Frequency of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Computer Users

Click here for printer friendly PDF file.

A study was recently completed at a large medical facility in which 257 employees who were frequent computer users were studied for possible carpal tunnel syndrome. Nearly 30 percent of the 257 employees who used the computer frequently reported numbness in their hands. Other studies have shown an even larger percentage of persons with carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms use the computer on a in regular basis.

The problem of carpal tunnel syndrome as a work related condition is very complex. In the study, nerve conduction evaluation studies were performed and this indicated only 3.5 percent of the employees were confirmed to have carpal tunnel syndrome. In other words,the hand and wrist symptoms in computer operators were almost 30 percent, but the final diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome was confirmed electrodiagnostic in only 3.5 percent of computer operators.

Other conditions in computer operators including a variety of tendinitis conditions can mimic carpal tunnel syndrome. Conservative treatment is always indicated for the condition and it continues to be the best and safest approach. Many persons with the symptoms notice that the symptoms will diminish with modification of their workstation and the temporary use of brace for the hand and wrist. Physical therapy treatment is sometimes used. Persons who do not respond to conservative treatment might be candidates for carpal tunnel surgery but, the number would be fairly small.