Monday, June 23, 2008

Carpal Tunnel Strategies

A while back a few of you asked what hints/suggestions I'd received to help me deal with the CTS during deadline. Here's what I found helpful.

Please note: I still haven't seen a doctor so I have no idea whether these are actually sound practices or not, but they helped me get through a grueling two weeks at the keyboard.

1. Ergo Keyboard - this was the item that improved my hands the most. A climber on a forum I belong to gave me this link. Hubby had it sent next day delivery and it wasn't quite immediate relief, but close enough. A couple other climbers recommended other keyboards but they were too expensive not knowing whether it would work or not.

2. Hand exercises - the same climber who gave me the link to the keyboard also said I should warm up for 5 minutes before long spells of typing using these. They really helped from the get go and have become part of my routine now.

3. Wrist braces - I wear them when I sleep and at the height of the pain was wearing them two hours on, one hour off. I have yet to get back to work on a new book but will use them as I type for part of the time until my hands have healed.

4. Redoing work area - I was writing in bed on my iBook or on the couch or wherever I could find quiet. Hubby set me up on a table with a chair at the correct height. This was the first thing we did and like the keyboard helped right away.

5. Limiting keyboard time - this was the hardest. I stopped blogging and doing whatever wasn't related to the book. Thanks to blogger scheduling, I had most of my Wedding Planner posts at least drafted so just had to finish those up. I'm still trying to limit my time since I still have lingering symptoms.

6. Massaging arms and hands - a writer had told me to look for any sore spots and rub them hard. I tried that, but then went a step further thanks to my oldest who decided to open her own "spa" called the Lava Sun Spa. She would come to me with her bucket of spa equipment and rub my arms and hands with lotion.

7. Limiting activities - I took a break from climbing. I didn't think I could safely belay a partner. Now I feel I can. Amy had asked how this was affecting my working out. I also cut back crossfit to twice a week and we only used PVC pipes, little to no weight. Funny, but these non-weight workouts really kicked my butt. I also had to drop out of boot camp which is starting tonight. My hands couldn't take it five nights in a row.

On Friday: 2 400m runs, 1 burpee to plank position (no push-up), 5 lunges down Martin Luther King Blvd during rush hour traffic and the broad jumps all the way back.

On Last Wednesday: 800m run with squats and good mornings, practice all lifts with pvc pipe. WOD: 3 rounds - run/sprint, 15 - 10# medicine ball wall toss

I can't remember my other workouts which is why I post them here so I can keep a record. Oh well!

If the symptoms don't go away completely, I will see a doctor. But so far, self-care has worked pretty well. And spending the weekend away at camp with no keyboards in sight was a big help. Plus I got tons of sleep and even managed to read most of a book I've been dying to read, Garden Spells. Only 80 more pages to go. I'm planning to finish it tonight!

How was your weekend?


Nathalie said...

These are the general advice.

Usually it is a self-limited episode that tends to go away by itself and the best thing to do is symptom relief. Night Orthesis (braces) can be a good thing but can prove a bit uncomfortable.

However, if someone has an episode of carpal tunnels during a period of serious hand stress (like your typing), then recurrence is high and can happen even with slighter stress.

In the future, they will probably become bothersome even during resting periods and people tend to have hand surgery to remove some carpal ligaments which are responsible for the carpal nerve compression.

My week-end... the routine: studying and indulging in a good book!

Tori Lennox said...

Those are great tips!

Brandy said...

Thanks for the tips. Glad to hear they worked for you. I hope you get to finish Garden Spells! *G*

Dru said...

Those are great tips. I do a form of the hand exercise in that link.

I found that my wrist doesn't bother me as much when I use the laptop than when I was using the desktop.

How are the hands now?

limecello said...

Glad those tips worked for you, Melissa- go see a doctor! And hopefully you won't go through that again.
My weekend was nice - I stayed home - there were all sorts of severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings, so I thought that was best :P. And I watched a lot of the Olympic trials. Sadly my friend who was competing didn't auto qualify- so I hope he makes it at the training camp!

Marianne Arkins said...

I think the keyboard thing is the biggest for me... I have tendonitis in my left wrist, and if I don't work on a keyboard tilted just right, I ache.

I'm glad you're feeling better!

windycindy said...

I had carpel tunnel in both hands. I had surgeries two weeks apart and you can't even see a scar! Cindi

michellewillingham said...

I'm having trouble with CPS now. I have braces that I wear while typing, but I'll have to be careful.

Melissa said...

Dru - My hands are still a little sore, but it comes and goes. I tried sleeping without the braces, but woke up numb. I'm just taking it easy with them.

catslady said...

Whatever you're doing seems to be helping - hope it keeps improving.

My daughter's fiancee came into town and we had a block party to go to and now I'm sick :( Nothing horrible, just a 48 hr. thing I think.

Amy Addison said...

Please keep an eye on those hands so they don't start to hurt all the time.

I think the ergonomics is the best thing you can do when you're at the keyboard....not just the broken keyboard, wrist pad and such, but a proper chair, good posture, keyboard at right height, etc. I have a lot of problems with neck strain when my posture goes kablooey, so I'm hyper-aware of that. And when my neck hurts, the rotation in my shoulders changes and it dominoes from there...

Lily said...

I think it is prudent to see a doctor if the pain is persistent!