View Full Version : Hand/Wrists Problem,.related 2 computer use

29-09-2003, 09:06 PM
Hey...i've been using computers since I was 12-13 years old, not only do I love computers, its my way of communication (emails etc)...in the last month or so my wrists have started hurting really bad. Just this last week the pain is getting to me, and I am actually stopping to think about it......
here are my symptoms:
a continuous numb type pain around the inner wrists towards the wrist and up towards the index ("pinky") finger, as though the wrists and feels like part of the hands were just hit very hard with a baseball bat a few times.

And when i sit to watch tv, i try rub my hands abit and i can feel some clicking in the wrists...

No matter how I position my hands when typing or clicking my mouse I feel pain, with each sentence I type, and each click of my mouse, but it goes away after abit of rest but still comes back...

What I need to know is if this is carpotunnel or tendinitis or even RSI, and also, can I live with it? I can deal with the pain if I have to, but if the numbin is going to get to the point where I can't hold things, or the tendions break or something, then I need to know lol, and also some recommendations on what i could do? or should do?

I am asking you guys b4 i do anything, as i'm a student..well going 2 be...and i wanna get this sorted b4 my 3 year computer course starts next year...and also am asking b4 i do nefing coz i dont wanna go to a doctor and find that theres nothing wrong and rest is all thats needed and then pay him $25 to tell me that...

29-09-2003, 10:08 PM
Hi C,

I've managed to develop RSI (oos etc very similar), and it doesn't go away once you've got it. You are better to manage it now before it gets any worse. Going to the doctor won't help either way, whether you have it or not, since he/she can't do anything about it.

Some tips to help:
*Alter your mousing hand - swap between hands (it does get easier)
*It's worth the investment to buy a natural keyboard (just a cheap one will be fine)
*Have a look at your posture, nice str8 back? etc

Have a look at http://www.acc.org.nz/injury-prevention/oos/ for more info.

29-09-2003, 10:21 PM
Hello there...thanks for ur detailed reply...
just one other thing...
2 members of my family, and mums sister have had carpal tunnel thingy....is it something "genetic" like could it be possible i have it?

as my symptoms are actually rsi...carpal symptoms...

and u also said not to go to the doctor as cant do nefing about it...
but on the acc website it says;

What should I do?
If you think you have an OOS condition:

1. Visit your general practitioner (GP)

Ask for a precise diagnosis. You should be told if you have a localised inflammation, a compression syndrome or a pain syndrome.


Heather P
29-09-2003, 10:26 PM
If you continue to pretend you haven't got it - you will have it for life and it WILL get worse! I met one person who ignored it with panadol for 2 years, was on ACC for 6 months and will now work part-time for life. She is in her 30s.

I had it a few years ago in my right wrist, frightened myself horribly, read all I could about it, dealt with it and it's gone.

Techniques I used were:
- Adjusting computer setup according to documented information (right heights, postures etc)
- Mouse pad with wrist support
- Wrist support for keyboard
- Bought and used a wrist brace for a few weeks
- Rested my wrist as much as possible (carried things in other arm, watched TV or read in evening rather than computers)
- Homeopathic medicine (can't remember which one - asked for help at the chemist)
- Learnt and used more keyboard commands rather than relying on the mouse

If the pain hadn't gone in a few weeks the next step would have been doctors and physios.

It did go and I learnt to watch for symptoms and deal with them immediately. Haven't had any recurrences for 4 or 5 years now.

Don't leave the problem to get worse, long term it's not worth it!

29-09-2003, 10:31 PM
Hello Heather...
i cant pretend i dont have it...i dont even know whats wrong....
whats the very first thing i should do?


29-09-2003, 10:42 PM
to avoid mouse related problems ie repeative micro movements, I use a lot of keyboard shortcuts and a vertical mouse (looks like a joy stick made by 3M). Hand wrist should form a straight line from elbow to finger tips when hands are placed on the keyboard, monitor should be at eye level ie head not tilted up or down, feet should sit naturally on the ground, also micro pauses and exercises should help ie every 30 minutes take a break and wiggle those fingers or more often if needed.
If you use a computer as part of your job and you have pain approach your employer and make them aware of this they should be keen to help you ie It would mean less down time if you had to go on sickness leave because of a work related injury.

