The humble keyboard, more than any other piece of computer equipment, is responsible for carpal tunnel and other repetitive stress injuries (RSIs). However, RSIs may have a multitude of other causes that can work together to exacerbate the condition including work stress, feelings of isolation, poor posture and the workspace environment. For example, some companies actually have their computers set-up to count typists’ keystrokes, placing unhealthy and often unbearable pressures on workers to perform according to inflexible productivity quotas even when they are injured or in need of a break.The most well know manifestation of RSI is carpal tunnel syndrome. The “carpal tunnel” is literally a tunnel formed by eight small bones of the wrist and lined with a tough, fibrous layer. Through this passage go the tendons of the finger flexor muscles and the median nerve which supplies sensation to the fingers.Carpal tunnel syndrome results when the wrist is bent at an angle for many hours many times a day or if the tendons are engaged in fast, repetitive movement of the hand and fingers, causing pressure to build in the tunnel. This leads to swelling of the tendons’ protective synovial sheaths and increases in fluid pressure within the carpal tunnel, placing pressure directly on the median nerve. Early symptoms include a tingling sensation in the index finger, pain in the hands or wrists, tingling fingers, muscle fatigue, loss of dexterity or gripping strength or difficulty performing normal hand tasks.If left untreated, these can worsen. Indeed, such pressure can cause the collapse of the small blood vessels, reducing the blood supply to the supporting cells of the nerve fibers, impairing conductivity of nerve impulses. For some, they will suffer from lifetime impaired hand function.
Other areas of the body that are vulnerable to RSIs include the muscles of the neck and shoulders. Symptoms include stiffness on the side of the neck (the sternomastoid), difficulty moving the neck, and aching in the shoulders. These may be caused by long hours spent at computers without proper breaks or enough exercise, as well as by work-related stress.
NUTRITION AND EXERCISE
Most patients with carpal tunnel syndrome are deficient in vitamin B-6. Take a pyridoxine supplement, providing up to 100 mg daily. Avoid foods with artificial yellow food dyes, which interfere with the body’s absorption of vitamin B-6.
Myo-Tone™ is excellent and has helped thousands of people. It is designed to help the joint and connective matrix stabilize by providing nutrients necessary to the body to build strong connective tissue (collagen), an important factor in healing carpal tunnel. It combines vitamin D from fish liver oil with vitamin E from wheat germ oil, calcium bone meal, manganese, vitamin C from rose hips, magnesium chelate, vitamin B-6 and additional B vitamins with choline bitartrate, muscle glandular, inositol, betaine HCL, ammonium chloride and RNA powder.
Consider a supplement containing bromelain and turmeric for their inflammation fighting abilities.
Acupuncture may be extremely beneficial. It may work even when surgery hasn’t. Stretching could also help you to avoid surgery. One simple wrist extension exercise involves holding out your arms, bringing the fingers and palm toward the ceiling, stretching the ligaments and connective tissue. However, stretching 30 minutes every day in a series of whole body movements is highly recommended.
10 WAYS TO PREVENT AND HEAL COMPUTER-RELATED CARPAL TUNNEL
- 1. Always place feet flat on the floor; use adjustable chairs as no set of dimensions fits everyone.
- 2. Avoid bending your wrists; angle your arms 90 degrees before extending them to the keyboard. This may require adjusting your seating or the level of the keyboard. Use wrist supports or rests to help hold the wrists in a more natural position.
- 3. Take a break from typing every 30 minutes.
- 4. Don’t use laptops as your main desktop machine—they’re not designed for prolonged use and can exacerbate RSI problems.
- 5. Position the screen 18 to 28 inches away from the eyes, at an angle of around 15 degrees; also angle away from direct light sources to minimize glare.
- 6. Be sure to use correct ambient lighting, avoiding extreme lighting contrasts between the computer monitor and papers or other materials.
- 7. Force yourself to blink regularly. Use artificial tear products.
- 8. Perform eye exercises throughout the day when working for extended periods at a computer. One excellent exercise is to visually trace an infinity pattern (in the shape of a horizontal figure eight) first in one direction and then the other. Or trace diagonals with your eyes several times by looking and moving, for example from the upper left area to the lower right.
- 9. Learn to see naturally when walking; let your eyes relax, moving up and down and from side to side, using your peripheral vision, and lingering on pleasant shapes and colors. Give your eyes a holiday from the fixed stare of computer work.
- 10. Use a computer shield that reduces glare and EMF emissions.
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