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View Full Version : Got any Carpal tunnel tips??



tengraceapples
02-09-2012, 10:28 AM
Hey!

So after taking a break,im back to writing and my hands hurt. Ive only been writing 2 hrs or so. But after im done with research, i will dive into 6-8 hrs writing sessions. Any Carpal Tunnel tips would be great: )

thx

strawberryblondie
02-09-2012, 10:44 AM
Hand massage is an amazing thing. Wrist stretches are great too. And although I don't use one, I've heard good things about ergonomic keyboards.

tengraceapples
02-09-2012, 10:52 AM
thx!

cryaegm
02-09-2012, 01:40 PM
I just take breaks and let my hand rest for a while. There's times where I regret writing for 10+ hours without taking a break. My hand will just throb nonstop and I can't really move it, let alone write.

I can type for hours without a problem. It's just when I write by hand that it my hand will start bothering me.

Shakesbear
02-09-2012, 03:02 PM
I have a wrist support thingy which is wonderful. Also use a an ergonomic keyboard which is easy to use and does help. I also use an Ibuprofen cream which I rub in first thing in the morning and again in the evening. It really helps. I use one that is sold over the counter. I've also been told that touch typing helps because all the fingers are used instead of just one or two - I've always touch typed, so don't know if that is true. Posture and the right seat for you will minimise back/shoulder stress, as does having the screen at the right height and distance. Hope this helps. :-))

Sage
02-09-2012, 04:21 PM
Don't lay your elbows on the desk while you're writing. This sounds like it's unrelated, but my doctor says my carpal-like symptoms are really probably due to a nerve in my elbow.

I wear a bedtime wrist guard at night too, and it makes a huge difference. I've never been comfortable with the normal ones during the day.

Definitely stretch your wrists and fingers and take breaks

shaldna
02-09-2012, 05:23 PM
I had CTS when I was pregnant, so I can totally sympathise. I don't really have any advice other than wrist supports.

randi.lee
02-09-2012, 05:33 PM
And although I don't use one, I've heard good things about ergonomic keyboards.

I have an ergonomic keyboard and I wouldn't trade it for the world. The added wrist support took my writing-induced carpal issues from serious to almost non-existent.

I can't say its a magical cure-all for everyone, but it is for me... worth a shot, right?

tengraceapples
02-10-2012, 02:35 AM
Thx guys!

Shakesbear, what's the name of OTC cream?

Lady MacBeth
02-10-2012, 02:52 AM
I have the keyboard, the wrist brace, the chair and I take frequent breaks. Still, my carpal issues have grown worse over the years. Does anyone else have it in both wrists?

veinglory
02-10-2012, 02:55 AM
Make sure you look at your ergonomics, have the best posture and keyboard, experiment with changing how you types and use the mouse etc. If it becomes a chronic condition there is no going back....

mickeyDs4
02-10-2012, 03:08 AM
Parafin wax treatments at least twice a week. My parents got me a kit for Christmas. I love it.

LLW
02-10-2012, 03:53 AM
This is going to sound weirdly unrelated, but I swear it's true: I used to have way more problems with carpal tunnel, especially in my right hand. When I had to go on a gluten-free diet for an unrelated issue, the carpal tunnel symptoms improved quite a bit..... just throwing that out there... good luck, hope you find some relief! :)

mac3910
02-10-2012, 03:58 AM
Heat up any regular moisturizer in the microwave for a few seconds and use it for the hand massage. The heat is good for relaxing muscles and tendons.

KateSmash
02-10-2012, 05:11 AM
In addition to all of the above - switch your keyboard every once in a while. For instant, I'll write on my desktop for a while, then switch to my laptop if I go any longer than 3 hours. The different sizes and motion are enough to head most of the pain off at the pass.

I also take weekends off to give my hands a good long rest and don't play video games (console, phone, whatever) on days I write for any substantial amount of time. Which is hard since my nerdy little life is pretty much just writing and games.

tengraceapples
02-10-2012, 12:36 PM
Hey
Great tips guys. Lady, I have it in both Hans just like you
It sucks a little

wyndmaker
02-10-2012, 07:21 PM
I just stretch, and use hot compresses on my hands, but they are not the problem so much as my knees. When I try to stand up after a couple of hours of typing my knees don't want to work at all. I just push the chair back and lift my legs every now and then to avoid that.

c.e.lawson
02-10-2012, 08:40 PM
Wearing a wrist brace to bed might help. Especially if you're the type to sleep in a curled up fetal position with your wrists bent. The brace will keep your wrist in neutral all night, let it rest, and hopefully keep irritation/inflammation down to a minimum. (Only to be irritated again when you type all day the next day. ;) )

And yeah, ergonomics while typing are very important.

