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  1. #1
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    Carpal Tunnel, RSI's... who's got 'em, how are you coping?

    I came across some bad news yesterday during a massage session - while my therapist was mobilizing my right wrist and forearm, I felt a sudden shooting pain from the inside of my elbow to my wrist. I've felt this a little before when he's worked there but never this intensely. He probed around and although he's no doctor, was very concerned because he could feel a lot of superficial inflammation, meaning, the stuff underneath was likely really messed up.

    He thinks it's some form or another of RSI and that I need to rest it as much as I can. This is tough, I can't not use my right arm! I do surf the web with my tablet which isn't the greatest motion to be making on a tablet, so from here on in it's left-handed mousing for me but obviously I need to make more changes to the way I work.

    I am at least scheduling a doctor's visit for next week. I will share any tips he or she tells me, but can anyone here recommend treatments, exercises or even point me to ergonomic resources that you have found helpful for this? I don't want to keep wearing away on my livelihood


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  3. #2
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    hiya steph,

    It kind of depends on where the RSI is at. In my limited experience, (important note: I haven't had mine looked at) if i minimize the amount that i use said joint (carpal joint of thumb-wrist in my case) when typing it seems to lessen the load considerably. i can do the same task with my left thumb (spacebar slamming) and i have a hand elevation cushion that has taken off additional stress to the wrists. keeping graphics tablet at 10-15* angle seems to also help out a bit.

    These are small things but have made a significant impact in terms of being able to draw after working at a computer terminal for many hours on end. thankfully, my left opposable thumb has not fallen off from repetitive slamming abuse. sorry to hear about this ... i know it's a scary feeling! keep us posted on what happens!

    guggen

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  5. #3
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    I just man up. It hurts to be outside as the cold really annoys my CTS, but I make the most of it. A wrist brace will alleviate a lot of the jerky motions we (i.e. everyone but me) use. I have one but left it at home, so now I'm in the market for another.

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    Hya Steph,
    sorry to hear that
    I have some problems with pain, I even started a thread back a couple of months or so about it. I wear a hand brace on my drawing hand and sometimes a forearm strap. It helps with the pain a lot. I dont take meds as of right now, but only cause Im taking so much other crap, Im afraid I will OD on something.
    If you do ask your doctor for meds, you will probably get some Naproxin, an anti-inflammatory medication. Which gives you heartburn amongst some other side effects, which in turn you need to take some other meds to relieve that discomfort. I played that game for a bit, but now Im so sick of it, Im just using the hand/wrist support brace. Got mine at Walmart for 5 bucks.

    -hope you feel betta!
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    I've been a heavy computer user for 15 years at least, and there's no question this did my hands in. The keyboard+mouse combination is a killer. About seven years ago I started using wrist braces on both hands whenever I'm at the computer, and that definitely helped. Also I try to avoid mice and use a Wacom as a mouse replacement.

    These measures mitigate the problem, but it's still there. I may have to have some kind of surgery eventually.

    This problem, along with eye strain from long hours of monitor-usage and shifting personal interests, caused me to switch focus from the tech side of games and animation, to the art side. I generally don't need the braces when I'm drawing, not yet anyway.

    I use Futuro braces. Just be sure to wash them now and then! Hand sweat, you know...

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    *Raises claw*

    I wear a wrist brace whenever I'm using the computer and I try to use the tablet more than the mouse. The mouse is what gets me. Last night I was playing Super Mario Galaxy (yeah!) and my wrist got sore after an hour (aww...) so I think I'm going to have to start wearing one when I play the Wii too.


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    http://www.powerball-gyros.com/ - get this! It helps A LOT! It will strengthen your wrist and fingers and the whole arm, it is recommended as a rehab tool and one to help with CTS and RSI.

