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Q: Ways to pickup healthy habits to avoid wrist medical risks from keyboard usage? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Ways to pickup healthy habits to avoid wrist medical risks from keyboard usage?
Category: Health > Fitness and Nutrition
Asked by: 6ra3-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 14 Aug 2005 04:41 PDT
Expires: 13 Sep 2005 04:41 PDT
Question ID: 555577

I use the keyboard for longer hours than I care to confess here since
I carry a notebook with me to the office and home and I pretty much
chat a lot as well and document and respond to roughly fifty emails
daily as most of my work is electronically communicated.

I've recently had a scare when I tried to carry a light bag and my
left wrist pinched me with a shooting paid and I couldn't move it for
a while and I felt a bit of numbness... I kept trying to slowly flex
it over a few hours to reach the maximum extent to where I used to be
able to bend it and I had done that.. went to bed.. the next day had
no problems... but I feel that was a warning.

Would like to pick up a few habits to avoid that or common issues
facing people with heavy keyboard usage.  Now I try not to tense up
when I type as I used to.. I try to rest my hand on the table or couch
where I'm at during typing to releave my muscles and nerves.. but is
that it?

Descriptions with pictures and if possible animations that are
available online would be ideal.

If it helps, I'm in my thirties and I'm super energy efficient (lazy
as hell), so you're not dealing with a health freak and I won't
committ to anything that would change my life style. :-p

Thank you.

Subject: Re: Ways to pickup healthy habits to avoid wrist medical risks from keyboard usage?
Answered By: landog-ga on 14 Aug 2005 06:32 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
**Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google
Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute
for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological [...] or
other professional advice.

from your description you are suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Your symptoms you described are typical to the syndrome:
- Problem in carrying an everyday item.
- Pain in the wrist.
- Numbness.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
From the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website:

"Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful progressive condition caused by
compression of a key nerve in the wrist.   It occurs when the median
nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or
squeezed at the wrist.  Symptoms usually start gradually, with  pain,
weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm.  As
symptoms worsen, people might feel tingling during the day, and
decreased grip strength may make it difficult to form a fist, grasp
small objects, or perform other manual tasks.  In some cases no direct
cause of the syndrome can be identified.   Most likely the disorder is
due to a congenital predisposition - the carpal tunnel is simply
smaller in some people than in others.  However, the risk of
developing carpal tunnel syndrome is especially common in those
performing assembly line work.

Is there any treatment?
Initial treatment generally involves resting the affected hand and
wrist for at least 2 weeks, avoiding activities that may worsen
symptoms, and immobilizing the wrist in a splint to avoid further
damage from twisting or bending.    Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and other nonprescription pain
relievers, may ease pain.   Cool (ice) packs and prednisone (taken by
mouth) or lidocaine (injected directly into the wrist) can relieve
swelling and pressure on the median nerve and provide immediate,
temporary relief.   Stretching and strengthening exercises can be
helpful in people whose symptoms have abated.  If symptoms last for 6
months or more, doctors may recommend surgery to sever the band of
tissue around the wrist and reduce pressure on the median nerve.

What is the prognosis?
Recurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome following treatment is rare. The
majority of patients recover completely.  To prevent workplace-related
carpal tunnel syndrome, workers can do on-the-job conditioning,
perform stretching exercises, take frequent rest breaks, wear splints
to keep wrists straight, and use correct posture and wrist position.
Wearing fingerless gloves can help keep hands warm and flexible.

What research is being done?
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
conducts research on nerve-related conditions such as carpal tunnel
syndrome in its laboratories at the National Institutes of Health
(NIH) and also supports research through grants to major medical
institutions across the country.  Current studies include several
randomized clinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of
educational interventions in reducing the incidence of carpal tunnel
syndrome. Another clinical study is collecting data about carpal
tunnel syndrome among construction apprentices to better understand
specific work factors associated with the disorder and develop
strategies to prevent its occurrence among construction and other
workers.  Scientists are also investigating the use of alternative
therapies, such as acupuncture, to prevent and treat this disorder."

