A few weeks ago, I noticed that the backs of my hands at the base of my thumbs felt numb. Somehow, that resulted in a sinking feeling in my gut as well. Yes, I know I sit at the computer too much. I know I type a lot. I know I don’t get near enough exercise either. Why is it that we so often think we are immune to the problems that our lifestyles make us prone to?
Even though my wrists and arms are not always sore, they sometimes are, and I had been ignoring it. Suddenly I became very aware that I had to make some changes, and I had to make them immediately.
1. I’m learning how to dictate. Believe it or not, I am not a natural dictator!(This may come as a surprise to some people in my family!) In fact, I am dictating this blog post. And yes, I’ve had to stop a few times to correct typo. Or do I now call it a dictato??? Dictating fiction will require a couple of mind set shifts. One of them is to actually think before I speak. (No comments from the peanut gallery, please!) I know that 15 years ago I had to learn how to think with my hands on the keyboard instead of a pen and paper. This will likely be a similar transition, but more on that in an upcoming post.
2. I bought a set of wrist braces which I’m wearing part-time. I quickly discovered that only my left thumb ever hits the spacebar. I had no idea! Wearing the wrist braces while typing definitely slows me down, but I am trying to get used to them when putting in long blocks of time at the computer.
3. I’m learning to do stretches specific to the muscles and nerves that have been being injured. I’m putting three videos into this post for my personal reference. But you may find them helpful as well. This first one shows a couple of stretches and also pressure points for self acupuncture. If you choose to do this, note that he goes through all the steps two times. I hit pause on the video after the exercise is described and then hold for 30 seconds. Watch the next demonstration pause and hold for 30 seconds. Then, on his second time through, I do the same thing for my other hand. Hope this helps you as much as it seems to be helping me!
This is a quick video with just a couple of exercises that I am learning to do. He recommends 15 to 20 reps of each one with both hands.
Lastly, there are a couple of exercises in this third video that I have been doing as well. Hopefully between these various regimens, I will be able to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from taking over my life!
4. I’m changing position more. I don’t have a swing-arm computer for nothing! (Click for photos of my workstation). I can make this a standing desk in about 20 seconds, or I can stand at the kitchen counter with my laptop, or I can walk and dictate. There’s no excuse for me to sit as much as I do.
5. I’m also analyzing diet and supplements. I can’t tell you yet whether these will make a difference or not, and even after a while, I probably won’t know which is most effective. But some of the supplements I am looking ar are bromelain, magnesium, vitamin B complex, and fish oil.
So that’s my plan for combating carpal tunnel syndrome. Any additional words of advice for me?