One of the longstanding conversations about carpal tunnel syndrome has been whether or not typing or using other technological devices are the cause of pressure on the nerves that travel through the wrist. It is not uncommon for a person to blame their stiffness and discomfort on their day to day habits. The question is, could these habits be the cause?
We want to dive into this question. But first, let’s look at the mechanics of this condition.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs as a result of nerve impingement; and not any old nerve, the median nerve that passes through the tunnel of bones and ligament in the wrist. Symptoms occur when this large nerve meets resistance somewhere inside the tunnel. When pressure builds, and the nerve cannot function as it should, sensations such as tingling or numbness may occur. The wrist may feel stiff or sore based on usage and other factors.
Some people with carpal tunnel complain that pain and other physical sensations occur or are worse in the morning. Data suggests that the reason for this intensity is that many people sleep with their wrist folded. Studies show that wrist position can exacerbate or even cause an onset of symptomology.
This brings up the question at hand. Are daily habits the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome? What researchers have been able to confirm is that women have a higher risk for carpal tunnel syndrome due to their smaller carpal tunnel. When the passageway is already small, any amount of swelling or inflammation can place an excess or pressure on the median nerve. This could be something as simple as water retention. Additionally, studies have linked an increased risk for this condition secondary to a fracture or break in the wrist. But typing? Even repetitive usage? Not so much.
According to a report in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, there is not sufficient evidence to confirm a direct relationship between repetitious movements, such as typing, and carpal tunnel syndrome. What is thought more likely is that repetitive motion exacerbates symptoms when the nerve is already under pressure.
Good news! Carpal tunnel syndrome does not mean you have to quit your day job – or your smartphone. It does mean that you need to talk with your orthopedic surgeon about how to resolve the issue at hand. To do so, call Advanced Orthopedics & Hand Surgery Institute in New Jersey.