    I have one! It s fun, and you can feel your wrist work and get stronger, Hurricane, because he draws a lot a lot a lot, gets pain in his wrist, but a combo of an elastic wrist wrap and the ball he has no probs when using his hand. So we both use it, hehehe

    SO dooo eeeeet!
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    Unhappy

    I had some major problems with my wrist/hand back in 2005, I was only 23 then. Found out I had bi-lateral carpel tunnel in two points in both wrists. It caused pain, tingling, numbness up to my elbow. I had to have surgery on my left wrist (oddly b/c I am right handed, but it was worse then my right).

    Most carpel tunnel surgery's are fairly minor and easy to take care of...mine was worse..much worse, I was out of work for 6 weeks, had to have extensive physical therapy and I am now the proud owner of a 4 and 1/2 inch scar in a bolt shape from the middle of my hand down the side of my wrist.

    It's not completely fixed as I still have some hypersensitivity, numbness/tingling/pain along my left wrist (by the pinky) , I wear a wrist splint and sometimes a thumb splint on both hands. It's tough. I got the surgery done the week before my last year at art school. I still went to classes, it was hard as hell.

    But anyway, get yourself a splint...it helps a lot.

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    hm
    I have arthritis in my hands fingers and wrists. I have since I was in my early 20s. its gonna get nothing but worse. I either play the piano or knit 20 minutes every mornign just to keep them limber. cold weather is worse. I take ibuprofen or naprsyn most mornings luckily I have an iron stomach and haven't had any trouble with that, I use a sweat sock stuffed with rice under my wrists. on particularly bad days I microwave it so its warm.
    you learn to live with it.
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    Sorry to hear about the pain you guys are dealing with.

    I don't know if the following helps but I had a short bout with something like carpal tunnel, pain in the wrist and numb pinky from long term mouse use, at the same time as a bunch of other crap.

    I increased the amount of exercise I was getting (I now exercise every day and lift weights twice a week if I can manage) and went on what is called the "anti-inflammatory diet", which is, essentially, no sugar, limited refined carbos (no white bread, eat pasta, white rice and white potatoes only rarely) and low GI foods in general. Yes to nuts and fruits and veggies, reduce red meat consumption, yes to omega 3s any way you can get them. Also, paid attention to the shoulder and how it can affect the hand, because a tight neck and shoulder area can cut off circulation and nerves to the arm (similar to when your arm falls asleep at night because you slept on it wrong, for instance)... and thus cut off the nutrients required to repair damage.

    I also played around with various neutraceuticals, as they're called, chondroiton-glucosamine and MSM, but now I just take an Alpha Lipoic Acid-Acetyl-L-Carnitine mix and some Omega 3 fish oil supps. There's very good science behind both.

    Also good science behind the recent recommendations of cherries and blueberries and green tea, and of course lots of water, good posture. Keep your neck and shoulders loose... rub your back against a wall, with a tennis ball in between you and the wall. If there is a local massage school, they might offer specials for massages at only 20 bucks, which I highly recommend, even though you'll be getting trainees.

    Have a timer set for stretch moments.

    If I sound like a health nut, I am. But I have been freed not just from the wrist problem, but also a creaky knee and a blown shoulder, a strained neck and some TMJ exactly this way. Also, this regimen does wonders if you have any anxiety issues.

    Good luck to you all
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  17. #11
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    I developed carpal two days after hand-sewing the trim on 40 wall hangings. Classic version--my thumb and first finger and the palm "pad" between them went dead...totally. My doctor and I ruled out surgery as too risky, so I wore a cheap metal/cloth wrist brace for about 3 months all the time when i worked on anything, and took 2-300mg of B6 to control the inflammation and 1000mg of Tylenol Extra Strength for the pain. Worked like a charm. One of the 17 pills i now take daily is a 100mg tab of B6, which has prevented a reoccurance. It prevents nflammation and doesn't have any bad side effects.

    I still wear the brace from time to time when I know I have to do a lot of repetitive work. BTW, I use a trackball (huge Kennsington Turbo) for everything on the comp, and have a pile of bean bags and shit like that that I use to form a platform for my wrist and lower arm when I work. No problems now for two years.
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    used a Powerball for 3 months made my wrist pain disappear. It broke over a year ago, yet i still have no pain in my wrists. Tho it has lifetime warranty since they seem to break if you drop them..

