Could Texting Lead To Carpal Tunnel?

The way we communicate has changed immensely in the new century. Texting has become the new way of corresponding and perhaps there could be some health effects.

We are taught how to hold our hands above a keyboard. Making sure the wrists are raised and other ways to help avoid a lingering problem like carpal tunnel. CNN looked at texting behaviors and mechanics and ask the question – can excessive texting lead to carpal tunnel?

“I believe there are injuries that someone can get from doing something repetitively – regardless of what it is,” said Donna Tiley, occupational therapist/hand therapist at Intermountain’s Park City Hospital.

“Carpal tunnel is one of those diagnoses that has some controversy on actual cause as most studies have said that it is not one thing necessarily, but a multi factorial issue. Whatever the cause, the median nerve at the wrist in the carpal tunnel is being compressed and irritated. One reason someone can get carpal tunnel is that you have an anatomical predisposition. Your carpal canal is a little smaller or shallower,” Tiley said. “I think that typing on a keyboard or texting can help contribute to or exacerbate the symptoms of carpal tunnel, but is probably not a standalone reason.”

Common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Dull ache or pain in the hand, forearm, or upper arm
  • A feeling of “pins and needles” in the fingers, specifically the thumb, index, and middle fingers
  • Pain and/or numbness that worsen at night and even interrupt sleep
  • Weakness when gripping objects
  • Swelling in the fingers
  • Tingling or burning in the fingers
  • Symptoms are usually worse at night.

Treatments for Carpal Tunnel

There is a chance that you can reverse the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome. It depends on catching it early and then changing your mechanics to take pressure off the median nerve.

Hand therapy can help alleviate the symptoms of carpal tunnel with education, exercises, massage and custom splinting.   Also, wearing a compression glove at night often helps by decreasing swelling and inflammation in the hand.

Surgery can help when these options provide no relief. “In surgery they cut the transverse carpal ligament to release the pressure off the median nerve at the wrist” said Tiley.

You can find more information about carpal tunnel syndrome on Intermountain’s website.