Most people who work at a computer are familiar with the oncoming symptoms of carpal tunnel wrist pain. Very gradual tingling, burning or numbness can begin to show itself in the fingers, palm of hand or wrist and work its way up through the forearm if treatment is denied.
Before going on, I need to tell you that this article was written with a lot of my own personal experiences thrown in. At no time did I consult a doctor (I’m poor). I did the only thing I could do; I began to research the problem leaving a visit to a doctor as the last resort. So if you start to wonder why I’m speaking in the first person, you’ll understand. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s start getting into the details.
There are some who say that there is no solid evidence that this type of wrist pain is in any way related to repetitive motions done at the computer, but those of us who experience this have little doubt. If you ever begin to feel any of the above symptoms, it would be wise to do a little research into the subject that will eventually force you away from your keyboard and computer screen. If you’re smart you will want to find out the ways to relieve the wrist pain before having to seek carpal tunnel treatment through a doctor, or worse yet through surgery. If you don’t believe the pain can get so bad that surgery will be required, then you are sadly mistaken. Just hope that you’ll be able to afford it. Below are a few ways to relieve the pain and hopefully heal any damage without having to do resort to surgical procedures. They worked for me and odds are good that they will at least be able to help you. Be advised that the earlier you start to treat the problem, the better off you will be.
Relieving Carpal Tunnel Wrist Pain
• Resting the wrist from whatever activity that is causing the pain is perhaps the quickest and easiest way to make it go away. If the activity can’t be avoided try taking frequent rests in between work where you massage and stretch your hand muscles. I was actually kind of stupid and forced myself to keep typing away. The result was excruciating pain that prevented me from doing any of my design work. It took a week to get back to the point where I could at least start my research.
• Getting yourself a digital drawing tablet and learning to use the pen instead of the mouse will definitely relieve wrist pain from using just a mouse alone. This is especially useful to anybody working in the graphic design field. Using the pen interface device did help the pain, but didn’t heal it completely. I deduced that holding the pen was a much more natural movement than moving a mouse. Choosing to do this really comes down to if you are working in the graphics business or not as drawing tablets are not cheap, plus I already had one.
• Wearing a carpal tunnel brace for your wrist not only reduces symptoms but can also prevent the causes that lead to that recognizable tingling sensation. You can get wrist braces that are either suitable for computer work or perfect to wear when you go to bed. I never really had to go with this option, but after speaking with several people who have, it’s a good idea and quite affordable.
• Taking or using herbs or essential oils that have anti-inflammatory properties may help to relieve some of the pain. This, in my opinion, is a stop-gap measure at best.
• Wrist supports for use with either your computer mouse or your keyboard can help lend support to prevent carpal tunnel symptoms from appearing at all. From personal experience, it seems that those that use gel or beads are more effective than those that use foam.
• You can try alternating cold and hot compresses to help reduce the swelling and pain that come with carpal tunnel syndrome. The only thing to keep in mind is to stop use of either the hot or cold compresses if your wrist feels worse after using them. Sometimes one helps more than the other.
• And now we come to my holy grail. I actually have a writer here on InfoBarrel for giving me this suggestion to thank. It has actually cured my problem and allowed me to keep working at a computer. The answer, for me at least, was to replace my normal computer mouse with a trackball. This limited the stress on both my wrist and elbow by allowing them to remain stationary while moving the cursor with my thumb. After doing some research, I decided to go with a trackball mouse that had the ball itself on the side and is controlled by the thumb. I felt that those in the middle and controlled by your fingers or palm would still require you to move your lower arm and elbow. I felt the difference immediately and within four months my wrist pain was completely gone and has not returned. I was so happy with the product that I actually wrote a review of the Logitech Wireless Trackball M570.
• After wrist pain subsides it would be a good idea to try to build up strength and stretch the muscles in your forearm to help prevent future problems. You should be able to find a range of exercise ideas from fitness magazines or from the Internet itself. The primary exercise that I did to build up my wrist strength was to go out and buy some Play-Doh. I spent a few minutes each day squeezing it. It’s also a great way to relieve stress and it smells good too.
In closing, I would like to state that I am not a doctor or any kind of expert on carpal tunnel. You’re going to have to make your own decision to try anything I’ve mentioned. All I can tell you is that it worked for me and the reason I wrote this article is that I believe it can help others that are having problems with their wrists due to working at a computer.
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