Re: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Subject: Re: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
From: Jane Torpie <jstorpie -at- MA -dot- ULTRANET -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 17 Aug 1997 17:36:09 -0400

Hi again, Bonnie -

Several years ago, I also had symptoms similar to those you describe. Here
are my thoughts, in no particular order.

* Keep in mind that nobody develops Carpal Tunnel Syndrome overnight.
People first experience wrist strain, which is much easier to deal with.
Time is on your side if you do something about your wrist strain now,
rather than waiting.

* Get treatment for any damage that's already done. This is a real injury,
even if it's not incapacitating. Your primary care physician probably
isn't up to treating this one, so ask for a referral to a physical
therapist who specializes in this area, or to a physiatrist if necessary
(physician who specializes in rehab). Physical therapy can take weeks or

* Consider that repeating the same activity, especially when using improper
form, is going to cause your body trouble. Figure out what causes the
pain. It's probably not mousing per se, but holding your wrist at a
strange angle. That can happen under other circumstances, too ... think of
how you might bend your hands around when you drive, or sleep, or ride a
bike. Learn how to modify your actions. For example, a physical therapist
might suggest that you wear your wrist brace at night, so you don't fold
your wrist in half. I learned how to perform most tasks in WinWord using
keystrokes instead of the mouse (which I actually found to be more
efficient and faster).

* Fix your workspace, even if you're a contractor. For example, I have a
keyboard tray with a wrist rest built in. When I work at home, I clamp it
to my own desk. When I work in an office, I clamp it to theirs. Also, I
found that the right-hand, "kidney-bean" mouse was more helpful to me than
the old Microsoft mouse used with Windows 3.1. Experiment to find out what

Finally, doing a task with your other hand might or might not work. In my
case, I abused the other hand, and it hurt me in return. As soon as I
figured that out, I stopped immediately, and the new symptoms went away.

Take care of yourself, and good luck.
Jstorpie -at- ultranet -dot- com

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