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"Can digital tablets cause carpal tunnel syndrome?"


I just bought an iPad and am worried about carpal tunnel. I usually prop it up against a few books or something, but this may not be enough support for my wrists. What should I do?


Anything that causes repeated movement of your wrists or fingers is a potential concern for the long term development of carpal tunnel syndrome, although this risk is now more debated than it had been previously. That risk is (one of the reasons) why there is such a need and push for ergonomic devices and improved posturing to decrease the incidence of this and other chronic health complications that we are all at risk of because of our lives spent looking at a computer screen. Parts of your hand are controlled by the median nerve.

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The canal through which your median nerve runs from your arm, into your wrist, and then to your fingers is very narrow by birth, and this can be further narrowed with inflammation or chronic overuse that can ultimately cause the canal walls to compress the nerve itself. Over time, this compression can actually be detrimental to the health of the nerve, and you will have the numbness and tingling and weakness complaints that come with carpal tunnel syndrome. Some of the risk factors for the development of this condition also include being overweight, being diabetic, being female, or having other medical conditions involving the nerves. Please speak with your primary care doctor if you are concerned about this condition, as he or she can refer you to the appropriate specialist if necessary.

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