Office workers and anyone else who performs repetitive tasks with their hands could be at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Although people often dismiss carpal tunnel as a minor medical issue, it can have a very real, negative impact on your job performance, as well as your quality of life.
It is common for workers with carpal tunnel syndrome, especially in the early stages, to try to continue working despite their pain. That decision will only exacerbate someone’s symptoms, leading to more issues. Eventually, the employer involved may take issue with someone’s job performance, at which point they could face negative performance reviews that endanger their employment.
How does carpal tunnel syndrome affect your ability to work?
It causes chronic pain
Carpal tunnel syndrome causes tingling or burning pain in the hands and forearms. It can also cause numbness that extends from the fingers all the way up to the shoulders. The pins and needles sensation of the numb body parts and the pain that people report can affect their focus on their job and even their ability to sleep at night, which can translate into reduced job performance.
It changes strength and flexibility
Someone coping with the progressive symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome will likely notice that they can’t grip as firmly as they once did or use their fingers in the same way as before. A loss of strength and dexterity is common in those with carpal tunnel syndrome. The loss of range of motion and grip strength can absolutely affect someone’s ability to perform basic job functions.
It can increase reaction time
Given that carpal tunnel syndrome involves nerve issues, it may not surprise you to learn that increased response times in affected arms and hands are sometimes a symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome. Your nerve impulses will be slower. Especially in an emergency scenario where someone’s reflexes could save them from a severe laceration or chemical burn, being able to move quickly without any delay is important.
Workers who try to blame their job performance on an injury after receiving a bad performance review might have a more difficult time getting benefits and retaining their job than those who identify the issue and notify their employer before the carpal tunnel starts affecting their work abilities. Knowing when to claim workers’ compensation benefits can protect your profession as well as your financial stability.