Carpal Tunnel: The Musculoskeletal Disorder Of The Digital Age

Whether its texting or typing, the digital age has taken over our work lives and personal lives. While technology has various benefits, common digital devices like phones and computers can cause musculoskeletal problems. Carpal tunnel is a common musculoskeletal disorder that has been effecting technology users for years, but its effects have increased over the past few years. Imaging scans have been able to give doctors better insight into effective treatment methods.

Carpal Tunnel 101

Carpal tunnel is a musculoskeletal injury that causes numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hands. These symptoms can be caused by pressure that is put on the median nerve in the wrist. The median nerve is central for controlling any movements or sensation in the thumb and fingers.

These symptoms can be caused by pressure from swelling in the carpal tunnel. Repetitive hand movements, certain illnesses such as arthritis or diabetes, and pregnancy can cause pressure on the median nerve. One study showed college students that spend an average of 9 hours a day on their devices saw carpal tunnel symptoms! This study also focused on the inflammation in the median nerve in intensive users.

Technology and Its Effects On Carpal Tunnel

Various studies have shown that mobile phones and computers may be to blame for increasing rates of carpal tunnel. Ignoring this pain overtime and continuous use of certain electronic devices can lead to more serious problems in the future.

As the rates for carpal tunnel increase, technology has attempted to become ‘ergonomically friendly’ to decrease one’s chances of developing carpal tunnel. Taking a break from repetitive activities or having a variation is key to preventing this musculoskeletal injury in the future.

Testing for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

When diagnosing carpal tunnel, imaging scans are used to determine if symptoms are serious enough for surgery. X-rays, MRI, and ultrasound are common diagnostic imaging tools that can help doctors learn more about what damage is being done to the median nerve.

MRIs help doctors find any swelling in the carpal tunnel or problems with blood circulation. Researchers have utilized ultrasound technology to determine whether certain treatments are effective for carpal tunnel relief. X-rays primarily focus on past bone injuries like arthritis that may have triggered carpal tunnel symptoms.

As one of the fastest growing work-related illnesses, carpal tunnel is being tested and researched to find out how these symptoms can be treated and prevented. The increasing use of technology in the workplace and in our person lives has caused carpal tunnel to increase amongst Americans. We love how the same diagnostic imaging tools that help our patients can help treat this common musculoskeletal disorder. If you’re in need of an x-ray, ultrasound, MRI, or any other diagnostic imaging test, give one of our locations near you a call!