Graphic Design & Carpal Tunnel
A disproportionate number of graphic designers have hand or finger pain, burning, tingling or numbness. Sometimes it’s occasional but other times it’s a chronic problem. In fact, doctors have known for years that graphic design & carpal tunnel syndrome are like peanut butter and jelly. Therefore, if you’re a graphic designer with hand problems, chances are its carpal tunnel. However, there’s a chance it might be wrist tendinitis. To be certain, you should know what carpal tunnel symptoms are and what to look for so you can treat it properly.
Link between graphic design & carpal tunnel
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a type of repetitive strain injury. That means repeated or strenuous activities with your fingers, hand or wrist cause the condition to appear. Moreover, you don’t have to work a jackhammer all day to acquire it. Small and rapid finger movements on a computer keyboard or tablet can do the trick. As a result, this is why graphic design & carpal tunnel are such a big problem today.
The interesting thing is that hand movements don’t “cause” carpal tunnel. In fact, carpal tunnel syndrome is more like a disease that’s hereditary. Like diabetes, you either have the disease or you don’t. For instance, if you’re genetically programmed to have diabetes, obesity will trigger it. Similarly, if you’re programmed to have carpal tunnel, hand stresses will trigger it. Indeed, nobody can argue that graphic design intensely stresses hands and fingers!
Also, tendinitis is another problem with graphic designers. While not as serious as carpal tunnel, it’s also is type of repetitive strain injury. If can occur on the palm side (wrist flexor tendinitis) or back side (wrist extensor tendinitis) of the forearm. However, unlike carpal tunnel, tendinitis is much easier to treat. Also, symptoms are usually not as severe or long-lasting.
Graphic design, carpal tunnel & tendinitis
Carpal tunnel and tendinitis have similar symptoms. Usually, carpal tunnel symptoms are more involved. Also, symptoms are more specific (pain or numbness or tingling). They also follow a pattern (at night or during the day). In contrast, tendinitis symptoms are not as simple to describe and don’t show a pattern.
There are a few things to look for when determining carpal tunnel or tendinitis. First, carpal tunnel shows symptoms most or the time. Indeed, symptoms are present whether your hand is resting or working. Second, the thumb is usually much worse. However, the little finger never shows symptoms.
Carpal tunnel is much worse and harder to treat than tendinitis. However, you don’t need expensive exams like EMG. As a matter of fact, studies show that the simple tests below are as good as (or even better than) such electrodiagnosis.
In contrast, tendinitis generally shows symptoms when the hand or fingers are working. Usually, they feel fine at rest. However, the more hands or fingers work, the more severe the tendinitis symptoms.
Carpal tunnel tests
Perform the 3 carpal tunnel exams below on yourself. If you answer YES to any of them, then you may have carpal tunnel syndrome instead of wrist tendinitis.
- Carpal Tunnel Test 1 (Phalen test): First, with fingers straight, flex your wrist as far as you can (bring your fingers as close to your wrist as you can). Next, hold this position for 1 minute. Do symptoms appear or feel worse? Do you feel numbness? If so, it’s positive for carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Carpal Tunnel Test 2 (Tinel test): Now, with hand straight, firmly tap the skin over your wrist-crease several times. Does it make your fingers or hand tingle? If so, it’s positive for carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Carpal Tunnel Test 3 (Durkan test): Finally, with hand straight, use the other thumb to apply firm pressure to your palm. Push on the area just above the wrist-crease (between the two bumps at the base of the palm) for 30 seconds. Does it make symptoms worse? Do you feel numbness? If so, it’s positive for carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you answered NO to the above questions, then try the following tests. If you answer YES to these tests, then you may have tendinitis.
- Tendinitis Test 1: First, use two fingers on the other hand and tap the flexor tendons just below the wrist. The flexor tendons are the rope-like structures on the palm side (not the back side) of the forearm. Also, keep the affected hand straight while tapping. Then, tap each tendon up and down the forearm; and tap several times, side to side. Does any of that make symptoms worse? If so, it’s positive for wrist flexor tendinitis.
- Tendinitis Test 2: Finally, this is identical to the former tendinitis test. However, it tests for extensor tendinitis. Thus, follow the same tapping procedure on the back side of the hand. Does the tapping make symptoms worse? If so, it’s positive for wrist extensor tendinitis.
Graphic design & carpal tunnel: What to do next?
Yes, graphic design & carpal tunnel go together! However, you don’t have to suffer. Take positive steps is to treat it. Of course, carpal tunnel is much more difficult to treat than tendinitis. In fact, there are excellent help resources on the web and on this site for self-treatment. Use these techniques to keep pain and numbness from interfering with your life.
Also, keep in mind that surgery is not the answer for carpal tunnel syndrome. Rather, it’s just one of many treatment options. As a matter of fact, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons advises using non-surgical remedies first. Indeed, many are among the best remedies for carpal tunnel because they usually eliminate symptoms completely.
Graphic design & carpal tunnel are nearly synonymous. But you don’t have to suffer with hand or finger pain, numbness and tingling. There are excellent remedies for carpal tunnel syndrome that do not require surgery.
Two 15 minute Carpal Rx treatments
for 30 days cures symptoms in
97% of carpal tunnel patients.
About 15 years ago my wife was waking up during the wee hours screaming from carpal tunnel pain.
This isn’t an exaggerating. She’d literally scream from the pain shooting up through her wrist and into her shoulder. The poor thing still shudders when she thinks about it.
I knew she had carpal tunnel syndrome. And being a physiologist, I knew how to treat her. I’m skilled in a physical therapy technique called myofascial release. It’s a type of massage with an excellent track record for completely curing carpal tunnel symptoms.
So I’d massage her arm until the pain subsided and we could both go back to sleep. But her pain was so severe that she insisted on wanting surgery. It was so bad that she was afraid to go sleep at night.
I was dead-set against surgery because I knew myofascial release was a much better option. I made a bargain with her. Give me 30 days to cure her symptoms using massage and if it didn’t work – I’d go along with the surgery.
She agreed and I got busy in the lab. I hodgepodged together the first Carpal Rx prototype. Using it before bed for 15 minutes, she was able to sleep through the night by the 2nd day.
Carpal Rx, born out of love & compassion.
Dr. Z invented Carpal Rx to cure his wife’s symptoms so she didn’t have to undergo surgery.