How To Eliminate The Pain of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Mouse Hand Warmer, Cold Mouse Hand
Choosing a career as an accountant has spared me from most work related health problems. Atop my padded chair in a climate-controlled office, only an occasional paper cut or being punctured by a mechanical pencil stand as potential physical dangers. However, I have become painfully aware of several physical ailments that have affected me directly because of the way that I work. These ailments are known as “heel spurs” and “carpal tunnel syndrome.” Fortunately, simply changing some habits and doing certain exercises have allowed me to overcome both of these ailments. This article deals with carpal tunnel syndrome, which is an ailment that is common to accountants and others we work with. After a long day banging on a keyboard or calculator, the wrists and hands of many of us are literally throbbing. One of the worst cases I have seen was that experienced by a business owner client. He had actually gone so far as to have corrective surgery on one wrist and was ready to have it done on the other also. Even after the surgery, the pain seemed to be coming back. At this point, an acquaintance told him how to prevent the problem. The solution was to keep his wrist straight and the hands pointing downward whenever he typed. Once he followed this advice, his pain went away and with it, the need for more surgeries. This seemed a little too easy. Sure, we have all seen workers wearing wrist splints, etc. I had one secretary who wore one and yet was still in pain and ready to file a workers comp claim. The splint was not doing much good since she was not using it consistently and did not understand the theory behind it. However, if you train yourself to not wiggle your fingers unless your wrist is straight or your hands are pointed downward, you will eliminate the problem. When I first got into accounting, I did not have a keyboard in my office other than a calculator. Now, of course, there is a keyboard and mouse on every desk. Along with the new computers have come the complaints of sore wrists and hands. Personally, I felt only limited pain since I had not yet become computer dependent. Once I heard the story from my client, I set out to test the theory, beginning with those suffering the most. I watched how they worked and immediately saw that they were bending back their hands as they were typing. By changing the work station, angling the keyboard or utilizing little wrist rests, the kink in the wrist was eliminated and with it the pain. One associate, however, kept complaining about his right wrist. Betraying how long ago this was, I need to explain that he was also the one who had migrated to using the Windows software ahead of the rest of us. As a result, he was a constant mouse clicker. By developing a makeshift wrist rest for his mouse hand, we were able to eliminate the source of this pain also. Nowadays, everyone in my office uses a large marble type mouse so that they have their wrists above instead of behind the device. Interestingly, ergonomic desks and chairs are useless if the issue is not clearly understood and these tools are not used to address the underlying problem. For example, I keep my keyboard on top of my full sized desk, causing me to reach up and over the keyboard and eliminating the problem. Actually, when the wrist is straight, people can generally pound a keyboard forty hours a week and not experience pain. Of course, all of this makes perfect sense. Piano teachers have always demanded that their students practice and play with straight wrists. Bending the wrist back even a little and then furiously wiggling our fingers is unnatural and causes pressure on the Median Nerve. Keeping this up for an extended length of time will result in excruciating pain. So there you have it- a commonsense solution to a physical ailment that is common to office workers such as me. Of course, if this approach does not work, you will need to see a doctor. However, a mystery and frustration for me is that doctors seem eager to treat pain without educating patients as to how to prevent its cause in the first place.