Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Dear Fellow Desk Jockeys:

How do you combat this niggle, as by 5pm everyday my wrist is about to sieze up. Any tips welcome.

Actually, what you have is repetitive stress injury (RSI). It sucks and is a pain in the ass. RSI is often caused by long hours at the computer, bad ergonomics and bad work habits.

The problems you are experiencing are most likely the result of many years of bad work habits. It is not easily remedied and is not the result of recent overwork. It takes years before symtoms appear. The first thing you need to do is change your work habits. Take a break, walk around, and stretch at least every 30 minutes (20 is better) at the computer. Move your mouse into a position where your hand is not in an unnatural or stressed position. DO NOT rest your wrist as you use the mouse or the keyboard. If you keep your wrists suspended, you will naturally get tired and take a rest as nature intended as opposed to resting the wrist which will allow you to surf the internet for five hours straight without a break. Make sure you are not leaning and your weight is centered and relaxed while you are using the computer.

Right now, the nerves in your arm are probably already pretty screwed. You need to make sure you get a lot of exersise, stretch and you will probably need a lot of deep tissue massage to reverse the damage that has been done. Yoga helps. Acupuncture might help, but I don’t know.

Do not ignore the problem. If you have any pain or numbness, it will only get worse. I know many computer professionals that have had to retire in their 30s because they couldn’t use a computer at all due to RSI.

The other thing to be aware of is that Taiwanese (and many US doctors) don’t know how to treat this problem. DO NOT have surgery. It will only come back later. Wrist braces and the like merely transfer the stress point to another part of the body. In the worst cases, a person’s mouse hand starts to hurt, so they start using their left hand or skew their body in unnatural positions to avoid pain. This leads to completely screwing your whole body up.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you need more info.

I’ve had it in my right shoulder for a number of months now, but I don’t know if I even want to think about what you must have been doing to get it down there, Chainsmoker!

Did I mention that RSI can make you walk funny.

Thanks for the info chain.

What are the initial symtoms of RSI vs. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
And what happens in advanced stages of each?
Any websites related to these?

[quote=“JeffG”]What are the initial symtoms of RSI vs. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
And what happens in advanced stages of each?
Any websites related to these?[/quote]

I would suggest google and 5 seconds. :wink:

I was asking because you seem to be an expert or at least know more than most of us. :sunglasses: Also the reason I suggest that is because if ya post that stuff here, all of us can look at it and it’s more convenient! :wink:

All right you lazy ##%! RSI covers the whole spectrum of injuries that can occur from doing the eponymous repetitive motion. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a form of RSI in which a pinched nerve afflictis the fingers and the hand.

After doing a google search (ahem), I would say this site is pretty good and has good links.
http://www.rsi.deas.harvard.edu/

I would like to say that I had this problem and overcame it, but the truth is I used to suffer greatly from it and now do just enough so that it doesn’t get worse. Similar problem to the smoking issue.

Thanks for posting the further information, you are sooooo kind! :sunglasses:

I am almost positive that I have carpal tunnel syndrome. I have tingling pain in my left arm as if I’ve hit my funny bone and it shoots through my arm when I straighten it, usually while I use a computer for a while (which unfortunately, I need to do for my writing job). Also since I am left-handed, I have spent a lot of my years on computers using a mouse on the right side of the computer unless it was on my own computer… and yes, I rest my wrists when I type or use a mouse. My arm goes numb in the middle of the night or tingles painfully. I also wiki’ed the condition and in reading about the type of fracture that is associated with it, I could only shudder at how it exactly described what I did my freshman year of university when I broken my left radius bone while ice skating. The description of what it looks like (“a fork”) brought back memories of the X-ray that day because that was exactly what I thought it looked like when I saw it on the screen nine years ago.

So now that almost 99% likely that’s what I have, where can I find a halfway decent…or better yet - a good - neurologist to go through the step of first diagnosing me and then putting me on an effective physical therapy program. I need my left arm for just a little longer… I haven’t quite perfected writing with my right hand yet. Seriously, though, any recommended neurologists?

