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  1. #1
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    Unhappy AM has given me Carpal tunnel syndrome
    I went to see my doctor yesterday after I kept experiencing throbbing pain in my left shoulder, a sharp pain in my left elbow and numbness in my left pinky. He confrirmed what I thought, I have carpal tunnel syndrome, in both wrists actually, though the left one is the only one giving me problems.

    Besides money, see what too much coding and too much content typing will get you. Anyone else have or had it? How did you deal with it? How long until the sypmtoms went away? (waking up in the middle of the night without a left pinky is too freaky)

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  2. #2
    affiliate emeritus missdonna's Avatar
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    It hit me just before Christmas '03. I struggled along with it for months, pretending it would get better on its own. Finally in about February I stopped making pages, limited my stat checking and such.

    I had a nice vacation, and didn't get back to making pages or updating sites for close to a year. Christmas '04 was horrible. Now I'm back but on a much more limited basis. Christmas '05 won't be very good either, but at least it doesn't hurt anymore.
    Affiliate Marketing - The hardest easy money I ever made.

  3. #3
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Ouch!

    Ask your doctors for a referral to a physical therapist. I don't have carpal tunnel syndrome but I have been treated by PTs for a severe upper trapezius sprain and a thumb ligament adhesion. PTs are my heroes!

    Also I think it's a good idea to switch things up once in a while in your work environment e.g. different chair, different mouse, different monitor, etc. Changing the ergonomics might provide some relief from repetitive motion related injuries.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by missdonna
    It hit me just before Christmas '03. I struggled along with it for months, pretending it would get better on its own. Finally in about February I stopped making pages, limited my stat checking and such.

    I had a nice vacation, and didn't get back to making pages or updating sites for close to a year. Christmas '04 was horrible. Now I'm back but on a much more limited basis. Christmas '05 won't be very good either, but at least it doesn't hurt anymore.

    Wow, it took a whole year! Since this is my only means of income I can't go that long without working on my sites. Scary.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea

    Also I think it's a good idea to switch things up once in a while in your work environment e.g. different chair, different mouse, different monitor, etc. Changing the ergonomics might provide some relief from repetitive motion related injuries.
    The suggestions you make are exactly what my doctor said. I have to admit, my workstation is far from ergonomically correct. I just haven't wanted to spend the cash to buy a new desk or chair. I guess I have no choice now.

    As far as the physical therapist goes, I'll ask him about it in two weeks when I see him again. Thanks

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador phillyburbs's Avatar
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    A few quick thoughts...

    1) My wife had to have the surgery on both wrists. Rough road, but had to be done. Took several months to get back to normal.

    2) Have had physical therapy during three different periods. Offers relief, but you have to make sure you keep up with the exercises and follow proper ergonomics or it will return with a venegence.

    3) AM didn't give you Carpal Tunnel. That's good lawyer-speak for ya!

    4) Upon diagnosis, they usually put you on a course of anti-inflamatories (usually ibuprofen). This can help - both relieving pain and reducing symptoms - but can wreak havoc on your GI tract. I've also received cortisone shots for Carpal Tunnel. Mixed results there.

    Best wishes on a quick and complete recovery.

  7. #7
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    too much coding and too much content typing will get you.
    I knew it! Content is evil!

    Being serious, now...aren't there any braces you can wear to help reduce the strain? (Or do those only help prevent...)

    Although, at this point, reducing the amount of typing is probably the best way.

    I have to admit, my workstation is far from ergonomically correct. I just haven't wanted to spend the cash to buy a new desk or chair.
    Dumping my old chair was one of the best investments I ever made when it comes to AM. My old one didn't bother my wrists, but it was killing my back!

    On a much cheaper level, wrist rests can help a lot. I've got one each for my keyboard and mouse. Sometimes my wrists get sore, but nothing like if I try to type without the rests!

    As for OTC pain relief, a good slathering of Ben Gay can *sometimes* help.

