Did you know one of the injuries many lawn care business owners deal with is Carpel Tunnel Syndrome? Many don’t know that over time, the heavy usage of your hands and arms through landscaping work and operating vibrating equipment can effect your body in such a painful way. Here are some stories, shared with us on The Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, about how Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has effected business owners and their ability to operate their lawn care businesses.
One business owner wrote “do any of you guys suffer from Carpel Tunnel? I’ve had it for a few years now and it is slowly getting worse. Right now while I’m typing, I have to look at the letters to make sure Im typing it correctly because my fingers (except me pinky) are completely numb..
I don’t have the pain anymore, but very frequent numbness and soreness while working using my hands. I sleep with a splint everynight and take 2 naproxens twice a day to help with the inflammation. It’s weird that nothing really hurts, but my fingers go numb and feel swollen and stiff. They mostly feel swollen and stiff when I wake up. If I try to close my hand, in my middle and index fingers it feels like they’re double jointed. When I sleep, I have to keep my hands down by my sides or they will go numb. If they are facing downward and I’m not using them, They feel normal.
While I’m working, I have to take many 1 minutes breaks to get the numbness to go away. I do a lot of hand shaking and wrists twists during the day to try and keep my hands awake.
It helps to a point, but isn’t a cure. I am not sure now how I should go about handling this situation because it is effecting my ability to operate my lawn care business.”
A second lawn care business owner said “I have it in both wrists really bad. Anti-vibration gloves don’t help anymore and the worst pain I feel is when I use a mouse. It makes doing any computer work really hard. Both my arms up to my elbows fall asleep and the pain sucks. Nothing works anymore.
Last year I did the electrical delay testing at a specialist. That is where they stick you with needles everywhere. In your hand, forearm and elbow and zap your nerves with electricity) and then measure the time it takes to travel back to ground.
My doctor said it was real bad and recommends surgery and says I’ll be back to normal using my hands in 6 weeks afterward, but how can I go that long and not work? So I don’t know what to do, but I keep dropping things. My passion for landscape maintenance is killing my hands.”
A third lawn care business owner said “I had the operation on both wrists about 5 years ago. I wouldn’t recommend it! I have no feeling in my left hand except for partial feeling in the little finger and my wrist swells up after using it for any time. Any vibration aggravates it.
I also am dropping small objects all the time. I can sense the weight of larger objects and tend to hold on tighter I guess. When I need to work on my computer, I have begun using an ergonomic keyboard, which really helps. It even increased my typing speed! The problem with it is that you have a real hard time using a conventional keyboard after using it. A laptop is practically unusable, which is problematic because that is what I used to use out in the field.
Most lawn care work involves vibration or pounding and it causes immense pain in my arms and hands. That worries me because I don’t know how much longer I can stand this. Through trial and error I have found a cold pack reduces the swelling, but a hot pack reduces the pain.”