Wednesday, August 10, 2005


For the first week in my memory, I have put a name to my intermittent sore wrists, forearms, edge of the hands, numbness and shooting pains: Repetitive Stress Injury.

I had a minor freak-out today and went to Staples and Wal*Mart for lunch to look at ergonomic things. I was surprised to find a lack of wrist braces or gloves; instead I found lots of gelly mouse pads and keyboard wrist rests, and stress relief bean bags to squeeze for 90 seconds per day. At the time of the freak-out, when it hurt my hands to even spin my wheel (or maybe it was psychosomatic by then, you tell me), this was not an encouraging selection of products. I found a wrist brace in the first aid section of a local grocery store; are all the kool kidz wearing these now? I hope?

I have been informed that alternative wrist activities, such as playing the guitar every day, should alleviate some of these issues. But now that I think about it, I'm not sure, because I tend to hold my wrist pretty steady, whether I'm using a pick or my fingertips.

Also, I use the computer at home.

I might need to see a doctor, but owing to my student and part-time worker status, I do not have health insurance. Next stop, USU health clinic.

My parking pass is still good for another week, as I found out today when I fruitlessly tried to park on the hill in order to shop at the university bookstore for ergonomic things. It took me a few minutes to not find a spot during the freak-out, then I went back to work.

Maybe I should try computer stores instead. I checked Slashdot for geeky advice on this kind of thing but I haven't had time to search the archives thoroughly.

Sarah mentioned that I might have a problem with this yesterday, but I didn't totally believe her at the time.

On a happier note, Sarah and I finished Harry Potter VI on Saturday after a marathon reading session, and it rocks! But I'll say no more.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Flatten your keyboard. If you look on the back, many keyboards have a two little legs designed to angle the key up at you. On most keyboards, you can press the little legs in to flatten it. This keeps your wrists straighter when you type.

Your arms should be horizontal when you mouse or type. I am lucky enough to have an ergonomic work station: I can lower or raise the whole work surface by several feet. I lowered it to keep my arms at the correct angle. The monitor sits on a plastic box designed to hold up monitors so it is at eye level.

I have logged thousands of hours in front of computers and battled wrist and elbow pain. For the last three or four years, I've been pain free.

Good luck.