I’ll just say it this f^%$ing once.

[color=red]
AUTOHOTKEY[/color]

autohotkey.com

I went through this some months back and got some answers, but not a result that worked.

The answer is to reassign keys or mouse actions away from the problem area. For me it is the mouse clicking finger. I just can’t use it at all for more than 10 minutes now. I assigned the left mouse click to F1. It is easy to get to when typing or moving the mouse with my right hand and as chainsmoker mentioned it is in balance between left and right hands to work with mouse in right and (for me) F1 with the left hand. Otherwise I’d be buggered now and unable to work. If you need the F1 key for the help menu then you’re not going to be doing much computer work anyway and won’t get work injuries.

You’ve obviously looked at wrist rests, chair height, mouse pad height etc and still have a problem.

Other suggestion is to go into the mouse program and make the movements of the pointer really fast. This keeps your wrist movement down to a minimum. I like to work really fast anyway and don’t have patience to move the mouse very far for a given result.

Good luck, and original poster after all that is it computer related or from flicking pizza up in the air?.

I finally got serious about dealing with my RSI problem a while ago. I was diagnosed with Carpal tunnel Syndrome Back in Canada a long time ago. I figure I developed it over a long time because of my working habits and job choices. I’ve had more jobs than I can count where my duties included picking up heavy things and putting them down again, or hammering, painting, twisting, etc.

As I was on a two year waiting list for surgery and I didn’t see the point of waiting that long in Vancouver being unable to work in those kinds of jobs, I came here and started my less physical career of teaching.

The problem persisted, so I Googled, it, sought traditional and western medicine, and finally, I’m back to the point where I can play guitar again without shooting electrical pain from my fingertips to my elbows and shoulders.

What I did.

  • quit drinking (I don’t know how this works but I believe that toxins contribute to swellings and electrical problems, etc)
  • I slept with braces on my hands for a while (I noticed that when I slept I would constantly be clenching my fists and cutting off my circulation, waking up in pain several times a night) this worked very well.
    -changed habits regarding keyboard and hand position. I keep my wrists straightand my hands in a relaxed “holding an apple” position like I’m playing a piano. I don’t use a mouse and I use as many hotkeys as I can. Macs have a light keyboard feel.
    -regular deep tissue massage from myself and when I get a real massage
    -try to get regular exercise to clean out all those toxins
  • regular sleep. No fooling around. This is important. I have a bedtime and I stick to it. I get up when I’ve slept enough. Usually 6-8 hours
    -Use two hands to do things where I used to use only one. I’m a pretty strong guy but I had to learn the hard way that I’m not as tough as I thought I was.
  • Drink lots of green tea. I have no idea if this works or not but holding onto that big hot steaming mug can’t be all bad.

Basically trying my best to live like this has improved a lot of things. My lower back, knees and shoulders don’t hurt anymore either, unless I get tired and don’t use them.

[quote=“Ironman”]I’ll just say it this f^%$ing once.

[color=red]
AUTOHOTKEY[/color]

autohotkey.com

I went through this some months back and got some answers, but not a result that worked.

The answer is to reassign keys or mouse actions away from the problem area. For me it is the mouse clicking finger. I just can’t use it at all for more than 10 minutes now. I assigned the left mouse click to F1. It is easy to get to when typing or moving the mouse with my right hand and as chainsmoker mentioned it is in balance between left and right hands to work with mouse in right and (for me) F1 with the left hand. Otherwise I’d be buggered now and unable to work. If you need the F1 key for the help menu then you’re not going to be doing much computer work anyway and won’t get work injuries.

You’ve obviously looked at wrist rests, chair height, mouse pad height etc and still have a problem.

Other suggestion is to go into the mouse program and make the movements of the pointer really fast. This keeps your wrist movement down to a minimum. I like to work really fast anyway and don’t have patience to move the mouse very far for a given result.

Good luck, and original poster after all that is it computer related or from flicking pizza up in the air?.[/quote]

Before being a tosser I spent a great deal of time on the mouse.

:wink: