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WORKING WITH A COMPUTER: HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

Repetitive Motion injury

Sometimes aches can develop in your hands and/or arms after an extended period of time working on a computer. This discomfort is caused by repetitive motion and can be alleviated only by resting the affected part of the body. If you experience persistent pain you should consult your doctor.

For some people, repetitive motion injury from working long hours at a computer can become serious. An estimated 50 percent of people who suffer from a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) do so because of repetitive hand and wrist movements, such as those necessitated by working at a computer keyboard.

CTS is a compression of the median nerve, which runs along the forearm and down the palm. Its symptoms include loss of sensation and weakness. It has become an occupational hazard affecting thousands of people each year.

The problem can be alleviated by surgery which formerly involved making a large incision down the palm as a means of releasing pressure on the median nerve.

The healing time for such surgery can take up to two months with some people continuing to experience pain at the incision location. A new procedure, called endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery, allows doctors to make 2 small incisions and then insert a tiny probe under the skin. The new procedure relieves the pressure on the median nerve without necessitating a large cut down the patient’s palm: Most patients have reported healing time from the new surgery to be within one month. There also appears to be less pain and scarring associated with the new procedure.

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