in Personal

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The pain seems to come and go, sometimes it lingers through the night. Massaging the back of the palm and the fingers with pain-relieve ointments helps a bit but it is there. The fear of course is of the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. My fear was aggravated when I discovered that another of my friend was diagnosed with similar symptoms, and his doctor warned him of a very early stage of CTS.

We laugh off at “no typing for 2 months” advise from the doctor; but then things have to be done to counter the same. Well, I have decided to go and buy some of the best ergonomic keyboard, searching yield me to FingerWorks’ TouchStream Keyboards. Here the problem is that the keyboard cost about $339 and the import duty to India will double its cost (that total cost will likely be the typical cost of a Pentium IV Desktop).

Anybody have suggestions for some good keyboards, please comment or let me know through the contact form. Also suggestions and advise about CTS are welcome too.

More about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (in brief)

Courtesy: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The median nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers (although not the little finger), as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move. The carpal tunnel – a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand houses the median nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed.

The result may be pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm. Although painful sensations may indicate other conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common and widely known of the entrapment neuropathies in which the body’s peripheral nerves are compressed or traumatized.

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

Symptoms usually start gradually, with frequent burning, tingling, or itching numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers, especially the thumb and the index and middle fingers. Some carpal tunnel sufferers say their fingers feel useless and swollen, even though little or no swelling is apparent. The symptoms often first appear in one or both hands during the night, since many people sleep with flexed wrists. A person with carpal tunnel syndrome may wake up feeling the need to “shake out” the hand or wrist. As symptoms worsen, people might feel tingling during the day. Decreased grip strength may make it difficult to form a fist, grasp small objects, or perform other manual tasks. In chronic and/or untreated cases, the muscles at the base of the thumb may waste away. Some people are unable to tell between hot and cold by touch.

What are the causes of carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is often the result of a combination of factors that increase pressure on the median nerve and tendons in the carpal tunnel, rather than a problem with the nerve itself. Most likely the disorder is due to a congenital predisposition – the carpal tunnel is simply smaller in some people than in others. Other contributing factors include trauma or injury to the wrist that cause swelling, such as sprain or fracture; overactivity of the pituitary gland; hypothyroidism; rheumatoid arthritis; mechanical problems in the wrist joint; work stress; repeated use of vibrating hand tools; fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause; or the development of a cyst or tumor in the canal. In some cases no cause can be identified.

There is little clinical data to prove whether repetitive and forceful movements of the hand and wrist during work or leisure activities can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Repeated motions performed in the course of normal work or other daily activities can result in repetitive motion disorders such as bursitis and tendonitis. Writer’s cramp – a condition in which a lack of fine motor skill coordination and ache and pressure in the fingers, wrist, or forearm is brought on by repetitive activity – is not a symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome.

How can carpal tunnel syndrome be prevented?

At the workplace, 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. Workstations, tools and tool handles, and tasks can be redesigned to enable the worker’s wrist to maintain a natural position during work. Jobs can be rotated among workers. Employers can develop programs in ergonomics, the process of adapting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of workers. However, research has not conclusively shown that these workplace changes prevent the occurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome.

14 Comments

  1. Man, that's really bad news. I hope it all works out for you.
    I had similar problems. I don't know if I was just lucky, but I've been without symptom for some years. Here's what I did.
    1) Microsoft-style angled keyboards only. If you look at your wrists when you use a regular keyboard, particularly on a laptop, it's no wonder we have problems. I can't believe that any business would risk letting people use a keyboard that so distorts the natural orientation of the wrist. Where are the trial lawyers when you need them?
    2) I changed everything about my desks and chairs so that my arms were always close to level. I also use arm rests.
    Once I made those changes, the weird, creepy feelings in my arms went away rapidly.
    At tempur pedic I've seen chairs that have arm wrests that move around with your arm so that you can go from keyboard to mouse without losing that support.
    Best wishes,
    Chuck Duncan

  2. Man, that's really bad news. I hope it all works out for you.
    I had similar problems. I don't know if I was just lucky, but I've been without symptom for some years. Here's what I did.
    1) Microsoft-style angled keyboards only. If you look at your wrists when you use a regular keyboard, particularly on a laptop, it's no wonder we have problems. I can't believe that any business would risk letting people use a keyboard that so distorts the natural orientation of the wrist. Where are the trial lawyers when you need them?
    2) I changed everything about my desks and chairs so that my arms were always close to level. I also use arm rests.
    Once I made those changes, the weird, creepy feelings in my arms went away rapidly.
    At tempur pedic I've seen chairs that have arm wrests that move around with your arm so that you can go from keyboard to mouse without losing that support.
    Best wishes,
    Chuck Duncan

  3. tips:
    - whatever you do, do not get surgery - it will make it worse
    - make sure your lower arm is parallel with your desk or table - therefore your lower arm is straight. too low, circulation can be cut off on your wrist or arm, too high - your wrist is stressed too much.
    - there is a special technique used by massage therapists that can help with pain in the wrist. they press excruciating hard on a point on your arm. it hurts like a bitch but it works. I even use the technique on myself. look into it.
    - get an ergo keyboard. HUGH DIFFERENCE.

