Will regular computer use increase my risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome?

carpal tunnel from computer useIt’s a common misconception that office workers who spend their days typing at a computer are placing themselves at risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. A 2001 study in Neurology conducted by researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, offers insight into the prevalence of carpal tunnel syndrome among office workers. This study looked at office workers who used their computer keyboards for six to seven hours per day and did not find an increased risk of carpal tunnel syndrome compared to other workers. Only 3.5% of the 250 workers in the study met the diagnostic criteria for carpal tunnel syndrome—a rate that was similar to the general population.

Computer Use Makes Symptoms More Noticeable

While typing doesn’t cause a person to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, it can make the symptoms of the condition more noticeable. Office workers who experience numbness, tingling, and burning in the fingers or pain that travels up the forearm towards the shoulder while typing should consult their healthcare provider for a diagnosis. A doctor can rule out conditions with overlapping symptoms, such as tendonitis.

Office Workers May Have Other Risk Factors

The mistaken belief that typing causes carpal tunnel syndrome may be related to the fact that office workers often have other risk factors for the condition. Women, especially those who are experiencing hormonal changes due to pregnancy or menopause, have an increased risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are also known risk factors.

Get Carpal Tunnel Treatment at Our Towson Office

If carpal tunnel symptoms are interfering with your workday despite using wrist splints and over-the-counter pain relievers, you may be a good candidate for ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release. CTR with the SX-One MicroKnife and ultrasound guidance relieves symptoms with a minimal recovery time. Most patients can return to their daily activities in three to six days without any post-operative physical therapy.

Dr. Eric H. Williams, a nerve expert who specializes in reconstructive surgery and pain relief, knows that the demands of your work may not allow for you to spend several weeks or even months recovering from a traditional endoscopic procedure or open surgery. Learn more about your options for quickly and effectively addressing your carpal tunnel pain by contacting our Towson office.

Eric H. Williams MD
Specializing in reconstructive surgery and pain relief in the Greater Baltimore area.