I would agree and also disagree with nicnz "Going to the doctor won't help either way, whether you have it or not, since he/she can't do anything about it." sure the doctor may not be able to prescribe anything but I would hope that he/she could suggest techniques that would help you manage the problem.

lastly OSH have a lot of information on this maybe pay them a visit

Heather P
29-09-2003, 10:46 PM
Hi Chris,

>i dont wanna go to a doctor and find that theres nothing wrong and rest is all thats needed and then pay him $25 to tell me that...

My suggestion would be to go to the Doctor.

5 years ago I got dumped badly by a wave body boarding and hurt my back. Could barely move for 2 days and the pain gradually lessend over the next week. Right, I think, don't need the doctor on this one - time will cure it. After a month you start to think - well, it's getting better so I won't go. After 6 months you start to feel stupid about going. 2 years later ACC won't cover it. (Incidentally, it finally seems to have come right this year).

In July this year I fell off a motorbike and gashed my elbow badly. We were overseas so it was a case of deal with it with first aid and carry on. 6 weeks ago I thought OK, it's not going to be a repeat of the back - Doctor next week without fail! Monday came, my daughter was in a serious car accident and the elbow had to disappear into the background. Last Friday I finally made it to the Doctor (did I mention it still hurts?) and she sent me for xrays. No I hadn't broken anything but her comment was really relevant. If it carries on causing pain then at least it is documented now so that ACC will cover it in the future.

My earlier suggestions still stand - just don't leave it too late to get a doctor's opinion.

29-09-2003, 11:02 PM
i tried to use the 3m mouse thing, and it was hard to open programs.
how would you play counter-strike?

Greg S
29-09-2003, 11:15 PM
First thing I suggest is straight away make a change to your posture - elbow should be at same level as the mouse, and eyes level with top of the monitor. And definitly go see a doc in case it does become an issue later on.

29-09-2003, 11:20 PM
I'm starting to think along the same lines actually... I don't have a very good setup here in terms of good posture etc, and I'm thinking i need a new desk and chair :-\

I was getting a sore wrist myself up until a few weeks ago, then I discovered a new mouse pad from noel leemings/computer city. It has some big gel support thing for supporting your wrist and is really good. I think the brand is 'Belkin'. So it might pay to check it out - only cost me $20 but could save your arm in the future :) Although now I'm kinda getting a sore arm, (the desk is above me a bit, and my mouse hand is basically at shoulder height). Not good! Any ideas?

Heather P
29-09-2003, 11:41 PM
OK guys, the first thing is to think yourself into starwars. When they're zooming around doing flips in their rocket ships shooting up the aliens - do they have hands waving around their ears reaching for things on high shelves and in strange places? Do you see them tensing their bodies in contorted shapes? The answer is NO.

Design your computer like a rocket ship and you're away. Comfortable chair, shoulders loose, hands below elbows, minimal movements.

My mouse support started as an inch high piece of firm foam and progressed to a gel one from somewhere like Stationary Warehouse. Also have one at work and wrist supports both here and at work.

29-09-2003, 11:43 PM
u mite be developin cysts in ur wrists, they can be removed in two ways, surgery or just by exercisin ur wrists slowly everyday to keep the joints moving.

29-09-2003, 11:48 PM
now ur scarying me...but facts are better than hiding the truth....
i'll take ur recommendation and go to the doctor...and for now i got my wrist bandaged to support it...

30-09-2003, 12:54 AM
Gel wrist rests for both keyboard and mouse makes a world of difference to me now. Almost contemplating carrying them around with me for use at polytech when I'm there.

