Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Workers with Carpal Tunnel Find Relief with Nighttime Splinting

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Workers with Carpal Tunnel Find Relief with Nighttime Splinting

Article excerpt

A new study suggests that workers suffering from the early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome can benefit from giving their hands and wrists a good night's rest.

The findings, made by a team of researchers with the University of Michigan Health System and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, show that nighttime splinting can effectively improve hand and wrist discomfort for active workers with early symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

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While carpal tunnel syndrome is a common work-related disorder and a major cause of impairment and disability in the workplace, the use of initial medical treatment protocols for the disorder--wrist splints, modification of hand activity, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, diuretics and steroid injections--have widely varied across the United States and Western Europe, according to lead author Robert A. Werner, M.D., MS, professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Michigan Health System.

The first line of conservative treatment for CTS, both from doctors and self-prescribed, is typically nocturnal splinting. Splinting, Werner said, reduces stress on the peripheral nerve in the wrist, allowing it to heal and avoiding awkward wrist positions as a person sleeps. It is not recommended for daytime use when workers are active because it may cause additional strain on the wrist. …

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