Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

CES: Can a Gyroscope Ball Really Cure Wrist Pain? (Video)

Roblimo posted about a year and a half ago | from the do-not-taunt-happy-fun-ball dept.

Medicine 144

Timothy ran into these NSD people at CES. If we were giving out a "best huckster" award, NSD booth dude Doug Lo would surely be a finalist for it. He's one heck of a talker. The exercise balls he's pushing? A number of companies have been making and selling similar products for many years. They seem to have some medical benefit as physical therapy aids for people with wrist or carpal tunnel problems, and may also be useful exercise devices for people who want to strengthen their hands and fingers. Have you used a gyroscope exercise ball? If so, did it help cure a wrist problem or help strengthen your hands and fingers? And which of these brands (if any) did you try?

cancel ×

144 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Personal Anecdote FWIW (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year and a half ago | (#42595969)

CES: Can a Gyroscope Ball Really Cure Wrist Pain?

First off, let me say that I have no formal training or any sort of degree in anything even remotely related to this. I'm not medically qualified to give you professional advice on this sort of stuff. But from using using these things, I would wager that very few kinds pain will actually be cured from this. I don't know how carpal tunnel syndrome responds to this but I thought that was a condition of the nerves and I fail to see how this could help that (I'm totally sold on muscles though and, through that, maybe extremity blood flow). I would be wary of someone selling this to me heralding it as a panacea for all things past your elbow.

Have you used a gyroscope exercise ball?

Yes.

If so, did it help cure a wrist problem or help strengthen your hands and fingers? And which of these brands (if any) did you try?

I had no wrist problems to begin with but a roommate at the time called them "climber balls" and said climbers use them. So, being a software developer with terrible posture by trade and enjoying video games, bass guitar playing, piano playing, more programming, book writing, etc on the side, I felt it was in my interest to try as best as possible to preserve my wrists. So I asked for one for Christmas and received the orange PowerBall pictured here with digital back [powerballs.com] . I used it for a while and tried to do 10 minutes a day with it, alternating hands as the digital readout would let me see how fast I could get it (I think I got it up regularly to 9,000 RPM and 13,000 RPM once while incredibly intoxicated). Basically I'd burn up right off the bat with each arm and then try to get into a sustaining groove. Definitely more exerting than it looks. I would also alternate between grips. The two most comfortable ones seemed to be palming it from the back and wrapping my thumb and index finger around the grip while supporting with the other fingers. And I noticed a serious burn (a good, like exercise burn) at first in my hand and forearm but then only in my forearm. From my experience, I suspect that once your hand's grip hits a certain point it's good to go whereas the muscles pumping energy into the gyroscope are actually located in the wrist/forearm. So I believe it was working. I was, however, also doing exercises like wrist curls, inverse wrist curls, wrist extensions with a 45 lb. bar at the gym from time to time. And I was also doing other exercises that probably inadvertently helped strengthen these same areas.

So anyway, one day my friend stayed over and brought his dog. He slept on the couch, his dog whimpered in his kennel so he took him out and fell asleep with him. Dog got a hold of the PowerBall and that was that. Recently these NSDs went on sale for $25 for Black Friday [newegg.com] (as shown here [camelegg.com] ) and so I purchased two with the intent of having one at my desk in cubeland and one at home. While I'm happily using one, I left the other packaged and might gift it up because no matter how nice these balls are, they do make a good deal of noise (and the ones with revolution powered LEDs look dance-rave in the dark). The digital options on the NSDs aren't as nice or intuitive as the PowerBall LCD functions but I haven't given that a lot of time so that could just be RTFA ignorance on my part. I just use them as a straight up exercise device now with no intent of breaking records on youtube [youtube.com] so I've stopped fussing with the electronics part of them. These NSDs are so far seemingly higher construction than the PowerBalls and are much easier to start but also seem more expensive. I suppose I would have to use this for a year before I start reporting on wear and tear. Watch for a sale on an NSD, when you're talking ten thousand RPM you want someone that pays attention to precision build. Also, I could see how a knockoff would be a serious pain to start and you'd be sitting there longer trying to get it up and going than actually exercising.

So they're fun, they're novel. You'll play with one for an hour when you first get it because it's an awesome gyroscope that feels like magic. So just a word of warning, when I first got one, I would run it along a table top and I later found out I was leaving marks and sometimes divots when I did this. Don't do that not only for that reason but it also picks up lint, the lint gets into the gyroscope and it stops working. So now I'm good enough to start with my finger on the first or second try. There's a string to help you start it but that takes so much time and feels like a crapshoot to me.

I don't think these things are snake oil, I definitely was able to exhaust my forearm muscles in 10-15 minutes of usage. I think it helps my wrists on a muscular level but I am not a doctor, I have never studied anatomy and I don't know if this is a safe range of motion. I could also be in a better position because I exercise and my wrists get an all around tuning. I don't know but these things sure are fun. Something else I should mention is that they don't isolate muscles ... or if you can I don't know how. The benefit of doing sets of wrist curls (I usually do four sets of ten reps for each variant) is that you can isolate muscles in your exercise. I think these things, if anything, do core strength (hence the term "climber's balls") on your forearms so don't expect to look ripped with maps past your elbow.

My grandmother has rheumatoid arthritis, I do not think these would work or "cure" her wrist pain as that is an autoimmune disease. I'm using these as preventative measure and they are a serious force to be reckoned with once you start hitting RPMs in the thousands. I would guess these will not "cure" anything as the summary implies but strengthen the muscles and tendons that wrap around your forearm and wrists that try to stabilize the gyroscope pushing back on your digits. These things might by default not allow you to harm yourself since you have to apply more and more force to get the speeds higher ... BUT they can be dropped and require some amount of practice before you become adept at them. Again, I'm not a doctor so if you have pain or a preexisting condition I would probably consult a physician or kinesiologist before shelling out cash on one of these. r found out I was leaving marks and sometimes divots when I did this. Don't do that not only for that reason but it also picks up lint, the lint gets into the gyroscope and it stops working. So now I'm good enough to start with my finger on the first or second try. There's a string to help you start it but that takes so much time and feels like a crapshoot to me.

I don't think these things are snake oil, I definitely was able to exhaust my forearm muscles in 10-15 minutes of usage. I think it helps my wrists, I am not a doctor, I have never studied anatomy and I don't know if this is a good range of motion. I could also be in a better position because I exercise and my wrists get an all around tuning. I don't know but these things sure are fun. Something else I should mention is that they don't isolate muscles ... or if you can I don't know how. The benefit of doing sets of wrist curls (I usually do four sets of ten reps for each variant) is that you can isolate muscles in your exercise. I think these things, if anything, do core strength (hence the term "climber's balls") on your forearms so don't expect to look ripped with maps past your elbow.

My grandmother has rheumatoid arthritis, I do not think these would work or "cure" her wrist pain. I'm using these as preventative measure and they are a serious force to be reckoned with once you start hitting RPMs in the thousands. I would guess these will not "cure" anything as the summary implies but strengthen the muscles and tendons that wrap around your forearm and wrists that try to stabilize the gyroscope pushing back on your digits. These things might by default not allow you to harm yourself since you have to apply more and more force to get the speeds higher ... BUT they can be dropped and require some amount of practice before you become adept at them. Again, I'm not a doctor so if you have pain or a preexisting condition I would probably consult a physician or kinesiologist before shelling out cash on one of these.

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596017)

Woops, sorry about the two ending duplicate paragraphs, not sure how that happened ...

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (4, Funny)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42597173)

You pasted the paragraphs from the document powerballs.com gave you to spam too many times.

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596063)

CTRL-C, CTRL-V, repeat

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596343)

I was, however, also doing exercises like wrist curls, inverse wrist curls, wrist extensions with a 45 lb. bar at the gym from time to time. And I was also doing other exercises that probably inadvertently helped strengthen these same areas.

In other words ... your anecdote is completely worthless.

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42597227)

In other words ... your anecdote is completely worthless.

Where did you get the notion that anecdotal reports are "worthless"?

You rely on "anecdotal" evidence for most of your life. Anecdotal information is the most basic way that human beings learn.

This is one of those logical shortcuts, like "correlation is not causality" that people like to repeat to make themselves sound smart.

I don't know one way or the other about these gyro ball thingies. But people who ignore anecdotal information tend to get lost a whole lot.

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (1)

shaitand (626655) | about a year and a half ago | (#42597821)

"You rely on "anecdotal" evidence for most of your life. Anecdotal information is the most basic way that human beings learn."

I'd agree with this. At the end of the day we don't have any information EXCEPT for anecdotal evidence and correlation. You throw a ball up, there is a strong correlation to the ball falling back down. All experiments are looking for correlation. Correlations don't prove a thing, they only suggest it, the more correlations you have the more strongly it is suggested until at some point a line is crossed and you work with that is most likely.