    A thought just ran through my mind--How about those programs that let you "type" just by talking to the computer? If that tech's improved enough, you may not have to use your hands to type at all!
    Last edited by Leader; October 25th, 2005 at 01:50 PM. Reason: Tone of second paragraph came out wrong
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  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    This is serious stuff.

    My first job out of college was at Dragon Systems, one of the pioneers of speech recognition software (talk, instead of type, into your computer). I did training and techsupport, so I met a lot of the people who purchased the software. At the beginning, the software cost $5000 - $10000 and most of the people who used it didn't WANT to use it, many had Carpel Tunnel Syndrome/RSI (repetitive stress injuries).

    A significant percentage of these people were computer programmers. And ironically, some of the ones who developed the software were afflicted as well.

    It's a debilitating injury. I'll never forget the visibly-painful handshakes these people offered me as I met with them.

    I wish you all a strong recovery. And for those of you who who spend all day every day on the keyboard and don't yet feel things like tingly fingers, shoulder pain, etc. take care!

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    A thought just ran through my mind--How about those programs that let you "type" just by talking to the computer? If that tech's improved enough, you may not have to use your hands to type at all!
    I was writing as you posted this Leader. It has improved, actually, and has become much more affordable than the "old days" that I talked about.

    Look for Dragon NaturallySpeaking. It's available everywhere now.

    It's not for everyone, but it's really quite amazing software.

  10. #10
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    PTs are my heroes!
    Music to my ears as a PT.

    The splints they give are usually ones that you wear at night to start off with. It is an inflammation of the nerve that goes through your wrist. Not much room where it passes so the inflammation causes pressure on the nerve and thus pain.

    Proper ergonomics are very important. If you have limited funds, I'd suggest starting with an ergo keyboard and mouse. Then do what you can to make sure your chair level is the proper height with your desk work area (ie kb and mouse). Take frequent breaks when you are working. Even if only for 5 or 10 minutes. Take a break at least every hour. The earlier you can get a managable situation, then the better. It's really rough for folks who have waited months before seeking treatment to begin with.

    Edited to add: Yeah the voice recognition software has really come down in price and has really improved. I had a spinal cord patient (quad) that we used Dragon with way back when. It was pretty cool stuff.

  11. #11
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    wear a wrist brace and don't carry heavy bags.
    Also try to use dictation software.

  12. #12
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    Leader I just changed my chair also and my back feels great, little things add up. I am dying to try that speaking software but since I am out of the content game I have been holding off.
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  13. #13
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    I find that a wrist pad (those bead-filled things) works great to aleviate the pain. Had a bout with CTS a few years ago but since the wrist pad, no problems.
    Peace,

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  14. #14
    Content $ Queen Ebudae's Avatar
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    I have it in my "trigger finger" - the one you use to click the mouse. It often hurts when I am doing a lot of graphics, etc..

    What I have done is to get a new mouse with a thumb click - that helps some. But when it really starts bothering me, I just have to quit working for a while and let it rest. A few days usually works.

    Good Luck and hope you get to feeling better!
    Ebudae


  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador lola's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ebudae
    I have it in my "trigger finger" - the one you use to click the mouse. It often hurts when I am doing a lot of graphics, etc..

    hmmm the past few days I have severe pain in my index/mouse click finger. First in the top joint and now in both joints. It's bad enough to make me cry out and pain and I've been popping ibuprofen like mad! I never thought of one of those thumb clickers....I was thinking my life was over, but maybe there is hope...

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I've been dealing with this for some time now and it can be helped with some life adjustments. There are stretches you can do that will help release some of the stress in your wrist. Try holding your arm straight out in front of you palm up. Then with the strength in your wrist point your fingers towards the floor. When you can't do it any further use your other hand to assist until your hand is at a 90 to 100 degree angle with your arm. It's important that you keep your arm absolutely straight and you use the strength of your wrist more than your opposite hand. You do ten repetitions on each hand and it'll relieve a lot of stress. I was taught this by a PT who diagnosed me with neural tension. This is a precursor to CTS.

    Another nice stretch is just to rotate your hand around your wrist. Try to do a complete 360 degrees so your hand moves like a helicopter blade around your wrist. I generally make a fist when I do this and it's very helpful. Always stretch!

