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Author Topic: Can we talk about Carpal Tunnel / Repetitive Motion Injuries?  (Read 651 times)

SilentSwirl

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Carpal tunnel used to be associated with secretaries and typists, but it seems we're all typists these days. All the typing I've ever done has been as a student. I've used a laptop since 1999 (which also means I've use a touch pad and not a mouse since then, too).  I type with my fingers on the correct keys except for P (which I reach for with my middle finger, oddly enough) and SHIFT (which I only ever use my right hand for).

This past semester I've had off and on pains. Mostly I figured I was just being paranoid, and ignored it. But this past week I have had AWFUL pain starting with my index finger, up through my hand, and sometimes as far back as my elbow (right hand). When I would wake up in the morning and still be in pain, I had a minor freak out and went and bought a track ball (the kind you use with your thumb, to give my index finger a break) and a new keyboard (cuz I have a tiny laptop, which puts my hands at a funny angle). I also bought a wrist guard/band thingie. I considered buying one of the very stiff wrist protector thingies, but I thought it might be overboard since I havent been diagnosed with anything...

But the pain isn't really going away. I've been taking ibuprofen, which I'm about to step up to around the clock use. I know what I really need to do is give my hands a break and quit typing for a few weeks. Impossible! I'm in the middle of writing my thesis, I have a million papers due in the next few weeks, and I haven't hand-written class notes since 2004. But tonight, as I sit here working, I've started to feel a little numbness, which is a SURE SIGN of trouble! :( :( :(

Anyway, I guess I'm writing all of this to say -- if you have any ideas, suggestions, comments, experiences, opinions (I know you've ALL got opinions) about this, tell me! I'm kind of having a minor freak out moment because once you get carpal tunnel, you can't ever really fix it. They can do surgery, but it's not going to make it 100% better.

And if I *am* having a real issue, what on earth am I supposed to do about typing the rest of my life?!

SilentSwirl

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Re: Can we talk about Carpal Tunnel / Repetitive Motion Injuries?
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2007, 06:47:47 AM »
Go to the doctor. Also, don't take more than 1000 mg per day, or take it for more than ten days. If you get a stomach bleed, it will make you forget all about your hands.

Oh poo. I knew you were going to say that.

As for the meds, thank you. I don't like to take advil unless I can't avoid it for that very reason. Surprisingly, though, I had a doctor prescribe it for long term use for me once (to get rid of something else). As in, she wanted me to take 400 mg, 2 - 3 x day, forever.  Freaked me out. Freaked me out even more when she said, "You're young, you should be okay."  ??? ???

I guess I'll make an appointment next week.

But I still want to hear if anyone else has had issues with it. And ... am I the only one worried that we'll ALL have it by mid-life, at least??

Bridge83

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Re: Can we talk about Carpal Tunnel / Repetitive Motion Injuries?
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2007, 07:23:44 AM »
Consider a ergonomic (split) keyboard.

SilentSwirl

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Re: Can we talk about Carpal Tunnel / Repetitive Motion Injuries?
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2007, 07:40:15 AM »
1. It would really worry me if a doctor told me to take that much ibuprofen with no indication of when to stop. Hello, liver damage!

2. I haven't had any problems with it myself, but I know some people who have. If it is CTS or other compression of the median nerve, you may end up just wearing a splint for a while. Some things I do to help prevent it are taking breaks every once in a while, making a tight fist for a couple seconds, then spreading my fingers out as much as possible for a few seconds, and repeating that about ten times. Do that about every half hour you've been typing and see if it helps.

1. Well, it was like this: There's something wrong with me that requires one med. That med causes a bizarre side effect in me (so bizarre, that it took 14 MDs to diagnose). In order to get rid of the bizarre side effect I was told to take ibuprofen. For as long as I was taking the original med. And it was right around there when I said the same thing you just said about my poor liver. And that's when she said "You're young." I no longer take the ibuprofen OR the original med, and just deal with the original thing that was wrong with me. Hah.

2. Awesome! Thank you! I've never heard of this, and it actually feels really good to do it. Pain still there, but maybe this will help some.

Consider a ergonomic (split) keyboard.

I got one :(  I'm considering buying this whacky $250 one that has all the keys in like a bowl shape and supposedly REALLY minimizes the movement your fingers do. If I didnt fear a reduction in typing speed, the smart thing to do would be to switch to DVORAK.

Thanks :)

jer

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Re: Can we talk about Carpal Tunnel / Repetitive Motion Injuries?
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2007, 08:04:54 AM »
i hope you figure something out.
and let me know if you do!

my finger is kiling me from all the clicking!

darlinalexi

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Re: Can we talk about Carpal Tunnel / Repetitive Motion Injuries?
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2007, 09:00:37 AM »
Hi,

My mother has really bad carpal tunnel (she has a pinched nerve and a herniated disk and that's what caused it instead of repeative stress), and she is in constant pain.   She's gone through 3 operations on her wrists trying to get them better, and every surgery seems to make them worse.  SO if you actually do have carpal tunnel, make sure you look into all of your options before deciding on a course of action.

When you use your laptop at home, they have ergodynamic pads that you can put up next to the end of your laptop.  They are firm and reduce the stress on your wrists. Also, if it gets bad, they have braces for your wrists (they are made of a lycra-like material) and are flesh-toned.  You probably wouldn't want to wear them in class, but they reduce the movement of your wrists and again reduce stress.

But you might have arthritis.  I'm 21 and am already starting to get arthritis, and I have those same pains you're talking about.  Does arthritis run in your family?

See a doctor.  It could be one of these things, or it could be nothing.

Cantillon

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Re: Can we talk about Carpal Tunnel / Repetitive Motion Injuries?
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2007, 04:21:08 PM »
I also bought a wrist guard/band thingie.

Are you referring to something like the FleXtend?  I had what I thought was carpal tunnel a few years ago.  I diagnosed myself using information on the internet.  I never went to a doctor (maybe I should have), but from what I read, CT is due to muscle imbalance (i.e. overuse of the hand/wrist muscles needed for typing, underuse of the others.)  I bought the FleXtend, and although it might have been a placebo effect, the device seemed to help.  I haven't had symptoms in a while, but I also don't use the computer as often as I used to.

I'm not trying to advertise things like the FleXtend.  It's fairly expensive, but I just wanted to share my experience.