Can typing or keyboarding cause carpal tunnel pain? Sure it can. It all depends on how you hold yourself when you are working at the keyboard.
If you type with your wrists bent UP or DOWN the muscles in your forearms get aggravated. That means you should type with your arms and hands in a comfortable place.
What's a comfortable place?
- Your arms should hang straight down from your shoulders towards your waist. Your elbows should be as close to your waist as possible.
- Your hands should be straight out in front of your elbows. Do you know what a 90 degree angle is? The bend in your elbow should be that or slightly more open.
- Your wrists should be straight as though they are part of your arm. No tilting your hands up or down.
You may have to adjust the height of your typing desk or chair or both in order to get your arms in this neutral position. You can raise your computer screen with books. You can raise your seat with a pillow or folded bath towel and a foot stool or book for your feet if the seat becomes too high for your lower legs.
Why does working in a position that is not neutral aggravate your arms?
Because your muscles are happiest when you work in a neutral position. Bodies are built to work and move in certain ways and sometimes we curl our arms and backs and necks into horrible postures!
When you are out of neutral that means you will have PAIN!
Aggravated, tight muscles press on nerves and nerves get really crabby when that happens so they cause hand pain. Aggravated muscles also develop trigger points that cause hand pain and arm pain.
Have you ever seen or used one of the old typewriters? Those tall things with stepped rows of keys? The typists who used those did not get carpal tunnel syndrome.
Because they were constantly moving. Fingers and arms moved. They had to roll their paper in and out. The typists worked those typewriters!
The typists were not stuck in just one position for hours and hours and hours barely moving like we are with the keyboards of today.
And one more thing.
When you think of the typists of old what post comes to mind? They were not slumped and slouched and collapsing. They sat nice and tall with good posture.
How's your post?
Poor posture – slumping and slouching – causes strain on the muscles of the upper body and neck. It causes muscles and bones to press on nerves.
When upper body muscles are strained and nerves are pressed on the end result is PAIN in your hands and wrists.
Research indicates that typing or keyboarding does not cause carpal tunnel pain BUT …
The research I saw did not say what type of keyboard was used. A laptop is a much different animal than a computer with a separate keyboard.
Laptops are not ergonomic. You have probably noticed. But an extra plug-in keyboard or monitor can change that.
And the research did not talk about the posture of the typists or the condition their back muscles were in. Did they exercise? Were their backs strong? Were they slumping?
If they had poor, collapsed posture I'm sure they would have had carpal tunnel pain caused by typing and keyboarding.