Anecdotal evidence is also the only kind. After all, at the end of the day all you really know is that in your experience everybody has said the ball will fall and from what you've seen that is the case. Reproducable? So two guys had a similar anecdotal experience of seeing a correlation between the ball being thrown in the air and falling.

All that aside two correlations suggesting something is still better than one and while you can put some higher assurance in your own anecdotal experiences that doesn't mean you should take those of someone else on faith. The bar should be higher for information you accept from someone else.

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42598159)

I'd agree with this. At the end of the day we don't have any information EXCEPT for anecdotal evidence

Anecdotal evidence is especially important when it comes to dealing with pain management.

When it comes down to it, almost all pain research is based on anecdote. "Rate your pain from 1 to 10. Now do "X", and rate your pain from 1 to 10."

The same people who scoff at using anecdote about a gyro-ball for pain management, look for Gizmodo reviews of new tech to determine whether to buy it.

Eldavojohn is not a dope. I don't know him personally, but his comments seem to be pretty well-reasoned and earnest. If I had pain in my wrists, and read Eldavojohn's account of a device helping him (or not), I would definitely take that into account for my own situation. It would mean more to me than a review at Amazon. Especially if the gyro-ball in question only cost a few sawbucks.

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (-1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#42598267)

"Anecdotal evidence is also the only kind"
Wow... just..wow.
So damn stupid.
do you note know what anecdote means, or what scientific method means?

an anecdote is evidence that cannot be investigated using the scientific method.
You examples with the ball, can, in fact, be scientifically investigated.

So learn or shut up.

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (1)

Lynal (976271) | about a year and a half ago | (#42597887)

It's not the anecdotes being criticized, it's the confounding factors. It's like if you want to lose weight, so you take a weight loss pill, start exercising, and eating healthy. It's hard to say that the weight loss pill was highly successful.

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#42598303)

an anecdote is evidence that cannot be investigated using the scientific method.
As such, worthless for any scientific reasoning at all.
As a clue for something to look into? sometimes. Still worthless to draw a scientific conclusion from.

The plural of anecdotes is not, and never will be, data.

"Anecdotal information is the most basic way that human beings learn."
yes, and using it to learn is why most people draw wrong conclusion, do shit that doesn't work, and waste lots of many, and more time then you think, cause someones death.

"This is one of those logical shortcuts"
no it isn't. It's a truth.

"But people who ignore anecdotal information tend to get lost a whole lot."
thus underscoring the fact that you don't know what anecdote means.
Someone giving you directions is testable. You follow the directions.

Idiot.

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (5, Informative)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596393)

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is down to inflammation of the tendons ; the carpal tunnel is the sleeve bearing that the finger tendons pass through in your wrist. The other things that passes through there is the median nerve.

If you get tendonitis of these tendons, the inflammation can compress the median nerve, which is what causes carpal tunnel syndrome. It makes some sort of sense that strengthening this overall group of muscles can improve matters - if you predominantly use one or two fingers for your grip, spreading the load will lead to less strain on these tendons and less inflammation.

The muscles involved in grip strength are predominantly in your forearm, and connect to these tendons. Muscles in the fingers and hand are mostly limited to fine posture - like the ability to flex the finger at the most proximal joint while the other joints remain extended (like an L shape), and the ability to splay your fingers.

Through bad posture or excessive exercise (like a two week rowing course) I sometimes inflame the tendons on my little fingers and get a kind of bi-state "clunk" when the swollen part passes through the sheathe, and that finger will only hold postures either side of the lump - straight, or claw. And I sometimes get a generalized soreness of my fingers if I drive a lot (I tend to lean on the wheel badly). I have a Powerball of the type you describe, but not the discipline to use it regularly.

My main problem is that if you drop one, the metal axis of the 'scope nicks the inner plastic bearing it runs on, making the thing useless (it goes *tick tick tick* and you can't speed it up as much). I thought about buying the all-metal version but as I said, I don't use it enough to justify it.

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596443)

Oh, and I can't start it with my finger and I keep losing the &!"%£&* bits of string.

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (3, Informative)

sribe (304414) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596685)

Your description of carpal tunnel is correct, but slightly incomplete. Tendonitis is not necessary, certain kinds of overuse (like typing and mouse use) combined with never using full range of motion and no stretching can cause shortening of the muscles and tendons such that the "fatter" part of the tendon gets "pulled" into the carpal tunnel and compresses the nerves. Fortunately, that flavor of CTS, with which I am intimately familiar, is very easy to relieve ;-)

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42598487)

Fortunately, that flavor of CTS, with which I am intimately familiar, is very easy to relieve

How do relieve it? Programmers everywhere want to know.