CrastersBabies
02-10-2012, 08:59 PM
I second (or third) the hand massage.

Get a good wrist brace.

Ice after every long session.

Lady MacBeth
02-10-2012, 09:02 PM
This is going to sound weirdly unrelated, but I swear it's true: I used to have way more problems with carpal tunnel, especially in my right hand. When I had to go on a gluten-free diet for an unrelated issue, the carpal tunnel symptoms improved quite a bit..... just throwing that out there... good luck, hope you find some relief! :)


I've heard a gluten-free diet can help with health problems. Interesting that it helps with carpal issues too.

Drachen Jager
02-10-2012, 09:16 PM
Exercise. If you strengthen the muscles it takes a lot of the strain away from the wrist.

I do weights, but I know people who use gyro-balls and that's quite effective too. They start at about $25 and do a great job of keeping your wrist strong. It's hard to explain until you've tried it, but they're quite addictive too, lots of fun to play with when you're on a break.

http://www.powerballs.ca/

cornetto
02-10-2012, 09:20 PM
Don't lay your elbows on the desk while you're writing. This sounds like it's unrelated, but my doctor says my carpal-like symptoms are really probably due to a nerve in my elbow.

I wear a bedtime wrist guard at night too, and it makes a huge difference. I've never been comfortable with the normal ones during the day.

Definitely stretch your wrists and fingers and take breaks

This ^^

My symptoms totally went away after my hysterectomy. I was taking 1200-1800 mg of ibuprofen a day for post-op pain and that cleared up the inflammation in my elbow and forearm.

The padded wrist rests always bothered me (I move my keyboard too much) so I bought a memory foam kitchen mat--they kind you stand on while washing dishes--and put that on my desk like a blotter. Pull it all the way to the front edge of the desk and your hands, wrists and arms are padded even if you rest them right on the desk's edge (one of my many bad habits). You can buy similar mats made for desks, but the floor mats are waaay cheaper. I got mine for $2 at Wally World after Christmas.

I also got some thicker memory foam and repadded the arm rests of my chair. It was the arm rest that screwed up my elbow.

cornetto
02-10-2012, 09:32 PM
This is going to sound weirdly unrelated, but I swear it's true: I used to have way more problems with carpal tunnel, especially in my right hand. When I had to go on a gluten-free diet for an unrelated issue, the carpal tunnel symptoms improved quite a bit..... just throwing that out there... good luck, hope you find some relief! :)

If you are sensitive to gluten, it will not only irritate your gut (sometimes severely), it will also cause inflammation everywhere else, including joints, tendons, nerves and so on.

RemusShepherd
02-10-2012, 09:36 PM
Everyone's given good advice. Let me add just a bit:

Your goal is to reduce inflamation. That means ice is better than heat when your wrists are hurting. Also, anything anti-inflammatory is potentially helpful. Different things help different people when it comes to inflammation. I like Omega-3 oils, but they don't help everyone.

I got rid of almost all my carpal tunnel pain by exercising with chinese medicine balls. They're usually cheaper than gyroballs and more fun to play with.

Personally, I prefer having my elbows supported by the table or armrest, but that's because my pain definitely comes from my wrist. As someone else mentioned, your pain could arise from the elbow. Make sure you know what part of your arm is the problem, because any ergonomic solution that fixes one part might stress the other. Best of luck!

Lady MacBeth
02-10-2012, 09:38 PM
If you are sensitive to gluten, it will not only irritate your gut (sometimes severely), it will also cause inflammation everywhere else, including joints, tendons, nerves and so on.


We need to start a new thread on gluten-free diets if there isn't one already.

Tasmin21
02-10-2012, 09:48 PM
I don't have carpal tunnel syndrome yet, but I do have tendonitis in both wrists, which is a pre-cursor. To add to the difficulties, I'm allergic to anti-inflammatories.

