Re: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Subject: Re: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
From: Elna Tymes <etymes -at- LTS -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 17 Aug 1997 16:10:25 -0700

Kimba wrote:

> I second the motion for physical therapy and a kidney bean mouse. I also
> have a Microsoft Natural keyboard that I wouldn't be without. When my
> symptoms flare I sleep with my braces on for a night or two.

I can't endorse enough the idea of getting qualified medical help ASAP.
We went through the process of having someone in our company getting
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and going through the entire process of having a
state-certified specialist come in for a workplace inspection, weeks of
therapy, wrist braces, etc. As far as we know, the now ex-employee
still has the problem.

And in the last three weeks, I've had similar symptoms, after having
spent my work-life working with computers. The problem appears to be
the way my wrist rests on the mousepad, and what kind of weight is on
it. When I'm doing a lot of mouse work - such as research on the
Internet, where no typing is involved - I'm more likely to lock my elbow
and thus put a lot of weight on the wrist, or drop my lower arm down
from the edge of the desk so that, again, there is a lot of weight on
the wrist. Where I'm moving back and forth between the keyboard and the
mouse, my elbow isn't locked and there is enough variation in movement
that I don't get any kind of strain.

Even if you are not ready to go to the doctor, you can mitigate some of
the symptoms by wrapping your wrist in an Ace bandage, as if you'd
sprained it. I've been wearing the Ace bandage at night the last couple
of weeks, and it helps a great deal. I also wrap the wrist sometimes
during the day, if the pain returns.

Also pay some really close attention to the chair you're using. Some
arm rests are a Good Thing. They help distribute the weight of your arm
when you're typing or using the mouse, so that the wrist doesn't have to
carry it all. However, there are a lot of wanna-be chair manufacturers
out there who haven't figured this out and think that arm rests are more
decorative than functional.

And pay attention to how you sit in that chair. A good chair should
support your back, let you sit upright, and let you position your hands
comfortably on the keyboard. If you slouch in the chair, or sit with it
too far back from the keyboard, you're defeating the purpose of all that
ergonomic research. Also, if you're a short person and you have to tip
the chair forward so your feet can touch the ground, you're likewise
defeating the purpose of ergonomic chairs - get a footrest, lower the
chair, or do whatever it takes to sit properly.

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems

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