Is Typing or Texting Exacerbating Your Carpal Tunnel Pain?

Carpal Tunnel, Technology, Typing, Pain

Is Typing or Texting Exacerbating Your Carpal Tunnel Pain?

Americans spend an incredible 11 hours a day interacting with some form of media, whether it’s a smartphone, TV, or computer. Though much of this time is passive, the time spent typing at a keyboard or texting on the phone takes up a considerable chunk, and its effects on our bodies is a point of great debate — with conditions such as tech neck and carpal tunnel syndrome taking center stage.  

At Space City Pain Specialists, our goal is to bring relief to a number of painful conditions that affect your musculoskeletal system. One of the most prevalent problems we see is carpal tunnel syndrome, which affects 3-6% of adults in the U.S. In an effort to help our patients in Webster, Baytown, League City, and Lake Jackson, Texas, arm themselves better in the fight against the considerable pain and discomfort that accompanies carpal tunnel syndrome, we did a little research to find out if the tech age is exacerbating this problem. Here’s what we found.

The anatomy of the tunnel

To better understand what can influence your carpal tunnel syndrome, it’s helpful to step back and review what we’re dealing with. Your carpal tunnel is a small tunnel (about an inch wide) on the underside of your wrist that provides passage for your median nerve and nine flexor tendons.

The tunnel is comprised of small carpal bones that make up the bottom and sides, and your transverse carpal ligament forms the roof. These borders are fairly rigid, which means that when inflammation narrows this tiny space, it can entrap your median nerve, which is what causes the pain and numbness that often radiates into your hand.

The causes of carpal tunnel

There are many factors that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, chief among them:

More often than not, carpal tunnel syndrome develops as a result of a combination of the risk factors we outlined above. But since we’re concentrating on repetitive use here, let’s take a closer look at whether typing or texting may contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome.

The keyboard effect

The good news for tech folks is that studies show that typing and texting aren’t primary causes of carpal tunnel syndrome. When researchers point to repetitive use, they’re mainly referring to people who perform more physical movements with their hands and wrists, like assembly line workers, for example.

In fact, studies show that people who spend 20 hours or less at a computer each week aren’t necessarily at risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome. For those who spend more than 20 hours a week at a keyboard, the results are mixed.

That said, some data suggests that excessive typing may exacerbate your existing carpal tunnel syndrome, especially if you hold the affected wrist in a position that aggravates the entrapment. Wrist position is extremely important when you’re dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome, and you need to be mindful at all times that you keep it as straight as possible.

Though we’re sure that typists and texters are relieved to find that, so far, there’s little correlation between carpal tunnel syndrome and keyboard use, studies are ongoing, and the jury is still out. Besides, you have bigger things to worry about, like tech neck.

Regardless of how you developed carpal tunnel syndrome, we can help you overcome the painful condition. Simply give us a call to get started, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.

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