Lifewatch: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Reported By Kristy Ondo - email

WILMINGTON -- Blackberries and tiny cell phone keypads may turn out to be more of a pain than a benefit.

Just like typing on computer keyboard, tiny typing could lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, but there are ways to fight it.

23-year-old college student David Vargas is constantly glued to his hand-held devices.

"I'm always on my BlackBerry now. I was writing a lot of term papers. I'm always, always on my phone, texting back and forth. I have the iPod. I have the Nintendo DS," said Vargas.

But forever being plugged in has taken a toll on David's hands and wrists.

"Its more like a stinging pain and its dull and it lasts a long time. And I've had it for close to a month now. I could barely move my right thumb and I was like I have to do something about it immediately," said Vargas.

Unwilling to go under the knife, Vargas sought out Dr. Steven Shoshany, who offered him some alternative treatment options.

"I mostly use non-surgical approaches. One of the ones I use most for BlackBerry thumb or carpal tunnel syndrome is the grasping technique which is a mild facial technique which helps to smooth out the muscle and take out those fibrous adhesions that build up over time and restrict motion in the hand, wrist, and elbow," said Dr. Shoshany.

Next, Dr. Shoshany treats the patient with cold laser therapy, a new pain management approach using a low-intensity light source.

"It's basically a non-invasive light that helps bring down the inflammation, increase the range of motion, and decrease the pain," said Dr. Shoshany.

The cold laser also brings blood to the area, which helps speed up the healing process.

Patients could see results in the first few visits, but should allow 8-12 treatments to feel completely pain free.

Dr. Shoshany tells his patients to take frequent breaks.

"Anything over a consistent period of time is going to cause the muscles to contract and cause the tendons to get irritated. So periodic breaks and strengthening exercises. It's about balance. If you're doing one motion all day, balance it by strengthening muscles on the opposite side of the hand," said Dr. Shoshany.

Another suggestion Dr. Shoshany makes is to check your posture.  When sitting at your computer, your monitor should be at eye level or below, and your wrists shouldn't be bent too much.