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Mass Hysteria Shown. Posted on 06/13/2001.

I've long wondered why I, who uses a computer a fair amount and has soft wrists, have never had any serious carpal tunnel problems. A new study suggests why, leading me to suspect that all we've seen is classic mass hysteria lo these many years.

5 comments so far. Add a comment.

Next entry: "A slightly different"


Peter -- While generally I find your commentary interesting, and your links extraordinarily helpful, this one might be a bit over the top.
1)This condition may not be as pervasive as previously thought, but that should in no way diminish the real pain that those with CTS are in.
2)The Mayo article admits that there were flaws with the study, and recommends more research.
3)Because of the recent dearth of high-tech workers, there were high pressures to keep as many talented people employed as possible. This led workers to make concerted, focused efforts improve the ergonomics of workstations. Look at any office store, and think about the number of ergonomic mice, keyboards, improved monitors, etc. that were not there 5 years ago. Even if this was "mass hysteria," it's improved the presence of ergonomics in the workplace for everyone.
A rising tide - even a hysterical one - lifts all boats.
Posted by Amy T @ 06/14/2001 06:32 AM PST [link to this comment]

I never meant to suggest that CTS isn't a valid issue--I just found it interesting how this study calls into question the relationship between it and heavy computer use, because as a fairly heavy computer user, CTS has never been a problem.
The article points out that advances in ergonomics has had little impact on CTS, which bolsters the study's claim. (For me, workplace ergonomics have been great for my back, but that's a different study...)
Posted by peterme @ 06/14/2001 09:58 AM PST [link to this comment]

It affected me some years ago. I couldn't type after 12, couldn't open doors, couldn't brush my teeth.

I finally got it to go away after getting a keyboard/mouse tray combo and an IBM split keyboard. Exercising with a rubber doughnut used by rock climbers to strengthen their fingers and wrists helped a lot too.

Now if I use a "bad" keyboard for more than an hour or so my wrists start to stiffen.

While many people were probably lying or hysterical when they claimed to have CTS, CTS itself is a real problem. Not being able to open doors etc was not a figment of my imagination. While I was working 80-odd hours a week I was happy to do so.
Posted by Luke Tymowski @ 06/17/2001 03:17 AM PST [link to this comment]

I have permanent nerve damage in my mouse arm from 6 months of bad ergonomics at a call center (chair at wrong height and not adjustable, mouse not a shape that fit my hand, bad desks, etc.). Not CTS, but with the same effect - months of physical therapy and an arm that starts to go numb when I'm at a badly set up station. (Takes about 5 minutes to kick in.)

CTS is relatively rare, but a range of other side effects of bad ergonomics are not, believe me. I think you are mistaken in calling the phenomenon "Mass Hysteria" - bad workspaces hurt people, even if it's not CTS.
Posted by anon @ 06/18/2001 11:22 AM PST [link to this comment]

What's this about your soft wrists Peter?
Posted by Mike @ 06/22/2001 06:47 AM PST [link to this comment]

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