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    Quote Originally Posted by fooxoo View Post
    http://www.powerball-gyros.com/ - get this! It helps A LOT! It will strengthen your wrist and fingers and the whole arm, it is recommended as a rehab tool and one to help with CTS and RSI.

    I have one! It s fun, and you can feel your wrist work and get stronger, Hurricane, because he draws a lot a lot a lot, gets pain in his wrist, but a combo of an elastic wrist wrap and the ball he has no probs when using his hand. So we both use it, hehehe

    SO dooo eeeeet!
    Hey, I used to have one of those. Got it as a stocking stuffer or something. I just thought it was a toy, I didn't ever think to use it as an exercise. Hmmm, I wonder if I might still have it somewhere.



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    Steph, don't just see a doctor. I'd recommend having an ergonomic specialist come evaluate you as you work on the computer or drawing table. Guaranteed you will have to change at least a few bad habits.

    Kev, I think you were talking about "ulnar nerve entrapment". It's basically the same as CTS but with impingement at the ulnar nerve or "funny bone" nerve. The pinky and ring finger go numb or tingly. Something else to watch out for.
    Last edited by Silvertone; November 15th, 2007 at 01:09 PM.
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  22. #15
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    I'm told that yoga and some particular stretches and strengthening exercises can un-carpal your tunnels, though I've never had it so it's second hand info. Apparently seeing a physical therapist is a good way to learn more.
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    Really get into the habit of regularly doing regular stretches.

    I gamed on the PC a lot back in the day and quickly developed a severe pain in my right wrist. I didn't even see a doctor, instead I started regularly doing quick stretches of the hand, wrist and arm. Soon enough the pain was gone, and has never come back.
    After that I developed the habit of just stretching whenever my hands are idle.

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  25. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by HunterKiller_ View Post
    Really get into the habit of regularly doing regular stretches.

    I gamed on the PC a lot back in the day and quickly developed a severe pain in my right wrist. I didn't even see a doctor, instead I started regularly doing quick stretches of the hand, wrist and arm. Soon enough the pain was gone, and has never come back.
    After that I developed the habit of just stretching whenever my hands are idle.
    Just the same with me and my scoliosis of the back. If I just put down my pencil and lift up the wieghts. I wouldn't be so god damn miserable. A 19 yr old shouldn't have back problems. ( ah my back)

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    Quote Originally Posted by fooxoo View Post
    http://www.powerball-gyros.com/ - get this! It helps A LOT! It will strengthen your wrist and fingers and the whole arm, it is recommended as a rehab tool and one to help with CTS and RSI.

    I have one! It s fun, and you can feel your wrist work and get stronger, Hurricane, because he draws a lot a lot a lot, gets pain in his wrist, but a combo of an elastic wrist wrap and the ball he has no probs when using his hand. So we both use it, hehehe

    SO dooo eeeeet!
    I also used one of these when I had some RSI coming up last april because of excessive WoW playing. That and a long extended rest really helped I think
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    Yeah I've had tendonitis in my right arm for about 3 years now, wierd thing is it really hurts when I get a hangover, wierd.

    Anyway I think that if I stopped doing my hands for a couple of months I would heal, hard habit to stop using your hands...

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    Evil Sloth... having a hangover will dehydrate you big time, which would certainly annoying damaged soft tissue. I would strongly advise drinking a lot more water, especially when boozing. Booze is also comprised of the bad kind of carbohydrates.. the kind that causes inflammation. You might also cut back on salt and sugar and white bread just to test whether it will have an effect on your arm. And of course exercise to get the blood flow going.

    best,
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    http://www.do-san.nl/s_202.jpg
    Carpal Tunnel, RSI's... who's got 'em, how are you coping?

    This any good against carpal tunnel?

