The Impact of Global Warming on Carpal Tunnel

The Impact of Global Warming on Carpal Tunnel
The Center for American Progress has listed the Top 100 Effects of Global Warming. Global warming is being blamed for everything from killing the planet with glacial melting to threatening species of animals and negatively impacting our agricultural production. We are being warned that global warming will threaten our health with an increase in heat stroke, heart attacks, infectious diseases and smog/allergy related conditions. I would like to (jokingly) add an increase in carpal tunnel syndrome and other computer-related pain syndromes to the top 100 list of global warming effects.

Increases in severe weather are predicted as a response to global warming. now offers a link to an aches and pains forecast that predicts how weather factors affect the way people feel. According to, the connection between weather and health dates back to Ancient Greece when the effect of hot and cold winds on pain and illness were described over 2,400 years ago.

Although recent studies are inconclusive, all of us know of that elderly relative who accurately predicts rain because of an aching knee or shoulder joint. Some people appear to be more weather sensitive than others. For most of us, the sensitivity to weather occurs as a result of the change in weather rather than from any specific weather condition. Personally, I know that barometric pressure changes will bring more reports of pain on any given day in the therapy clinic.

Barometric pressure is the measurement of the weight of air molecules around us. When the weather changes the weight of the air molecules change. A rapid fall in pressure signals the onset of stormy weather. This change is highly correlated with an increase in body aches and pains. As the barometric pressure drops, the gas and tissue around injured or inflamed joints can increase resulting in more pain.

So, if you are prone to computer-related pain, plan to weather the storm by taking extra precautions during the time of barometric pressure changes. Be particularly aware of your posture, positioning and work methods; take frequent breaks; stretch often; and use you choice of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications as needed. Heat or cold packs can also be helpful.

And it certainly won’t hurt to live green.

Marji Hajic is an Occupational Therapist and a Certified Hand Therapist practicing in Santa Barbara, California. For more information on hand and upper extremity injuries, prevention and recovery, visit Hand Health Resources.

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