Carpal Tunnul Syndrome Essay, Research Paper
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Caused By the Use of Computers
Now that we are almost into the twenty first century it is becoming clear how our world has evolved technologically. Most of the technology which we have experienced is based on or related to computers. Computers have been successful tools in making our lives much easier. unfortunately, there has been a dramatic rise of repetitive Strain Injuries in the last six years, one of which is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It was in the last six years that computers began to take over our communication systems, which are what we thrive on, therefore more people have been using computers and using them more consistently than seen in the past. Fortunately, Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) are nothing fetal, so it is highly unlikely that technology will be reversed because of them, however more technological advancement might be difficult if something is not done to treat RSI and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a common type of RSI. CTS is a condition that effects the hands and wrists. The condition occurs by pressure being put on the median nerve where is travels to the hand through a gap called the carpal tunnel. This gap lies under the transverse carpal ligament, which is located at the front of the wrist. The median nerve is what carries sensory and motor information form the thumb and fingers to the muscles in the hand. The pressure that is placed on the median nerve is what causes the nerve damage. This causes the numbing, tingling, burning pain in the wrist, hand and fingers.
Though it has been proven that repetitive stress on the hands and wrist is what leads to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome there are also other contributes to the condition. The other factors that can contribute to CTS are, pregnancy, thyroid disease, and oral contraceptives, or anything that causes fibers to swell in the tunnel area. Poor posture, when typing, puts extra strain on your arms and wrists and can therefore contribute to CTS, as well. The poor posture issue when typing is related to furniture issue. If you are using furniture that is not meant for typing, or furniture that is not positioned properly you will often find your self in lousy posture, which aggravates the arms, wrists, and hands. Given this list of other factors that go into getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome it is easy to see why middle aged women are most likely to develop CTS, because women are the people that take oral contraceptives, get pregnant, and most often have thyroid disease. Women are also much more susceptible to poor posture because of osteoporosis.
Women in there middle ages are of course not the only people that get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, it is estimated that twenty three thousand cases are reported each year. Of the cases that are reported a majority of them is from computer users, but not all of them. There are many jobs that require repetitive motion and so people with those jobs are just as likely to get CTS as those who use computers. People that get CTS are the following: meat cutters, construction workers, jack hammer operators, carpenters, assembly line workers, upholster, sewing machine operators, supper market cashiers who use scanners, dental hygienists, pianists, guitarists, violinists, bank tellers, and crocheters, and base ball pitchers All these jobs involve a motion that is repeated. That repeated motion is all that is really needed to develop CTS, but other factors generally go along with the repetitive motion.
When you have a job that involves repetitive stress on the body there are precautions that you can take to avoid developing CTS. The suggested prevention and treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is correcting posture. Feet should be flat on the floor or on foot rest, elbows close to the body, fore arms parallel to the ground , wrist straight and not resting on anything, and hand should be in a straight line with the forearm. The computer screen should be at eye level or only a slight bend down of the head. To accommodate the posture issue it recommended that ergonomic work station be purchased. Ergonomic work station include a special keyboard that is meant for people with CTS, wrist rests, foot rests, and glare screens, and document holders. If am ergonomic station is not purchased then other compensations can be made , such as the purchase of a “Tiffany Table”, which is table that has a dropped keyboard in the middle, or adjustable work tables, or even keyboard draws will work too. It is recommended that a fifteen minute break be taken for every two hours of typing. During this break you should massage your palms, and o a few simple physical, therapy exercises with you fingers. Many companies are reluctant to help their employees prevent CTS because it means that the company has to treat all the employees like they have CTS, and that is extremely expensive plus there is no guarantee that the preventions will work. If the preventions don’t work then the company has to dish out more money for workman’s compensation, insurance and other medical supplies related to CTS.
In the event that you happen to develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, there are several options of treating it. The most common and basic treatment is immobilization of the hand and wrist, as long with anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Annaprox, and cortisone shots are given to to help strengthen the muscles , and reduce the pain. If this form of conservative therapy does not work there are various surgeries which can be done. One surgery that can be done is an Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release. This is when the wrist is opened up and the doctor goes in and cuts the transverse carpal tunnel ligament. This then releases the pressure on the median nerve, and after a few month of recovery and physical therapy the condition depletes. Another surgery that can be done is one using a balloon catheter, like what is used in angioplasty to open up blocked arteries. An incision of about a quarter inch is done under the transverse carpal tunnel ligament, the balloon is then inflated and inserted under the ligament. The balloon will stretch the ligament so that it will take the pressure off the median nerve.
The rise in cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has caused companies to spend an estimated twenty billion dollars on health care related items for CTS, for their employees. This statistic is evidence that people are developing CTS from the use of computers, keyboards in particular. The question that results from this evidence is, is technology worth the price ? It appears that technology is worth the price and that CTS is set back in it but because it is not fatal and it takes a long time to develop people are not overly concerned about it. Companies do worry about it because it costs them money. If companies were to stop taking advantage of technology then their would be a set back in more advancement with computers. This would happen because the demand for simpler more efficient ways to do thing would go down, and computer companies would loose money because no one would use their products. Since Carpal Tunnel Syndrome does cost companies so much money doctors are working new ways to treat it that will allow shorter recovery time and faster return to work. Some of these new procedure that are still being tested are orthoscopic surgery and laser treatment. Other products that being developed to help people with CTS are a ball bearing wrist rest and a glove that mimics the movement of person and estimates how likely they are to develop CTS. This last invention will be of great use to the ergonomic world because it will help reduce the number of CTS cases, by getting people to take precautions in their actions. Companies will also be able to identify which employees are like to develop CTS. These current inventions came as a result of the rise in cases of CTS. This means that CTS does suppose a slight threat to businesses and technology because people are working so rigorously to find ways to alleviate people of the burden of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
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