Despite a common perception, multiple clinical studies have yet to find a strong connection between heavy computer use and a person’s risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. People who used a computer for up to seven hours a day have been found to have no increased risk.
Some jobs that do not involve a keyboard are more likely to lead to the condition, assembly line work for example. High-risk jobs include:
- Packing meat, fish or poultry
In fact, carpal tunnel syndrome is three times higher among assemblers than among data‑entry personnel, according to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
So Why Do My Hands Hurt?
It takes a specialist to distinguish carpal tunnel syndrome from conditions such as tendonitis. Here are a few copycats, and how to tell them apart:
|Carpal Tunnel Syndrome||Tendonitis||Arthritis|
|Gradual progression||Sudden or gradual||Gradual progression|
|Weakness in hands||Stiffness in hands||Stiffness in hands|
|Lost sense of heat
|May feel hot||May feel hot|
|Pain at night or
|Pain during activity||Pain comes in “flares”;
morning pain and stiffness
|No swelling||Swelling in tendons||Swelling in joints|
|Starts in dominant hand||Occurs where there is
stress on tendon
|Starts in both hands|
Since arthritis, tendonitis and other conditions may be compounded by carpal tunnel syndrome, if you have numbness, pain or weakness in your wrists or hands, it’s a good idea to get a specialist involved.
To find a hand specialist at Durham Regional Hospital, visit durhamregional.org.