Over the past twenty years, PCs and Macs have revolutionized the workplace and have created whole new job descriptions as well as radically redefining old ones. But along with the advances in information technology have come some very human problems. Employees typing on computer keyboards while staring at bright monitors for as much as eight or ten hours a day are suffering from maladies ranging from severe eyestrain to lower back problems to repetitive motion injury, or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, [http://www.docorto.com/home.php?cat=369] once seen primarily in factory and farm workers having to perform repetitive movements in the course of their jobs, has become epidemic in office workers. The carpal tunnel, an opening in the bones of the wrist, serves as a passage for the median nerve that runs through the wrist from the arm to the hand. In carpal tunnel syndrome, the median nerve becomes compressed by swollen or damaged tendons and ligaments in the wrist. The result is sharp pain which worsens with use, weakness in the hand, and, in severe cases loss of full hand function.

In some cases an anti-inflammatory medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen can help alleviate symptoms; wrist supports can also help. Some carpal tunnel sufferers have claimed success with oral doses of vitamin B6, but the effectiveness of this has not been scientifically verified. Many victims of carpal tunnel syndrome have returned to wrist surgery, with varying degrees of success.

The best approach to carpal tunnel syndrome is avoiding it in the first place. Soft, padded bars running the length of standard keyboards are manufactured to provide a wrist support for keyboarders. Structuring one's workday to alternate periods of typing with other duties will help, as will taking periodic breaks away from the computer and desk altogether. And for some, which jobs require long stretches of typing with no break, or who are particularly susceptible to wrist injuries, the best remedy may be a new job that does not require repetitive motions.