Harvard Study: Carpal Tunnel Not Caused by Computer Use

December 15, 2005

A new report from Harvard Medical School refutes the common assumption that computer use causes carpal tunnel syndrome.

Instead, says this report edited by Harvard-based hand experts, carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the compression of the median nerve in the wrist. This compression may occur because of heredity, body weight, fracture, or even pregnancy—but not computer use.

This 40-page report, “Hands: Strategies for strong, pain-free hands,” also explains the many causes of hand pain and describes the exercises, therapies, and medications used to treat them.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition that affects between 2 percent and 3 percent of the population, occurs when one of the three major nerves that travel from the spinal cord down to the hand becomes “pinched.” It affects nearly twice as many women as men. A procedure to ease this nerve disorder is one of the most common surgeries done in the United States, with more than 200,000 performed each year.

Recent research has found that heavy computer use—up to seven hours a day—does not increase risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. However, improper computer use and other workplace conditions can contribute to a type of disorder known as repetitive stress injury.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is in fact not a repetitive stress injury, though it is often incorrectly described as one, says the Harvard report.

The report also covers such topics as arthritis of the hand joints, Raynaud’s syndrome, finger fractures, dislocation, accidental amputation, trigger finger, tennis elbow, lupus, and gout.

Harvard Health Publications has a publication on Hands: Strategies for strong, pain-free hands available at http://www.health.harvard.edu/HND.

Source: Harvard Medical

Subscribe Insurance news headlines delivered to your email.
Get a free subscription to our popular email newsletter.

Latest Comments

  • October 24, 2010 at 11:13 am
    Khaqan says:
    Best Article Ever
  • April 9, 2008 at 2:37 am
    Crystal says:
    I have been a medical transcriptionist for 13+ years; not having any other outside jobs that may have injured my wrists. I find it funny how more women than men have carpal tu... read more
  • May 15, 2007 at 5:22 am
    Jack says:
    Clearly those of us who are responding here are not \"professional\" claimants. However since these conditions are cumalative it would take years to see what injures a person ... read more
See all comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

More News
More News Features