Also consider getting a Natural keyboard I've used one for a while and think they're rather brilliant to use, only problem is that the later models Microsoft have screwed with the keyboard layout :@

Susan B
30-09-2003, 06:18 AM
Not sure if it has been mentioned yet or not, but you would be doing yourself a great favour by cutting back on the time you spend on your PC, or at least having regular rest breaks.

Those rest breaks should not be spent playing on some other device like a Playstation or x-Box either......

30-09-2003, 10:00 AM
You rally ought to see your GP and get advise. From your symptoms you are not developing CTS (carpal tunnel syndrome). As for OOS and RSI which are one in the same, two eras each trying to define the same problem, it is now not recognised as diagnosis merely a description of a group of physical symptoms and occasionally signs. It's basic origin is in bad positioning of the hands in relation to the work task, in this instance a mouse and keyboard. In particular the wrist is usually cocked upwards (extended), a very unnatural position for the human body for more than a short time. The body much prefers the neutral to flexed position. So, the wrist being extended on the mouse/keyboard for long periods causes spasm in the extensor muscles and the pain, etc. One of the classic indicators for this is that leave the action alone and the pain will go. Persist and you are likely to develop what is called a chronic pain syndrome, caused by centra sensitisation in the pain network. Then you have got a problem. So, frequent rest breaks and simple exercises, much like the athlete would employ to keep their muscles healthy. Why see your doctor - to rule out physical things like CTS and tendonitis, etc. They require different forms of treament.

Crunn (an MD)

30-09-2003, 11:58 AM
after sleeping all night...woke up and its not sore :D
rest must be the cure....
so i guess i gonna have alot of rest coming up
and no i dont have a playstation or xbox to "rest" with....

i'd go to the doctor if i wasnt a poor student..or would acc cover it?

Billy T
30-09-2003, 01:59 PM
>after sleeping all night...woke up and its not sore
>rest must be the cure....>so i guess i gonna have alot of rest coming up
>and no i dont have a playstation or xbox to "rest" with....

>i'd go to the doctor if i wasnt a poor student..or would acc cover it?


You have had a heap of useful advice, but your last post suggests that you are going into denial. One night's rest does not cure RSI, OOS, CTS, or whatever else you want to call it.

Get your priorities right or you will be looking for new career options that don't involve the use of your forearms/wrists/hands.

1) See the doctor urgently. ACC may help with the cost.

2) Stop all unneccessary computer usage, especially games.

3) Follow the very sound postural, keyboard shortcut and mouse alignment advice you have been given.

4) Take regular breaks from your computer during every day.

5) Imagine how you would follow your interests and dreams if you could not use your hands to operate a computer.

6) Return to 1) as many times as necessary until you can take this condition seriously.

When I commenced computing in 1994 I had my keyboard and mouse too high. Within months I had sore wrists and numbness, just as you describe. Apart from taking medical advice, I got my keyboard down to knee-level using a pull out keyboard tray mounted below my desktop. My mouse sits on a tray slightly lower (I actually pull out the second drawer of my desk and place a flat sheet of melteca on it as a surface for my mousepad to sit on).

My hands falls naturally to the keyboard and mouse, and the heel of my mousing hand rests on the "wristpad" not my wrist as that is an invitation to further wrist & tendon problems as your wrist is compressed. Mose acceleration & movement are set high so that I can control the mouse cursor over a full screen with small fingers movement only.

I regularly work 7 days a week from 8:30am to around 10-11pm some nights, but I have never had a problem since. I always stop working if my hands & wrists feel fatigued and I take regular micro-breaks throughout the day.

I won't wish you good luck, I wish you good management.


Billy 8-{)

30-09-2003, 02:26 PM
If you're a student, you are automatically entitled to a Community Services Card.

Student Health (in Auckland) would allow students with student ID and a valid Community Services Card, free healthcare.

I was a poor student once too, you know! ;)


30-09-2003, 03:10 PM
hello guys...
been to the doctor...got a appointment for 3:45pm 2morrow since hes busy today and they not giving me acc but giving me 2 days to pay (it might change after hes talked 2 me 2morrow)...its gonna take longer..and yes thats with a Coms service card...**** happens
but yeah am gonna take this seriously...i know its scary but yeah

and thanks guys for all ur advice :-)

and lohsing..i'm not offically a student yet...i dont do ne courses at the moment, dont start till febuary next year...so yeah...

