A repetitive stress injury can happen to someone who spends the day on an assembly line, has a job in construction as a drywaller or works as a tennis pro, among other kinds of employment. 

However, you work in an office and multitask with a computer and a phone, which has resulted in a repetitive stress injury known as carpal tunnel syndrome. 

What it is 

The median nerve is at the center of the repetitive stress injury you have suffered. This nerve controls nerve impulses for your hand and runs through a passageway of bones and ligaments called the carpal tunnel. Repetitive motion may cause swelling, which will compress the median nerve. The result is carpal tunnel syndrome, manifested by pain, a tingling feeling or numbness in the wrist, hand or fingers. This is a progressive condition, which, if left untreated, could cause the muscles in your hand to deteriorate. 

Why it happened 

You use a keyboard and mouse on a daily basis, and you go through the same motions with your arm, wrist and fingers repeatedly. You also talk with customers using a landline. You often hold the receiver between your ear and shoulder while you access information on the computer. This kind of awkward position exacerbated the compression on the median nerve. 

How to proceed 

The first steps are to inform your employer of your injury and seek medical care, after which you can file a claim for workers’ compensation. Remember that insurance companies are in business to make profits, and it is not uncommon for them to offer a lowball settlement or to deny a claim altogether. 

From your point of view, this is unacceptable. The good news is that you do not have to go through the insurance process without assistance. As long as your carpal tunnel injury resulted from the kind of work you do for your employer, you have a right to seek full and fair compensation to cover your medical expenses and any lost wages.