  4. tips:
    - whatever you do, do not get surgery - it will make it worse
    - make sure your lower arm is parallel with your desk or table - therefore your lower arm is straight. too low, circulation can be cut off on your wrist or arm, too high - your wrist is stressed too much.
    - there is a special technique used by massage therapists that can help with pain in the wrist. they press excruciating hard on a point on your arm. it hurts like a bitch but it works. I even use the technique on myself. look into it.
    - get an ergo keyboard. HUGH DIFFERENCE.

  5. oh I am sorry to hear that Brajeshwar. Yeah like the article said, warming up the hand might be a good idea. Btw, I have heard that logitech has nice keyboards.

    hope you can recover pretty soon.

  6. oh I am sorry to hear that Brajeshwar. Yeah like the article said, warming up the hand might be a good idea. Btw, I have heard that logitech has nice keyboards.

    hope you can recover pretty soon.

  7. My sympathy. I know very well not only how uncomfortable the pain can be, but also how disheartening it is for someone who loves to code to be limited in how much they can do that. I can offer a small peice of advice that helped me - get back into a martial art like akido that is about joint manipulation, etc. They have stretches for arms and wrists that you use to warm up for taking abuse :P that also helped me tremendously with that pain. Within the first week of doing the stretches about 3x per day, the pain went away. Whenever the pain arises again, I just start my stretching routine again and within a few days I'm good to go.

    Good luck :D

  8. My sympathy. I know very well not only how uncomfortable the pain can be, but also how disheartening it is for someone who loves to code to be limited in how much they can do that. I can offer a small peice of advice that helped me - get back into a martial art like akido that is about joint manipulation, etc. They have stretches for arms and wrists that you use to warm up for taking abuse :P that also helped me tremendously with that pain. Within the first week of doing the stretches about 3x per day, the pain went away. Whenever the pain arises again, I just start my stretching routine again and within a few days I'm good to go.

    Good luck :D

  9. Muscles are a huge part of the carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury problem, and they are the piece that is usually overlooked. The median nerve begins in your neck, goes across your chest and down your arm into your hand. It has been proven by scientific research that impingement on a nerve ANYWHERE along its pathway will cause numbness at the end point (called "the gate theory"). There are many muscles that cross the median nerve as it travels to your hand. Carpal tunnel release surgery only deals with 5% of that pathway, while muscles comprise 95%.

    It has been proven over and over that releasing the tension in your muscles that cross over the median nerve will eliminate the pain and numbness in your wrist, hand, and fingers. You can learn about each of these muscles at "aboutcts (aboutcts)":http://www.aboutcts.com/. Go to the section called "Anatomy Lessons."

    Wishing you well,
    Julie

  10. Muscles are a huge part of the carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury problem, and they are the piece that is usually overlooked. The median nerve begins in your neck, goes across your chest and down your arm into your hand. It has been proven by scientific research that impingement on a nerve ANYWHERE along its pathway will cause numbness at the end point (called "the gate theory"). There are many muscles that cross the median nerve as it travels to your hand. Carpal tunnel release surgery only deals with 5% of that pathway, while muscles comprise 95%.

    It has been proven over and over that releasing the tension in your muscles that cross over the median nerve will eliminate the pain and numbness in your wrist, hand, and fingers. You can learn about each of these muscles at "aboutcts (aboutcts)":http://www.aboutcts.com/. Go to the section called "Anatomy Lessons."

    Wishing you well,
    Julie

  11. I would like to suggest a couple of web sites to check into: http://www.midwestcitytherapy.com or kronostek.com. These web sites are introducing a new co-dynamic orthosis, the CGO II, to relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome while doing the activities that caused the syptoms in the first place. We have had a 92% success rate with the CGO II in relieving and preventing the syptoms of carpal tunnel. If you would like more info you can contact me at [email protected]
    I do hope that whatever road you take will bring you relief. Take care and Good luck!
    Cathy

  12. I would like to suggest a couple of web sites to check into: http://www.midwestcitytherapy.com or kronostek.com. These web sites are introducing a new co-dynamic orthosis, the CGO II, to relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome while doing the activities that caused the syptoms in the first place. We have had a 92% success rate with the CGO II in relieving and preventing the syptoms of carpal tunnel. If you would like more info you can contact me at [email protected]
    I do hope that whatever road you take will bring you relief. Take care and Good luck!
    Cathy

Comments are closed.