Approximately two-thirds of employees from industrialized nations use a computer on a daily basis and one in five spend at least 75% of their total work time behind a computer. It’s no wonder so many people suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in addition to neck, shoulder, and arm pain. There are many reasons for the presence of CTS in office workers who utilize a computer. The following is a partial list of causes:
Therefore, the treatment of CTS must be multi-factorial and sometimes address one or more additional health issues that may co-exist. Frequently, there may be similar overuse types of conditions present in addition to CTS such as neck strain, thoracic outlet syndrome, nerve compression at one or more locations such as the neck, shoulder, elbow, and forearm. Each patient’s case is unique and a careful history is usually needed to uncover these potential contributing conditions so they can all be properly managed in addition to CTS. Because we spend a lot of our daytime hours at work, a careful work-related history is important to identify potential “ergonomic” (design) culprits that can be fixed with simple workstation adjustments. These may include mouse/keyboard placement to an under the desk pull out tray to eliminate the need to overly bend the wrists and eliminate the pressure from the counter top edge. Raising a chair and placing a box under the feet while sitting (for shorter workers), switching to a track ball mouse so only thumb movement is needed to move the pointer (or a touchpad as found on most laptops), an ergonomic keyboard (curved, not flat), moving the screen in front and slightly down from eye level, prop paperwork on a stand-up tray close to the screen so only eye movement is needed, and wearing appropriate quality eye glasses possibly with bi- or trifocals are some potential work station remedies. Chiropractic care is especially well-suited to address these issues because of the whole body treatment approach utilized.