30-09-2003, 08:22 PM
Don't want to sound like a wet week, but from what you say ACC will not come to the party. If anything this would come under the so-called gradual process injury. ACC no longer recognise OOS, RSI or whatever name you call it. For such a claim to be accepted a physical injury under the terms of the Act must exist, e.g. a carpal tunnel problem, tendonitis, de Quervain's disease, whatever.

It is potentially a nasty problem - once you develop central sensitisation with the formation of a chronic pain syndrome you have got it for life, at least with current techniques, pills, potions, etc.

Good on you for going to the doc.


30-09-2003, 09:37 PM
> i'd go to the doctor if i wasnt a poor student..or
> would acc cover it?

You can't afford to go to the doctor but you can afford to buy an xbox?

Depends on your priorties I spose.

30-09-2003, 09:41 PM
ahh i knew something would come back and bite me on my comments i say...
the xbox wasnt something i was thinking of getting "right now"
its just a idea and still is....

30-09-2003, 10:34 PM
Hi When I hear this I get a "flash-back" to what happened to me and I always do my best to warn people. I had to dbl click (in win98)- delete about 500 times a night for several weeks. Pain started in wrist but travelled up to my shoulder where I put it down to a lifting strain and ignored it. Later the pain was so intense I spent the entire night with arm straight up for 5mins and then horizontal for 5mins all night long, pain was so intense all the chemist pills had no effect. This lasted for 2 days and slowly subsided and with physio neck exercises, which I still do 3 years later, I can still work on my PC although I get a reminder whenever the period extends too long.
I cannot stress enough--use all the shortcuts to avoid over-use of the mouse and to use mouse correctly.
Good Luck

01-10-2003, 10:09 AM
This started to happen to me at work a few years back. Spoke to an ACC person who suggested for a start not to use the legs at the back of the keyboard...ie...have it flat on the desk (saves the wrists bending up). This made a noticable difference and lessened the discomfort. One day by chance I had to use a PC with a natural keyboard and it felt great (my typing was crap but no discomfort). Got one for my own PC and I haven't looked back since. Regarded it as so important that having a natural keyboard was one of the things I demanded when commencing my new job last year.
If you're thinking about making a career using a computer, you need to do whatever it takes to make sure your body doesn't let you down. Spending perhaps a couple of hundred dollars now to guarantee a career sounds like a pretty good deal.

01-10-2003, 11:29 PM
hey guys...
since i went to the doctor this afternoon...and since i got advice from u all..i thought it be good for me to actually tell u what happened etc...
the end result was....i've got a small stress fracture in my wrist and its affecting movement in my "pinky" and the finger next to it....so thats bandaged up and am taking antiflammorities or something like that for it...
and he doesnt know why my other hand is kind of sore as well..but hopes the antis help with that hand too...

but i've gone to my isp and chopped my hours from flatrate to 250 a month, so i've considerably cut down my hours majorly...and am going to take exerciese more often...so yeah..but dont worry guys i'll still be a regular on pressf1 :-)

and many thanks for your advice, suppoort etc

02-10-2003, 08:44 AM
Stress fracture ? You must have had an X-ray. Bummer, hope it heels nicely and you're soon back at full strength.


02-10-2003, 09:00 AM
good morning..
yeah xray whoppeee..i love photos being taken of my bones...

am using my left hand which is perfectly fine and mouse with left hand too...right hand definately outta use...

seriously i dont know how i got a stress fracture...i thought it was "overworking" the bone and muscles not looking after it well...oh well..
at least its not rsi...or carpal tunnel or anything like that :-)

Heather P
02-10-2003, 10:12 AM
Hi Chris,

Sorry to hear about the fracture - good luck with it.

In the meantime - treat the above advice on how to prevent RSI rather than just cure it.