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Chiropractic Research Review

Frequent Computer Use May Not Increase Risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Frequent computer use has been suspected of causing the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), a concern of many employees who spend a lot of time on keyboards.

This study attempted to estimate the frequency of CTS in employees who use a computer.

A questionnaire was completed by 257 employees of a medical clinic. Seventy percent of the employees reported no symptoms and were assumed not to have CTS. Those who had been identified as having CTS symptoms, including paresthesia (a burning or tingling sensation in the hands) were further evaluated. Researchers did nerve condition studies on all subjects except those whose paresthesia was obviously caused by another condition.

Of the employees who reported symptoms, only 10.5% met the clinical criteria for CTS, and only 3.5% of the cases were confirmed by nerve conduction studies. These percentages are similar to those found in the general population. Both the affected and unaffected subjects had similar job descriptions and spent about the same amount of time using computers each day.

Conclusion: The study suggests that using a computer may not increase the risk of developing CTS, but it is inconclusive.

Stevens JC, Witt JC, Smith BE, et al. The frequency of carpal tunnel syndrome in computer users at a medical facility. Neurology June 2001:56, pp. 1568-1570.

Chiropractic Research Review

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