The connection between Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and extensive or lengthy
computer keyboard usage, like you describe, has a hard factual
"Doing the same hand movements over and over can lead to carpal tunnel
syndrome. It's most common in people whose jobs require pinching or
gripping with the wrist held bent. People at risk include people who
use computers, carpenters, grocery checkers, assembly-line workers,
meat packers, violinists and mechanics. Hobbies such as gardening,
needlework, golfing and canoeing can sometimes bring on the symptoms."

More info on what is carpal tunnel syndrome, what leads to carpal
tunnel syndrome, how is carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosed, how serious
is carpal tunnel syndrome, how is carpal tunnel syndrome treated,
medicine &other treatments and how to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome
can be found here:

More related information can be found here:

Tips on relieving pain:
- Prop up your arm with pillows when you lie down. 
- Avoid using your hand too much. 
- Find a new way to use your hand by using a different tool (in case
of keyboard - use an ergonomic keyboard)
- Try to use the other hand more often. In your case the right one. 
- Avoid bending your wrists down for long periods. 

Take a look here for some information & images of ergonomic keyboards
and mice products that help reduce the chance of repetitive stress
injury and carpal tunnel syndrome:

Various multimedia presentations & animations of Carpal Tunnel
Syndrome can be found via these links:

Medical Legal Art

Nucleus Medical Art

Cornell University:

A diagram of the wrist and Median nerve can be found here:

United States national statistics for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 
(you are not alone...):
- Repetitive strain injuries are the nation's most common and costly
occupational health problem, affecting hundreds of
thousands of American workers, and costing more than $20 billion a
year in workers compensation.

- Nearly two-thirds of all occupational illnesses reported, were
caused by exposure to repeated trauma to workers upper body ( the
wrist, elbow or shoulder ). One common example of such an injury is
carpal tunnel syndrome.

- Musculoskeletal disorders, including carpal tunnel syndrome, are
among the most prevalent medical conditions in the U.S., affecting 7%
of the population. They account for 14% of physician visits and 19% of
hospital stays.

- Approximately 260,000 carpal tunnel release operations are performed
each year, with 47% of the cases considered to be work
related.-National Center for Health Statistics.

- Carpal tunnel syndrome results in the highest number of days lost
among all work related injuries. Almost half of the carpal tunnel
cases result in 31 days or more of work loss.

See here for more statistics:

I wish you the best of health. Let me know if I can be of more help.

Search Engine Used: Google.
Search terms used: 
6ra3-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thank you Landoh, well researched.


Subject: Re: Ways to pickup healthy habits to avoid wrist medical risks from keyboard usage?
From: silver777-ga on 14 Aug 2005 08:06 PDT

Treat your keyboard like a piano. Attack the keys vertically, not horizontally.

Problem fixed.

Subject: Re: Ways to pickup healthy habits to avoid wrist medical risks from keyboard usa
From: 6ra3-ga on 16 Aug 2005 06:34 PDT
Thank you Silver! :-)

Subject: Re: Ways to pickup healthy habits to avoid wrist medical risks from keyboard usage?
From: sportsdoc-ga on 20 Sep 2005 21:14 PDT
several things.. doesn't sound like CTS...
CTS is caused by inflammation of tissues in carpal tunnel...
there are many condition that can mimic cts and often doctors have
trouble diagnosing CTS without special studies...

However, if you are afraid of developing CTS in the future...btw,
don't take that piano  key advice..
whether you are going to have over use trauma depends on amplitude of
movement and number of repetition...lower the amplitude, bigger the where flexion extension moves are minimal with keyboards, you
tend to develope over use traumas such as CTS..
now getting back to prevention..couple of can do ROM
exercises and have frequent rest...
But best method is....drum roll please.... speech recognition software...
speak softly and you won't be developing laryngitis anytime soon lol..
good luck..

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