View Full Version : Repetitive strain injury/carpal tunnel syndrome

Old Hack
08-12-2005, 11:12 AM
In the last three months I've developed repetitive strain injury/carpal tunnel syndrome in both arms, due to typing and writing. I now can't write at all.

I'm in the process of switching over to voice recognition software and a new computer so I can continue to work.

I've now been asked to write an article about overcoming the condition for New Writer magazine.

I've seen lots of devices on the internet which are designed to help sufferers, such as ergonomic keyboards and mice, and I wondered what experience anyone had had with these things.

If any of you actually use anything specially to help with RSI/CTS, I'd be grateful if you could let me know. Post here, and/or email me at "olchet at hotmail dot com".

I'll be happy to post a summary of the article here, when it's done. I will, of course, credit all help I receive.


08-12-2005, 01:44 PM
I sometimes use Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software for when it's really bad, but I tend to just wear wrist supports. In one company I worked for, they gave me a graphics tablet & pen to use instead of a mouse, because that can help some people. Didn't particularly help me, because I just got strain from holding something another way, instead.

08-12-2005, 01:51 PM
same here...I worked for 12 years in the computer games industry, doing the graphics, and it really destroyed my hands even though I switched between mouse and tablet.

Now I just write, but I still get cramps typing away at the keyboard. Every now and then I visit an Osteopath who squeezes my hands and wrists for an hours to push away the lactic acid.

I'm thinking about getting some voice-recog software, so I'm also keen to here what's hot and what's not.

08-12-2005, 04:55 PM
RSI is so painful. Five years ago I couldn't hold a cup. I used a tape recorder for two months whilst I went to an Osteopath who specialised in RSI treatment. I also talked to a few 'experts' and did a little reading research.

General opinion was that my work set up was causing problems so I replanned my work area. I had a work study expert come to my home and study my work habits. She watched me work and attached monitors to me. She advised me on how I should use my arms and hands and rest them as I typed. She also helped me decide what the best desk and chair would be. She even came shopping with me and chose a number of desks and chairs which I trialled for a week at a time at home before we found the best ones.

I also use an ergonomic keyboard with writst rests and an ergonomic intelli mouse. The mouse doesn't move like usual ones it has a roller ball on the top that moves at the twitch of the finger. Both keyboard and mouse really do help.

It took six months to be able to work 12 hours a day again. As long as I remember to take five minute breaks every hour, keep physically fit and rested, and do a midday de-stress I'm fine. Oh and a luxury that helps is a monthly massage from a Japanese trained masseur who takes any knots out of my shoulders and upper arms before they cause problems.

08-13-2005, 12:47 AM
I developed RSI after playing too much Sims and doing too much data entry at work. It really SUCKED (and still does).

But moving on, there is a mouse by 3M called The Renaissance Mouse that I LOVE. It's like a joystick, but it doesn't move side to side. It's really the only mouse I can use anymore without experiencing major discomfort. Of course, if you overdo it, you overdo it...and no amount of special apparati will help.

I also sleep with splints at night (the current ones my doctor gave me four years ago when I first started having problems..unfortunately I let it get so bad that I couldn't go to work, drive, turn keys, etc. for about four weeks)

Unfortunately, re: voice recognition systems, foot pedals, etc, can also cause repetition problems: if you're not used to speaking into the darn thing all the time, you might start getting a sore throat...personally I've never considered using voice recognition because I've heard so many negatives about it. I'd rather do my stretches and type. But that's just me.

Oh, and I tried one of those roller-ball mice...BIG mistake! It's worse than a standard mouse for my problems. I would definitely recommend the Renaissance mouse for anyone with problems related to mousing.

I would love to have an ergonomic (split) keyboard...I write on a laptop much of the time and would not recommend it!!

Old Hack, the thing that helped me most was actually going to the physical therapist and learning some good stretches. (I'd love to be able to go to a chiropractor, but that's just too much $$$) Even though I don't warm up and stretch as much as I should, it still helps. And DON'T stretch if you're swollen and painful, you'll just injure yourself more. That's the time for ice and ibuprofen. I was also on a medication called Lodine for awhile which really helped...it's just a fine line, learning how much is too much when you're working. That was my problem; I overdid it and thought, Oh it's no big deal. But four years later it's still a major problem in my life. I can't lift anything heavy anymore or I'm hurting for a week. I went through a long period where I thought I wouldn't be able to write anymore (how depressing)

I know, long post...sorry. But, there are also programs on the web, a few free, that monitor how much you're typing and signal for you to take a break--some even show you stretches to do or how to improve your posture...when I was back to work but still recovering, one such program helped me a lot. Mouse Works is one such program...I can't remember the others.

02-20-2006, 11:36 PM
I just want to mention Thoracic outlet syndrome-TOS.
It's in the RSI family but can also have other factors of cause.
Like posture, hypermobility, previous whiplash or MVA, sports injury, falls ect.
Many times just the work positions of using and holding arms up, out and forward for sustained periods of time, can cause body/shoulder changes { droop, hunch, rounding} causeing slight compressions on the many nerves and blood supply in the neck, shoulder and armpit areas.
-like = keyboarding, assembly work, hair stylist,& many more.

I'd like to post some links for your information as TOS can become chronic and very painfull if not caught and treated properly early on.
drats I'm on another computer so my saved list isn't available to me.
I'll log off and edit to add them soon.
or if you see this before I can add -
just do a google on Thoracic outlet syndrome

02-21-2006, 07:26 AM
I am talking with several specialists in ergonomics, chropractic and holistic healing. I am throwing another health and fitness fair at work and this is one of the biggest topics. Our insurance pays for everything but no one seems to know what to do. Some of you remember that my 23 year bout with excruciating back pain was completely healed withing 4 months of chiropractic therapy. Amazing that I went to medical doctors for all those years and it just got worse.

I believe there is a cure for everyone. Just different situations. Right now I am totally sold on the pain clinics if you find the right one. The business of Chiro and pain clinics stink but if the doctors believe in what they do, I excuse them.

Just beware the [duck call] ineffecive ones.

02-25-2006, 05:40 AM
My husband had the surgery in December, if anyone wants more info, send me a PM.


02-26-2006, 02:27 AM
Most RSS is caused by improper position at the computer, so that's the first thing to check. Ergonomic keyboards don't help a bit if the rest of your body isn't right. From fingertip to toes, your entire body must be positioned exactly right.

And the mouse causes more RSS than the keyboard. The smartest thing anyone susceptible to RSS can do is switch the mouse from right-handed to left-handed, or the other way around, every month or two.

02-27-2006, 09:24 PM
I have a shoulder injury that gets me more than anything. I had to drop out of Nano after 20,000 words because I was simply doing too much typing. One thing that helps me a lot is a trackball mouse, so my fingertips do all the moving of the cursor instead of my wrist/arm.

The Dragon software is on my wishlist. Maybe by the time my birthday rolls around....

02-28-2006, 07:10 PM
I use wrist supports purchased from the local drugstore, they really help.

03-02-2006, 05:12 AM
I came to this thread looking for a ream of info about RSI I'd read recently.
I though it was in this thread. Was it in the novel thread. James wrote something on it.
Anyone remember as I've tried search and nothing came for RSI.