Staying Healthy Tip - How To Keep Your Wrists Pain Free

Early in my programming career (in the 1990s), I started to have pain in my right wrist due to using the computer mouse all day long. Overuse and repetitive motions with your wrist and arm can produce carpal tunnel syndrome which can be very painful and can lead to surgery. If you have never heard of this medical condition, this is the description of it from Wikipedia.
 
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a medical condition due to compression of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist at the carpal tunnel.The main symptoms are pain, numbness, and tingling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and the thumb side of the ring finger.Symptoms typically start gradually and during the night. Pain may extend up the arm. Weak grip strength may occur, and after a long period of time, the muscles at the base of the thumb may waste away.Symptoms may include pain in the wrists or hands, loss of grip strength, and loss of manual dexterity.About 5% of people in the United States have carpal tunnel syndrome.
 
Staying Healthy Tip - How To Keep Your Wrists Pain Free
 
Wikipedia goes on to explain that the types of work that are associated include computer work, work with vibrating tools, and work that requires a strong grip. Due to our computer work, all developers need to be worried about this syndrome during their entire career or until we finally get rid of the use of a computer mouse.
 

How This Has Affected My Health

 
When this syndrome started effecting my wrist and even today, if I’m not careful it can still flare up, especially when I’m using Adobe products on my MacMini when I work on the crazy (different) videos I use in my conference sessions. Sure, I could learn keyboard shortcuts, but Adobe does not have parity with them across their products and since I’m getting older, it’s just harder for me to remember anyway.
 
Due to this, I have dealt with pain sometimes to the point where I really can’t use my right hand at all. Also, sometimes that pain shoots up my arm to my elbow. Part of that pain is from the muscles too! Pain relievers don’t work very well. Lately, I have been using salve that contains CBD and it does help with the pain. The best way for me to get over a flare-up is by going to my chiropractor and lots of ice. This year, I had to wear a wrist guard for many, many weeks to get the pain to subside. Try using your wrist with one of those things!
 

How I Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

 
Back when this started happening back in the late ’90s, I was at a loss on how to overcome it. The best way is to stop using that wrist, but how do you when you must work eight hours or more a day? Well, the answer I came up with, that I still use today, was to learn how to use the mouse with my left hand. So, I set out to do just that. I think the first time it took me about a week to train myself to use my left (nondominant) hand. It was very strange, and I am sure I was a bit slower getting my work done. Now, when I do this, it only takes a minute to get used to it if I haven’t been doing it in awhile and I don’t experience any work loss.
 
Now that I work from home, below is how I have my computer desk setup.
 
Staying Healthy Tip - How To Keep Your Wrists Pain Free
 
My computer desk, which is my dining room table, now holds the two computers I use daily. They are my MacMini and my Microsoft Surface laptop. As you can see, I use my left hand with my laptop and my right with my Mac. This simple setup has helped me keep the pain away,most of the time. Also, I now buy computer mice that will work with both hands!
 

Summary

 
I worked hard to train my left hand because the last thing I ever wanted to do was to have surgery.Surgery can lead to many months off work with lots of rehabilitation. I hope that this article will help you avoid carpal tunnel syndrome too!
 
I have plans to write more articles like this. Please let me know if you would like more by commenting below.