    Another important thing I learned from a therapist at my old work was to keep your wrists raised. Those wrist rests can be a bad thing and I've learned not to use them. I keep my arms and wrists raised as I type. You want to minimize the movement in your wrist and put as much of the movement as possible on your arms. This took me some time to get used to, but it helps immensely. Keeping your arms stationary while your wrists do all the work can put unnecessary stress on the carpel tunnel. I've trained myself to keep my wrists straight as I type. It can take some getting used to, but if you pay attention to your wrists you'll start to notice your habits.

    It's also very important to sit straight with your arms at a slight downward angle towards your keyboard. If your sitting too low your arms will incline towards the keyboard and that is bad. You always need to be above your keyboard so your wrists don't get tempted to sit down.

    And last but not least, learn to use your mouse with your other hand. This is a great trick and really does help. When your clicking finger gets tired, you can simply switch hands for a few hours. It'll slow you down for a while, but as you get used to it you'll become more and more comfortable using your opposite hand.

    The hard part is just to get away. Take a break every 15 minutes. Drink a lot of water so you have to take bathroom breaks. Unplug your laptop so you have to get up to charge it. Do whatever it takes to get your butt out of your chair as often as possible. I know it's hard but prolonged exposure to the computer is the worst culprit.

    I hope this can help and good luck to everybody fighting this horrible problem!
    - Scott
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  17. #17
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    Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions!!!

    I've got a lot different things to try now.

    One question, since this whole Carpal Tunnel thing has to do with inflammation, has anyone tried cold compresses? I didn't think to ask the doctor, though I guess he would have suggested it if it was helpful.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador Paul_Ward's Avatar
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    A couple of years ago I started to get pain in my right wrist and hand, it went almost instantly when I got a new chair, dumped my gel mouse pad and got a new mouse.

    I think it worked because now my right elbow rests on the arm of the chair and my wrist is on the (hard) desk top, my forearm being almost perfectly horizontal. This means that I don't have to expend any effort to keep my arm/hand in position (I have nodded off like it!).

    The mouse is very lightweight and very easy to move around. If you're moving it all day, then the less effort it takes, the less stress is put on those parts that are moving it.
    I was just short of going to the doctors when I made these changes and have no recurrance since.

  19. #19
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    You can always go the Surgery route. my mom did. Helped for a lil while.

    If it doesn't get better you won't beable to hold a cup.

  20. #20
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    I get severe headaches if I do too much on the computer - that's my signal that's it's time to take a break and perhaps do some of the many handyman jobs needing done around the house for a while.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  21. #21
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    Headaches from computer screen.
    Sounds like you need a better monitor or increase the refresh rate of your current one.

    Especially if you have LCDS if you don't have the right settings for it its headache world for you.

    And if its the glare wear sunglasses

  22. #22
    Affiliate Manager Allen Nance's Avatar
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    Lets don't complain too much
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  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador Paul_Ward's Avatar
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    Another tip I forgot, set your mouse so that it's on "fast" or whatever it's called, so the cursor moves the most for the least mouse movement. You're zooming all over the place to start with, but soon get control and it means less overall movement and so less strain at the wrist.

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Ward
    Another tip I forgot, set your mouse so that it's on "fast" or whatever it's called, so the cursor moves the most for the least mouse movement. You're zooming all over the place to start with, but soon get control and it means less overall movement and so less strain at the wrist.
    Smart thinking! Even better yet, try to reduce your mouse usage as much as possible. I make it a point to learn every keystroke I can to avoid using the mouse. It also helps to have a keyboard that takes minimal effort to press a key. I love my powerbook, best keyboard I've ever used!

    - Scott
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  25. #25
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardwareGeek
    Headaches from computer screen.
    Sounds like you need a better monitor or increase the refresh rate of your current one.

    Especially if you have LCDS if you don't have the right settings for it its headache world for you.

    And if its the glare wear sunglasses
    Actually, I have had lots fewer headaches since getting new glare-resistant lenses.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

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