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42597213)

I had several instances of tendonitis over the years due to physical work and sports. I used one of these balls per doctor's orders. The brand? Penn. An ordinary tennis ball. Squeezing it, along with a variety of wrist-stretching exercises, resolved tennis elbow and carpal tunnel issues for me.

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42597663)

Don't use a Powerball enough and it freezes up. The ball will spin but not rotate. Not sure if NSD is any different but after I tossed a frozen up Powerball I never considered buying another one.

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (1)

xxdelxx (551872) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596745)

Not only popular with climbers but with handgun target shooters as well. I seriously doubt that it would 'cure' RSI but I could believe that regular use would help prevent it. Of course - correct posture/technique and frequent rests will do that as well.

Anecdotally - I have a powerball and use it reasonably frequently - it does a great job of strengthening grip and forearms.

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (2)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year and a half ago | (#42597477)

The key to this is very simple. Carpal tunnel problems do not have to do with being too weak, instead, too strong They're caused by the tendons slowly getting bigger through use, and then rubbing. The rubbing then causes the tunnel of sinews they travel through to inflame, further constricting them and compounding the problem.

Strengthening the tendons further will not help, it will hinder the problem.

gave me RSI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42598071)

the repetitive movements of these exercises actually gave me an injury. I started with no wrist pain and now I am in constant pain.

Re:Personal Anecdote FWIW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42598365)

I reduce the effects of my carpal tunnel by not typing anything in full; instead I just cut and paste personal anecdotes that I have accumulated from various sources.

I used one of those... once. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596023)

It ripped my hand right off and careened off the wall and ripped my other hand right off. I'm typing this comment with my tongue.

in 1 word = yes ...apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596031)

I fondle BALLS 2 cure my wrist pain &/or 4 personal enjoyment.

APK

Just stop already (-1, Troll)

g051051 (71145) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596035)

More terrible timothy videos. The editors continue to post this drivel on the front page. timothy continues his quest to ruin slashdot, and create the most awful videos he can. These gyroscope things have been around for many years, and were even sold by thinkgeek. You call the guy a huckster right in the article, the whole thing is completely not "stuff that matters".

If you're going to make these horrific things (a huge mistake) at least tag them as videos and let us have the option to filter them! I can filter Idle, why not videos? You seem determined to cram these things down our throats. Are you afraid we'll all filter them from the feed and ruin whatever crazy plan you guys have that involves these videos?

Re:Just stop already (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596135)

" timothy continues his quest to ruin slashdot..."

Oh yeah? Well--well, you're an anti-Semite! RACISM! Mod this racist garbage down! Lifetime Permaban this racist troll!

Re:Just stop already (-1, Troll)

RR (64484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596433)

More terrible timothy videos. The editors continue to post this drivel on the front page.

Would you rather have timothy running around making terrible videos, or timothy posting stories? I think I like Slashdot better with timothy away from his desk.

Re:Just stop already (0)

g051051 (71145) | about a year and a half ago | (#42597811)

You make a compelling argument. I think we should just merge our positions and get him to stop doing *anything* with slashdot.

I love mine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596051)

I travel with one, and use one at my desk. It helps tone muscles and I can target most any muscle up to my shoulder with ease. I don't honestly think it does anything for carpal tunnel, but it's a great distraction, burns a few calories, and if you get one with a counter you can try to break records, etc. I consider a toy, not a medical device work workout equipment, but I've gotten my money's worth.

Better than a gyro ball (3, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596065)

I've got a magnetic copper bracelet that aligns the molecules in my bloodstream so I've never had any wrist problems at all. I got it from some guy selling tiger protection rocks and submillimeter wave scanners.

Re:Better than a gyro ball (1)

Sez Zero (586611) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596199)

I got it from some guy selling tiger protection rocks...

Does he also sell tiger blood? I've heard that stuff is the business...

Re:Better than a gyro ball (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596295)

I was at a gun show about a year ago and there was a booth for those magnetic bracelet people. I couldn't resist coaxing every last bit of pseudoscience out of them. I wish I'd gotten it on video... you'd spit out your coffee at all the made-up marketing drivel. Something about megatrons aligning the dna positrons in your red blood cells to keep out the evil toxins.

I don't think they sold a single one, all day.

Re:Better than a gyro ball (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year and a half ago | (#42597051)

You mean you got to talk to the entabulator guy www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIS5n9Oyzsc in person? COOL!

