The Lowdown on Low Back Pain
(and Other Aches)


My hands hurt when I type. What should I do?

Hand and arm pain are often associated with repetitive activities such as typing. There are many potential causes of hand pain.

The Carpal tunnel syndrome is one problem caused by repetitive work. Carpal tunnel syndrome causes pain in the thumb and index fingers. The pain may be worst at night and is often associated with numbness. The symptoms result from pressure on the median nerve at the wrist. A nerve conduction test can confirm the diagnosis. Carpal tunnel syndrome is treated with changes in activity, bracing, local injections, or occasionally, minor surgery.

Tendonitis results from inflammation of the soft tissues of the forearm. Sufferers complain of hand and arm tenderness, which is increased with use. Tendonitis is treated with medicines, exercise, and physical therapy. Epicondylitis (tennis or golf elbow) is a soreness of the elbow. It is also caused by overuse. It is treated with medications, physical therapy, or surgery.

Occasionally, cervical disc disease, shoulder problems, the thoracic outlet syndrome, and a variety of other conditions can cause similar symptoms.

Not all research studies confirm that computer use causes injuries. Even so, it is generally accepted that excessive keyboarding or “mousing” at work can result an “overuse” syndrome. You should see a specialist to get an accurate diagnosis before beginning treatment.



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Last modified: 07/27/08