain and numbness in your hands may make it very difficult for you to sleep at night.
It can make working very difficult – especially if you have a sedentary job where you log many hours typing on a computer. You may need to stop typing after only a few minutes and take too many breaks to do you work. A carpenter may find they cannot hold on to lumber or manipulate their tools the way they need to. A dental hygienist might find it hard to use their hands to clean a patient’s teeth.
If you’re experiencing challenges with your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, you should seek medical attention. When you see your doctor they will ask you about your history and ask you to explain when you have trouble using your hands.
It’s important to tell your doctor about your symptoms and that your doctor documents them in your file. Social Security will review your doctor’s notes to see if you reported symptoms. You should report the trouble you have using your hands to your doctor at each and every visit.
Your doctor may give you a clinical diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome by performing exams in their office. For example, your doctor may test the pressure in your carpal canal by having you flex your wrist in a test called the Phalen exam. Your doctor may do an exam in their office called a Tinel’s exam. Often, your doctor will confirm your diagnosis by having you do an electrodiagnostic test.
There is no one test that accurately diagnoses every case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Skilled doctors will use many different types of exams to diagnosis you. It’s best to visit a doctor who specializes in treating patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to ensure you get the best treatment. This way, you have enough proof that you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome for Social Security to approve your case It’s important that any clinical exams your doctor does in their office and the result of your electrodiagnostic testing are given to Social Security. You must prove you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with test results and doctor’s exams in order to be considered for disability benefits.
If your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome makes it impossible for you to work, call Nash Disability Law for help.