What the Commercial or Owner Operator Truck Driver Should Know about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is usually associated with people who spend too many hours on a computer keyboard. However, anyone can come down with this problem if they engage in prolonged activity involving repetitive motion of the fingers and wrist.

For commercial or owner operator truck drivers, activities such as chaining and tarping along with the constant vibration of the steering wheel and shifter can cause CTS. Vibration comes into play if you grip the steering wheel and shifter tightly and/or you rest your wrists on either of them.

Unlike many injuries, Carpal tunnel syndrome isn’t immediately debilitating. Instead, it has a gradual onset. But ignoring the symptoms and failure to seek treatment can cause a permanent and debilitating condition where muscle and nerve damage may occur. People with severe CTS can’t open doors or even put on their clothes. Obviously, you couldn’t work as a commercial or owner operator truck driver in this condition.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms

  • Numbness and tingling in the hand, thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers.
  • Numbness and tingling come and go at first, but may become constant.
  • Burning sensation that radiates from your fingers to your elbow.
  • Weakness in your hands.
  • Inability to feel heat and cold.
  • Symptoms are often first noticed at night while in bed or in the morning.

The tingling, burning, numbness, and muscle weakness are caused by pressure or damage to the median nerve, which extends down the arm and through the wrists. Early detection and treatment is the key to relieving pain and numbness, and regaining normal hand and wrist movement.

Prevention Tips

According to Mayo Clinic, there are no proven strategies for preventing carpal tunnel syndrome. However, you can minimize the stress that gives rise to this condition:

  • Use no more force than necessary. This includes not over gripping the steering wheel or the shifter.
  • Take breaks and mix up your activities. Rest breaks from driving also prevent fatigue and allow you to get some exercise.
  • Keep your wrists relaxed and in their neutral (straight) position when possible. Avoid extreme bending of the wrists in either direction.
  • Keep your hands and wrists warm. Avoid working with your hands for hours in a cold environment. Wear warm gloves.

For more information on making life on the road easier, and for any questions about commercial or owner operator truck insurance in Georgia, feel free to contact us.