I find that my ergonomic keyboard is essential (I use the kind that's split in the middle). When I'm having a bad flare up, I wear wrist braces on both wrists. I also find that wearing the braces when I sleep will make the pain go away faster than only wearing them during the day.

Anjasa
02-10-2012, 09:48 PM
Sit properly, don't cross your legs, sit back in your chair, take breaks, do wrist massage and exercises, get a stress relief ball and use it when your flareups aren't bad.

Motrin or any other antinflamatory can help, as can a wrist brace.

LLW
02-11-2012, 12:40 AM
I've heard a gluten-free diet can help with health problems. Interesting that it helps with carpal issues too.

Yeah, I was surprised when it happened. But the health practitioner I was seeing said it probably reduced the overall inflammation in my body when I went gluten-free. (I have an allergy). Who knew?

crunchyblanket
02-11-2012, 12:53 AM
I have arthritis in most of my joints. I find that heat helps a lot when my hands are locking up. A hot water bottle or heat pad is a handy thing to have. As is a good stock of ibruprofen (always take it on a full stomach) And, of course, wrist supports.

Ketzel
02-11-2012, 01:14 AM
Find a real expert in repetitive stress injuries and make sure you have an accurate diagnosis. I was treated ineffectively for carpal tunnel syndrome for several years, up to the point of considering surgery on my wrist. The surgeon I was referred to turned out to be the one who figured out my hand problem was referred pain from a pinched nerve in my neck. I still have occasional flare-ups, but it's twice a year now, instead of twice a day.

BethS
02-11-2012, 03:50 AM
Hey!

So after taking a break,im back to writing and my hands hurt. Ive only been writing 2 hrs or so. But after im done with research, i will dive into 6-8 hrs writing sessions. Any Carpal Tunnel tips would be great: )

thx

Some great exercises for prevention and relief here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUyMNyrOHJQ).

LLW
02-11-2012, 06:32 AM
We need to start a new thread on gluten-free diets if there isn't one already.
Hah!:)

muravyets
02-11-2012, 07:20 AM
I don't have carpal tunnel syndrome, but I do have occasional pain from old tendonitis in my right hand, as well as tendonitis in one knee and one heel, and some hints of arthritis in my hips. I am a big believer in changing up your working positions and methods from time to time, and in taking breaks to stretch and move around. I guess it makes sense to me to prevent repetitive motion injuries by avoiding too much repetitive motion (or non-motion).

Sometimes I type, sometimes I write by hand. Sometimes I sit to work, and sometimes I stand to work. Even during a multi-hour writing session, I try not to stay in the chair for the full stretch of time. Instead, I try to stand, move around, etc., at least once an hour during the session. For regular exercise, I find yoga and tai-chi are very good for keeping joints and tendons limber. Anti-inflammatory painkillers are our friend during flare-ups, and remember -- drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep. Life's leading preventative and curative, respectively. That's my personal take on writing pain-free.

PEBKAC
02-11-2012, 11:32 AM
I have to use an ergo keyboard or I can't type for more than a few minutes at a time. I also can't hand write more than a few minutes at a time.

If it's really carpal tunnel, and it's really bad, surgery can help. My wife's was so bad she cried herself to sleep almost every night. She went for surgery on both wrists and she has had no pain at all since then. It was a miracle for her, but I know it's not always that effective.

Kitty27
02-11-2012, 11:54 AM
Usually,a good rest period and wrist massages do it for me. When it's really bad,I get some washcloths and soak them in a mixture of hot water and Epsom salt. Then I wrap them around my wrists for about ten to fifteen minutes. That works for me every time.

jdm
02-12-2012, 03:16 AM
The most important thing you can do to prevent carpal tunnel is to keep the wrists straight while typing. Maintain the top of the hand, arm and wrist in a straight line while using the keyboard. Observe your habits to make sure your posture and workstation allow you to maintain this arm position. This means the keyboard should not be much higher than your elbows (a hard position to achieve with a chair and still get your legs under the desk) with a 10-15 degree angle above horizontal on the keyboard. Look for a keyboard that allows you to maintain a straight wrist posture. Avoid resting the wrist on any hard surfaces and if you must use a wrist support, make sure it is a gel type or something equally soft. Take frequent breaks while typing. CT is a repetitive stress injury and occurs when abnormal, prolonged or repetitive compression is placed on the the median nerve at the wrist. Once you get carpal tunnel, the inflamed nerve swells and puts additional pressure against the channel the nerve travels through and it is difficult to get over without medical intervention. All these things can help from making it worse though, especially frequent breaks. A wrist brace to immobilize the wrist can certainly help also.