Re:Better than a gyro ball (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#42598237)

I HATE it when Megatron does that, stupid robotic overlord.

Re:Better than a gyro ball (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596511)

This is not like magnetic bracelet, this is an exercise device that is good for the fore arm, wrist and hand. Now, does it cure any kind of wrist problems? It remains to be seen because I haven`t seen any scientific studies supporting that. However, I can confirm that it really strengthen fore arm and hand muscle if you use it regularly.

Re:Better than a gyro ball (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42597395)

I really wish more people would point out the connection between tiger protection rocks and submillimeter wave scanners. It would probably make people view the current security theatre fixation with a healthier skepticism.

Betteridge's Law of Headlines (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596073)

NO

Ancient tech... (1)

FrankSchwab (675585) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596107)

My dad got one of those when he broke his elbow. Was never able to get the hang of it - but we kids did (and drove him crazy with the noise).

That was 40 years ago.

Also 40 years ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42598317)

My father is a physician who developed "Tennis Elbow". He started using the gyroscope ball way back then to treat his condition. It apparently worked.

If you have ever used one, you would learn that it is fairly rigorous excercise for your forearms. I don't know about anything other than anecdotal medical benefits, but the gyroscope ball is certainly fun to play with.

Gyroscope (1)

BryanWhyte (2770489) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596139)

Over 20 years I have been "mousing" for 8 hours a day and I firmly believe the only thing that saved me is using a big honking trackball from Kensington

Re:Gyroscope (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596603)

You're right about trackballs - I use a Logitech TrackMan Marble Wheel (I have several for parts), and given the time I spend at a computer it's been good on my mousing hand. I used to use a mouse, but it caused problems.

As for the gyros, I used one for several years when I was fencing competitively, and it was great. It improved my wrist strength and gave serious and noticeable benefit to my parrying accuracy and control. Try tracing a four inch circle inside a five inch template with the tip of a three foot long piece of steel at full extension, without touching the template - and you'll see what I mean.

I know some people who've tried the gyros for carpal tunnel (notably my daughter) and - at least anecdotally - it doesn't appear to make a difference.

Re:Gyroscope (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#42598223)

"It improved my wrist strength and gave serious and noticeable benefit to my parrying accuracy and control."
how do you know that? you would need to go back in time and then do all the same things minus the gyros.
You thinking is sloppy. I was an excellent fencer and never used one, clearly they don't work
You see how sloppy that is?

mmmmm lamb gyro.

Different mouse cured my pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596145)

I tried a completely different [evoluent.com] type of mouse. Was hard to get used to for the first couple days. Now my wrist and forearm pain is a thing of the past. The vertical mouse keeps your hand, wrist and forearm in a relaxed position.

Nope, didn't help (4, Informative)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596163)

I had to switch to an ergo mouse. Nothing else fixed my wrist pain - not exercise balls, not a wrist brace, not an ergo keyboard. I've been using the Vertical Mouse 4 [evoluent.com] but I think any ergo mouse can offer improvement. Just find one that's comfortable and works.

Re:Nope, didn't help (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596261)

The evoluent Vertical Mouse 4, 3 and 2 were all awesome mice. They have a defect in 1 2 and 3 where the rubber pices fall appart after about a year of useage though. They have all but eliminated my wrist pain. Their keybaord is also amazing. It puts the mouse in front of you instead of beside you by putting the keypad on the left hand side. So far the evoluent vertical mouse 4 is going strong after about a year of usage.

Re:Nope, didn't help (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year and a half ago | (#42597119)

The silver is worn/chipped off on mine where I rest my thumb, but it hasn't broken yet. I do sometimes hit one of the extra keys when I don't intend to, accidentally backspacing, but that's all user error.

Re:Nope, didn't help (3, Interesting)

SpzToid (869795) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596451)

I had carpal bad for awhile and tried all kinds of stuff. What finally worked was my noticing part of the chiropractor's treatment, which I was able to replicate myself whenever I felt the need. I told him what I was doing and he gave my 'treatment' his endorsement.

The chiropractor had me stand straight up, with my arms down at my side. Then he'd pull down hard on my thumb until it 'popped', (as best as I can describe it). So I tried this myself by gripping my right thumb with my left hand and pulling horizontally across my chest to do the same thing.

It seems that computer mouse-work builds up a kind of stress and this releases it, and whenever I feel the need I do this, and I've been good ever since. YMMV.

Re:Nope, didn't help (1)

krotkruton (967718) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596719)

That's a really good point: you have to find what works for you. Your body is likely different from mine and the next person's, so switching mice might change your life.

