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RSI


rustyjaw
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Well, my computer-based life is starting to catch up with me. Beginning tuesday this week, I started feeling numbness in my index finger on my right hand, intermittently it would spread into my thumb and middle finger as well.

 

I've had shoulder pain for years off and on, mostly to the immediate left of my right scapula and right above the right collar bone (in the muslces between the neck and upper arm), but I've never had numbness and it's worrying me. The numbness seems correlated with pain near the scapula, and I've recently noticed that gaming causes that area to hurt as well.

 

Do any of you have experience with this? I think I might need to see a chiropractor, but I have an inherent distrust in them, or at least I think you need to find one who really knows his or her shit.

 

FWIW, I don't do a whole lot of typing, but I do a hell of a lot of mousing being in the graphics profession.

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A chiropractor could help with the shoulder issues, but beyond recommending stretches, he/she would probably be of limited use with the hand/wrist pain. You should see someone though, chriopractor, therapist, general MD, whatever. Hopefully your insurance can get you some free wrist braces :)

 

#1 rule: When you feel any numbness or tingling, stop. NOW. Strech you hands, fingers, and wrists. A great one I use is to place both palms together flat. Then rotate your hands so that your fingers are pointing to your chest. Keeping the palms together, start to move you hands out. It really stretches the wrist.

 

When you are at home, ice your wrist. This will reduce inflammation in the tendons/muscles in your wrist. The inflammation restricts blood flow to the fingers and causes numbness and tingling.

 

At night, sleep with a wrist brace. The best ones have a hard brace inside that keep your wrist in one position. Because it's just one position, it works best at night. A more flexible one is good for usage at work. At least in my case, I had to wear them quite a bit for a while to help heal the wrist. Now I just wear them once in a while when I feel irritation.

 

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you'll probably always have it to some extent. I've had to change habits & become more cognizant of my usage patterns.

 

BTW: One thing that really helped me was to become ambidextrous with mouse usage. I left-hand mouse at work and right-hand mouse at home. It balances things out.

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From what I understand about my symptoms (and my history, and the way I use the computer), it's probably not carpal tunnel, but rather a pinched nerve near the shoulder. The nerve runs under the scapula and down the arm terminating at the index finger. The correlation of shoulder pain and finger numbness is indicative of this, although I'm certainly no doctor.

 

But your advice is still useful, I've already started to take breaks and stretch my arm, hand and shoulder. And I haven't played any games for 2 days and am limiting my time at the computer while at home...

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I've been through something similar, and it was definitely not a fun experience. :? I got numbness/loss of control in my pinky and ring fingers on my left hand that lasted for about 3 months (it would come and go though). I had gone and seen a doctor about it around 2 months in, who referred me to a nerve specialist. The tests showed the problem was with my ulnar nerve at about the elbow, showing the same signs as Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. We decided to wait and see what happened, and thankfully it just eventually went away. I'm pretty sure it was a residual effect of a car accident I was in a few years before, where I got a lot of glass in my left elbow.

 

My recommendation would be to make an appointment with your doctor for as soon as possible. He'll probably just take a look at it, make a few suggestions and a general evaluation, and refer you to a specialist (probably a neurologist and/or orthopedist). Each case is different, and there are a variety of issues/causes that can result in the symptoms you're experiencing, so the steps you will need to take to correct it may differ as well.

 

Here's to hoping you get better, Ed. :tu:

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I personally got the big carpal tunnel diagnosis by a doctor two weeks ago. Somedays the pain is so bad that I just want to cut off my wrist and hands. I was "prescribed" some wrist bands, which my wife calls my power bands in honor of City of Heroes. I am supposed to wear them at all times, but they are just TOO nerdy. Also I have replaced my PC's keyboards with ergonomic models and when I get the chance will get a more ergonomic mouse. Also I was given a light steroid to take for a month, fuck the steroid...I need some damn pain pills.

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My company (one of the big oils) is paranoid about RSI's. Here's what every office worker in the company goes through:

 

-Mandatory CBT training on RSI prevention

-Mandatory yearly workplace evaluation where a trained specialist observes you working and makes recommendations

-Mandatory use of "WorkPace" software, which counts keystrokes and mouse moves and makes you take regular breaks by basically nagging the shit out of you.

-Peer observations 2 times a month. You have to go and watch another employee work for a few minutes and fill out an online form.

- 2 stretch breaks per day where we meet in the hallway and go through stretching exercises

-Mandatory calling of "rapid response" hotline at the first sign of discomfort.

 

I used to think all this was a huge pain in the ass, until I read all of your posts just now. I have arthritis (which is under control now thanks to Enbrel), so I'm no stranger to joint pain. Never try to "play through the pain". Take a break, stretch and relax. Good luck guys!

 

Carlos.

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  • 5 months later...

Bumping this thread in the interest of safety:

 

Too much of a good thing is sometimes dangerous, so be very careful during your long Halo 2 marathons.

 

-Take a 10-15 minute break every hour.

-If you feel pain or even mild discomfort, stop and rest your hands.

-Stand up and stretch your body too! Laying in an awkward position for an extended period of time can lead to back and neck injuries.

-Eyestrain can be a real problem too. Take a catnap every now and then to rest your eyes.

 

All of these things sound like common sense, don't they? And yet all of us have at some point ignored the warning signs of a problem for various reasons. If you continue to play while feeling discomfort, you risk aggravating an emerging RSI condition.

 

 

I've had to lay off Donkey Konga for a while, because I was beginning to feel some pain on my wrists from all the clapping.

 

 

 

Carlos.

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