Background: The association of carpal tunnel syndrome with occupational risk factors is well established. However, in clinical practice these factors are only rarely considered and evaluated. Managing these risk factors could prevent the occurrence of future cases and alleviate treatment of the afflicted individuals.
Objectives: To estimate the role of occupational risk factors in a large group of patients diagnosed by electrophysiological studies as suffering from CTS.
Methods: A group of 396 subjects (204 women, 165 men) who were tested in one laboratory by electrophysiological studies were further evaluated (by questionnaire) to determine the possible role of occupational and other risk factors in the etiology of their syndrome.
Results: Persons employed in high force — low repetitive or low force — high repetitive jobs, harbor an extra risk for developing CTS as compared with controls, OR=3.21 (95% C1 = 1.5-6.9) and OR=4.72 (95%C1 = 1.8-12.5), respectively. These jobs include typists/secretaries, nursing personnel, production workers and housewives.
Conclusion: Evaluation of a general group of examinees referred for electrophysiological studies on sympatology compatible with CTS may show that occupational risk factors play a substantial role in the development of symptoms. By increasing the awareness of clinicians and the public to these risk factors, appropriate preventive measures can be introduced and the burden of the disease reduced.