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NIOSH testimony on carpal tunnel syndrome by B. L. Johnson, June 8, 1984.

NIOSH 1984 Jun; :1-9
This testimony concerned NIOSH research on carpal tunnel syndrome as an occupational disorder. The name, carpal tunnel, derives from the 8 bones in the wrist called carpals which form a tunnel like structure. The tunnel contains tendons which control finger movement and provide a pathway for the median nerve to reach sensory cells in the hand. Nerve compression results from various conditions. Repeated flexing and extension of the wrist causes the tendons to swell and thereby increases pressure in the bony tunnel which can pinch or trap the median nerve. Job tasks which involve highly repetitive manual acts or necessitate wrist bending or other stressful wrist postures, are connected with incidents of carpal tunnel syndrome or related problems. Patients suffering from this syndrome lack the ability to sense cold or hot by touch and experience an apparent loss of strength in their fingers. Treatment may involve surgery or the use of antiinflammatory drugs. However, success in treatment has been limited. Jobs which have been identified as causing carpal tunnel syndrome have included the assembly of small parts and the manual inspection of manufactured products. Control measures focus on relieving excessive wrist deviations and arm and hand movements requiring force. Some tools have been redesigned. Other recommendations include the modification of work stations and the use of fixtures to mount work at angles and reduce the need for the worker's hand to bend at the wrist. NIOSH studies of postal worker jobs and letter sorting machine operations were described.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Testimony; Johnson-B-L; Hand-tools; Hand-injuries; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Cumulative-trauma-disorders; Carpal-tunnel-syndrome; Postal-employees
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 4, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division