Giving Tradies A Hand

The reality of being a trades-person in Australia today is that you are more likely to suffer a work-related injury than workers in any other industry; with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reporting that more than one third of all workplace injuries involve the trades.

Furthermore, from within a culture of “soldiering on”, 84% of affected tradies are reported to continue working while injured. This is largely due to the fact that working as a contractor – and being paid per job, rather than per hour – means that slowing down or taking sick leave equals a loss of wages (and, in some cases, even the business itself).

However, when adequate rest/treatment is not sought, many conditions can worsen, resulting in the need for even more time off work and thus increased financial hardship. There is also the risk of further injury, especially when the nature of the work itself is exacerbating the condition. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a prime example of this.

CTS is the most commonly diagnosed hand condition, affecting almost 4% of the general population and accounting for 90% of all nerve entrapments. It is a disabling condition, defined as a chronic compression/injury of the median nerve at the wrist and is caused by increased pressure within the carpal tunnel – a narrow passageway in the wrist – leading to impaired function of the median nerve. This can be due to injury (e.g., fracture/dislocation); the size of the carpal tunnel itself; nerve damage (e.g., with diabetes); inflammatory conditions (e.g., arthritis); obesity; fluid retention; other medical conditions; and (specifically) sustained, repetitive, high-vibration tasks.

CTS is particularly prevalent within the trades industry, where tasks such as jack hammering and drilling are performed regularly. Strains and chronic muscle conditions account for 46% of all trades-related workplace injuries, with CTS being high on the list.

Common symptoms include aching, numbness, tingling and/or burning in the palm side of one/both hands (often more pronounced in the dominant hand), as well as intermittent “electric shocks” in the wrist/hand. Symptoms often increase at night and/or early in the morning (which often impairs sleep) and are exacerbated by repetitive tasks (e.g., operating machinery). Patients may “flick” the affected hand (in an attempt to alleviate symptoms) and often experience impaired grip strength/manual dexterity or start “dropping things” – making for an unsafe working environment where heavy/electric machinery is in use.

The good news is that CTS is both an easily diagnosable and treatable condition – with the right testing and advice.

Nerve conduction studies (NCS) are the “gold standard” in diagnostic testing for CTS, as they provide objective, localised information on the function of the median nerve across the carpal tunnel.

Coastal Neurophysiology has been servicing local tradies for more than twenty-five years, providing bulk-billed, premium quality NCS testing. We currently offer short waiting times, so there is no need to prolong your suffering. We also provide daily bookings for Workcover and Insurance patients, as helping you return to work quickly and safely is our priority.

Additionally, your results will be explained to you clearly and immediately by one of our highly experienced Neurologists and a comprehensive report will be sent to your Referring Doctor within 24 hours, so you can commence treatment immediately.

CNS is the only large private bulk-billing neurophysiology diagnostic service in QLD and Northern NSW. Our clinics are conveniently located in the Brisbane CBD, Ipswich and the Gold Coast.

We use Australia’s only Cadwell NCS & EMG state-of-the-art beta software, to ensure the upmost accuracy of all results. Our team is highly qualified and experienced, so you can rest assured that you’re receiving the best possible advice and treatment recommendations.

For more information visit or phone 07 5503 2499. Ask your GP for a referral today.

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