Paul
02-12-2012, 03:43 AM
I have arthritis in most of my joints. I find that heat helps a lot when my hands are locking up. A hot water bottle or heat pad is a handy thing to have. As is a good stock of ibruprofen (always take it on a full stomach) And, of course, wrist supports.
i came across a potato natural remedy off the net, seemed to work, though i'm a mild sufferer.

re op, rest and as above (prev poster)

heyjude
02-12-2012, 04:02 PM
The heating pad helps me the most. Also, I use a speaking software when the hands hurt too much.

BethS
02-12-2012, 05:52 PM
if you must use a wrist support, make sure it is a gel type or something equally soft.

Everything you said, except that.

Even a gel rest may still end up being a problem. I used to use a mouse pad with a gel pad for the wrist and I finally had to stop because the sensitivity it was causing in the wrist. Best not to rest the wrists on anything while typing or mousing.

sickmuse
02-13-2012, 02:05 AM
If worse comes to worst, switch your keyboard layout. I have arthritis (and other painful issues), and I've tried everything listed above, including gluten-free. During NaNoWriMo last year, my hands/fingers/wrists were absolutely killing me, so I switched to Colemak. You can analyze your writing style and determine which one will be best for your fingers:

http://patorjk.com/keyboard-layout-analyzer/

jaksen
02-13-2012, 02:30 AM
How is your writing surface situated? Is it on a flat, level desk, table or surface that is low? (Not up high.) Old-fashioned typing desks were always set low. You'd push your chair under and sort of type down. I can write for hours and hours, no problem, and I have been writing this way - first on a typewriter, followed by a word processor, then a desktop PC and now a laptop for over 40 years.

No tendonitis. No carpal tunnel.

I noticed the secretaries at my school (where I taught for many years) all had problems over the years - wrist braces, some had surgery, etc., but their desks were set up high - the standard for sitting and reading a book perhaps, or doing paperwork with pencil and paper.

Anyhow, it's just a suggestion. My old-fashioned typing desk is set about five inches lower than my kitchen or dining room tables.

(My husband often works at the kitchen table on his laptop and frequently has problems in his wrists/arms and has to take breaks.)

jdm
02-13-2012, 06:28 AM
Everything you said, except that.

Even a gel rest may still end up being a problem. I used to use a mouse pad with a gel pad for the wrist and I finally had to stop because the sensitivity it was causing in the wrist. Best not to rest the wrists on anything while typing or mousing.

True, but some people lack the upper body and shoulder strength to hold the arms up for prolonged periods of time. This can cause severe strain on the shoulders, neck and upper back, which can also have consequences. Others have arthritic shoulder joints which prevent unaided support of the arms.
Ergonomics is part of the profession I work in. And you are correct. There is no one solution that works for everyone due to the differences in human anatomy between individuals.

Monkey
02-13-2012, 07:03 AM
My wrists have been hurting for about two weeks now. I don't think it's from writing, but rather from the stresses of parkour. My parkour instructor suggested I do wrist-strengthening exercises, but I was dubious--I felt like if my wrists were sore from hard use, more hard use was probably a bad choice.

Maybe he was right after all?

slashedkaze
02-13-2012, 04:03 PM
If worse comes to worst, switch your keyboard layout. I have arthritis (and other painful issues), and I've tried everything listed above, including gluten-free. During NaNoWriMo last year, my hands/fingers/wrists were absolutely killing me, so I switched to Colemak. You can analyze your writing style and determine which one will be best for your fingers:

http://patorjk.com/keyboard-layout-analyzer/

I want to second this. I've switched to Dvorak a while ago and while the first weeks were horrible in terms of typing speed, it does get better quickly. Switching is not as difficult as one might think. I've heard that it helps with CT, but I can't attest to that since my own hand pains have a different source.

sickmuse
02-13-2012, 04:46 PM
Also, switching to Colemak is significantly easier than switching to Dvorak! More of the keys are in the "right" place, and it's a lot less hard to switch back to QWERTY (having tried Dvorak before Colemak) if you don't like it or need to use a different computer. It's also slightly better for your hands-- no pinky-stretching for the L key. But really, either one is miles better than QWERTY. Reserving the home keys for the most commonly used letters just makes sense, in terms of hand health!

