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Do Computers Cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

For years mothers and know-it-alls have insisted that computer use causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), so a bunch of doctors recently embarked on a one year follow up study to determine the prevalence and incidence of possible CTS and to evaluate the contribution of use of mouse devices and keyboards to one's risk.

From what we know, CTS occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist, resulting in severe pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study found that the occurrence of possible CTS in the right hand, which is usually the hand that controls your mouse, was low. The study emphasizes that computer use does not pose a severe occupational hazard for developing symptoms of CTS.

While I'm pleased to learn these findings, I can't deny the fact that my hands cramp up after hours at the keyboard and all the people I know who have suffered from CTS are writers or work at a computer all day. Do you think computer and mice use cause CTS, or do you think we do do enough strenuous work with our hands that CTS could be caused by virtually anything?

Join The Conversation
o2cleaned o2cleaned 9 years
i'm the proof that computer(s) caused carpal tunnel.
Leopardcc Leopardcc 9 years
I know I feel a bit of discomfort if I have been on my laptop too much, which I am pretty much all day.
macgirl macgirl 9 years
I'm moving from place to place and at different desk heights with different chairs all day long. I am happy to report no pains whatsoever. So if you look at it that way being on the computer all day doesn't cause CTS. I am positive though, if I sat in one place all day long that I would have soreness with the amount of computer work I do. I'm with gooniette, I think they need to do a longer study.
x_juicyfruit x_juicyfruit 9 years
It might. I know if I'm at the computer for a long time, I have wrist pain...but maybe not.
gooniette gooniette 9 years
i don't think one year is long enough for a study on cts. maybe over 5 years with repeated office workers with heavy keyboard use....
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
After a day in the office I have to admit my right wrist is hurting!
notoriuskitty notoriuskitty 9 years
i feel like taking notes for school is giving this to me!
jdots24 jdots24 9 years
glam sugar - When you are at a computer but not typing, (surfing net, using mouse, reading, etc) do you lean on your left arm? Because I do that all the time and I've noticed my left elbow hurts when my right doesn't.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
Of course it does. I'm sure it depends on a number of factors including: weight of arms, posture, wrist rest used or unused, amount of typing, how long one leaves the wrist sitting on the mouse when not mousing, etc. When I stopped using a wrist rest, my wrists grew bumps to protect my carpel tunnel from being squished against my desk. They were painful and they went away after I avoided the computer altogether for over a week, and since then I've always used a wrist pad. Any orthopedic surgeon--or general physician even--would advise the same thing. Plus it's kinda just common sense.
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
Improper position will do it. I actually got it from a newspaper job I had (rolling, folding newspapers). Wrists/forearms are very delicate.
glam-sugar glam-sugar 9 years
I actually have it started in my wrists and I'm right handed and the dr. said it's worse in my left hand. :? My job is at a computer so I'm sure it's contributed to getting CTS but I also think how you sit and the whole ergonomics of your desk have a huge part in it too. Plus, it really helps to do some stretching throughout the day. I've noticed I am in pain more when I don't stretch and take little breaks.
Tall-Face Tall-Face 9 years
i thought it was about improper positioning while USING a keyboard? Be it on a computer, typewriter, or whatever. i'm big on the ergonomics. no CTS here ;D
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I think it does. One of my girlfriends got it, and she does SO much typing everyday at work. Her work had to hire a temp to type for her because it just hurt her WAY too much. She just switched positions at her compnay though whihc requires less typing and she hasn't really had a problem since :)
jdots24 jdots24 9 years
After spending most my day sitting at a computer, I definitely think it causes all the problems I have with my arms and wrists!
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
I think it might be some peoples techniques and how often they switch up the use of their hands. Most people aren't aware of everything that goes into proper ergonomics. Here is a good reference to show proper ergonomics.
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