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    You should want to start to make your arms stronger. The powerball gyro thingy that fooxoo recommended is top notch, it give a nice forearm workout. I started developing carpal tunnel pain a few years ago, but then I just hit the gym and the pains just dissappeared. Even not so consistent training (like 3 times a week, less than an hour), will help immensely. For the record, I'm at the computer for at least 8 hours each day (for about like 6 years now).
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    Hey Steph. I had this pretty bad as well for a long time. I went out and bought a good chair with arms on it that I could raise to the same height as my tablet. Once I had given my wrist some rest and started using the better set up at the computer I have been fine. I also limit the amount of time I use a mouse. I try to use the pen for everything.

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    I've had similar problems and it was bad enough to go to the doctor. He checked me over and came to the conclusion nothing was too inflamed but suggested surgery was a last result as it could cause lasting problems that you'd never recover from.

    However, I had a pretty old mattress, I was waking with numb arms and paralyzed pinkies on a regular basis. Since I've got a new bed the sleeping issues have disappeared and I no longer have the RSI issues.

    Considering we spend a reasonably large proportion of our life asleep your posture and comfort while doing it is highly important. Part of the solution could be there, just an idea.

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    Hyskoa, that might help a bit as a preventitive, but you really need something with a metal brace in it that locks your wrist and hand together. The thing I use is a kind of funny glove with only a thumb hole that velcros across the palm and around my lower arm. There's a pocket thing on the underside that has a heavy-weight metal bar that's bent at an angle.

    Carpal is caused by repetitive motion that grinds your nerve bundle against the "hole" that it goes through in the wrist. This gets all inflamed and swells up, cutting off the nerves. The only way to cure it is NO MOTION. As for surgery, last time I checked, it's only about 80% successful, and the times it wasn't, the condition was a lot worse afterward. Very dangerous option for an artist.
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    Omigosh, so many replies and tips, thank you guys! I think I can rule out Carpal actually since the pain is originating from the inside of my elbow to about 3/4 down my arm. I do wake up with numb hands sometimes but I am told that pinched nerves in the neck can cause this to happen when the hands are inactive for a long time. It will sadly be a few weeks before a doctor can see me, so I will be looking into those exercise balls and seeing if there are any affordable ergonomic specialists who can help me to adjust my work zone at home.

    Thank you all again and I am sorry to hear that some of you have really struggled with carpal as much as you have. I haven't reached the point of surgery thankfully but I don't want things to keep escalating!

    Quote Originally Posted by Micaiah Nelson View Post
    Just the same with me and my scoliosis of the back. If I just put down my pencil and lift up the wieghts. I wouldn't be so god damn miserable. A 19 yr old shouldn't have back problems. ( ah my back)
    You've got scoliosis too? Mine is not as bad as it used to be but all of the slouching I do isn't helping the cause one bit :/

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    Can someone describe the desease, what happens at the joint, and what that means to the joint's owner?

    Im very interested in deseases, disorders, and other similar things, however i never got to know what carpal tunnel is.

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    Basically, there are tiny spaces in your wrist where the nerves all crowd through to your fingers and stuff. One of these is really critical, because it carries the nerves to your thumb and first finger, which are what you use for most of the work you do. When you go through a concentrated period of work, especially if your hand is in an awkward position, these little boney tissue-lined spaces irritate the nerves through excessive rubbing, and they do what anything that's irritated does--it gets pissed and swells up. This cuts off the feeling to parts of your hand that you really really don't want to have "lifeless." It's like trying to eat with a jaw full of novacain--you end up chewing your nose to ribbons. And it hurts like hell with some people, especially when they leave their hand at rest for a while, then try to lify themselves out of the beanbag couch.
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    I do a lot yoga and limbs exercise, also strength training , strength training is really necessary for people with sedantary jobs like us artists. I am in a hurry right now so I will put in a longer detailed reply later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steph Laberis View Post
    !You've got scoliosis too? Mine is not as bad as it used to be but all of the slouching I do isn't helping the cause one bit :/
    Im glad to here you can make it better. My weights set is calling my name but. I wanna draw. And carpal tunnel sounds scary. Why is it the tallented are always curse.

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