WriteMinded
02-13-2012, 08:51 PM
I don't know if I have carpal tunnel or not. I do know I have wrist pain, sometimes a lot of it, always accompanied by finger pain. Bromelain helps. Make it go away? No, but it helps.

InfiniteDreamer
02-14-2012, 11:11 AM
I usually take a break and soak my wrists in warm/hot water for a few minutes. :D I've just started a gluten-free diet and a lot of my joint pain has cleared up as well.

tengraceapples
02-16-2012, 09:53 AM
Its crazy bc now it hurts even when I'm just scrollong down the page.
It's from my wrist up to my elbow. Doing the smallest things on the pc causes that.

FranOnTheEdge
02-18-2012, 05:55 PM
Listening to what all of you are saying, I so feel like a member of an elite group, it's just a shame it hurts so much.

My problems are Osteoarthritis, I have it in my thumbs, wrists, knees, lower back and neck (although the last two had a different original cause.) and occasionally - shoulders too.

Various parts of me flare up into agonising pain at different times it seems to me, so I'm just waiting for the next horror to strike.

I take Naproxen and strong prescription only co-codamol when it's really bad.

I've an ergonimic keyboard and a logitech Performance MX mouse that seems to fit my hand best, and a special custom built chair with various adjustable features like lumbar support, cushioned adjustable height and angle arm rests etc etc.
All of which each helps a bit with each problem area of me.

But there can still come a time when I can hardly write at all, things just get so painful, when that happens I can use 'Dragon' but I find that dictating into a microphone is so NOT conducive to creativity. Even after lots of training, it still mishears me and makes silly mistakes now and then, which I must correct right away, or I forget what I meant to say, and in such pauses my creative ideas fly out the window.

Sigh.

Doesn't make me want to stop writing permanently though. (expression of bullish determination)

heyjude
02-19-2012, 03:43 PM
Bromelain helps. Make it go away? No, but it helps.

Do you take it with turmeric? I've been taking calcium and turmeric and bromelain, and I definitely see a difference.

robjvargas
02-19-2012, 06:57 PM
The State of Washington has a pretty decent guide on workplace ergonomics. I got a program started at a previous employer based on the information inside. It's probably worth a read for people suffering various RSI's.

http://www.lni.wa.gov/IPUB/417-133-000.pdf

brainstorm77
02-19-2012, 08:26 PM
I've got all the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel and have for some time. I work with my hands a alot with my day job and the writing doesn't help either on my days off.

My doc mentioned surgery. Any mention of surgery scares the hell out of me. :(

robjvargas
02-19-2012, 08:32 PM
I've got all the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel and have for some time. I work with my hands a alot with my day job and the writing doesn't help either on my days off.

My doc mentioned surgery. Any mention of surgery scares the hell out of me. :(

In my VERY anecdotal experience, surgery doesn't work as a form of recovery. I've known a total of three people who got surgery, and none experienced anything close to full recovery. Each considered it more a stoppage of things getting worse.

Sounds like surgery should be an absolute last-ditch effort.

But I don't want to understate it: 3 people is NOT conclusive.

brainstorm77
02-19-2012, 08:39 PM
In my VERY anecdotal experience, surgery doesn't work as a form of recovery. I've known a total of three people who got surgery, and none experienced anything close to full recovery. Each considered it more a stoppage of things getting worse.

Sounds like surgery should be an absolute last-ditch effort.

But I don't want to understate it: 3 people is NOT conclusive.

I've had the opposite experience. I'm a nurse in my day job and many co-workers have had it with success. I guess it depends on each person.

You're right. I know for me it would be my last option. :)

WriteMinded
02-19-2012, 08:42 PM
Do you take it with turmeric? I've been taking calcium and turmeric and bromelain, and I definitely see a difference.No. I passed on the turmeric because of warnings about people with gallstones. I don't have gallstones, but I don't have a gallbladder (anymore), either, so maybe it would be safe to give it a try now. Thanks for the reminder, turmeric is supposed to be good for lots of things.