In my case, I broke my forearm pretty severely as a kid, and it didn't set correctly, so my left arm is actually rotated outwards a few degrees (I don't know the technical term, but it's like one hand can rotate from 0-180 degrees while the other is from 5-185). Anyway, typing on a regular keyboard causes pain almost immediately, so I switched to the raised, split keyboards and all my problems went away as my wrist didn't need to rotate past the point that it's able.

Re:Nope, didn't help (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year and a half ago | (#42597097)

Yep, everyone is different. I've found the split keyboards to be difficult, but I use a "comfort curve" that has the letters swooped down in an arc slightly, and found that works for me.

Re:Nope, didn't help (0)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#42598211)

"you have to find what works for you. "
nope.

"you have to find what works"
yes.
Learn the difference, or spend a life time deluding yourself, and wasting money.

Re:Nope, didn't help (1)

I-am-a-Banana (940550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596995)

I have a verticle mouse 4 and it is the BEST mouse I have ever had. I am using it with a MS ergo keyboard and my wrist and finger issues are gone!

DynaFlex are loved in the rock climbing community (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596177)

I used to use these gyro balls quite a bit. I've owned three DynaFlex (slightly more expensive) and a couple of the knock-offs, I believe PowerBalls. The latter are indeed cheaper: they squeak more, rattle more, don't rev up as far, and don't feel as good on my hand. But a well-built gyro can be a good exercise tool (and frustration venting tool) for years. Some of the newer ones light up with LEDs from the spinning power, which is quite an impressive show in a dark room.

Some of them come with a string to start the gyro, others come with a battery-operated stand. If you use the gyro for a few minutes a day for a week or two, you'll get the hang of it and will probably be able to forego these helper tools right away.

Re:DynaFlex are loved in the rock climbing communi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596453)

You must be climbing in a canyon now. I heard an echo... echo... echo...

I'd take care of that blonde spinner... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596229)

I'd take care of that blonde spinner...

Most guys are already good at wrist exercises (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596253)

and I imagine Slashdotters' wrists are especially well-developed.

+10 for the Powerball from Ireland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596255)

I can't say the exercise ball eliminates pain, but I can say that I had major injuries to both wrists from a bike accident, and the exercise ball was the only PT method that brought my wrists back to near full capability. I was a semi-pro jazz guitarist, and could not play after the accident for about three years. The ball brought me back to playing out. I had the one from Ireland, "Powerball".

I use hot sauce (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596263)

Some habanero will cure most of my arthritis and carpal tunnel

It has some chemical that prescription pain relievers have without the crazy side effects

Re:I use hot sauce (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596331)

Capsaicin [wikipedia.org]

Re:I use hot sauce (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#42598195)

Hmmm, magical thinking, possible naturalistic fallacy, and has no idea of what the term 'side effect' mean.

Sign me up~

Always go with NSD.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596355)

.. for one reason - if your PowerBall breaks or you treat it like crap and it starts knocking when you use it, you can send it back to the factory for a free replacement. No questions, just send your old ball and you get a new one. That's pretty good to me.

http://www.powerballs.com/guarantee.php

Kind of helped (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596373)

Whenever I have wrist pain, from being on the computer too long, I use my gyro ball for about 30 minutes, after that the pain is mostly gone.

I have one... (1)

djsmiley (752149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596389)

Yes it helped me. :/

Re:I have one... (1)

djsmiley (752149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596471)

Oh and its a NSD ball. The simple one with the lcd (I liked seeing how fast I could get it).

These things are cool (4, Informative)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596403)

They definitely strengthen your arms and wrists. At first I couldn't do one for more than a minute. Then eventually I could do one for 8 hours straight on a road trip from Pittsburgh to Virginia Beach to meet my girlfriend back in the day.

Chinese Medicine Balls (1)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596417)

Not sure how related they are to a 'gyroscope ball', but I used Chinese Medicine Balls to cure carpal tunnel some years back. The doctor suggested them. Rotating two balls in the palm of my hand -- first in one direction, then the other -- stretched and toned the muscles to the point where my hands were strong enough to type as much as I needed them to.

I'm not sure how useful they are as immediate pain relief, but I'm sure there are many exercises that help you build long-term strength and stability in your wrists and hands. Chinese medicine balls are one such exercise. I wouldn't be surprised if Gyroscope balls serve the same purpose.

Re:Chinese Medicine Balls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596589)

Yeah, I've been using "chinese medicine balls" for about 13 years now (eep!). Along with amitriptyline, a Kinesis ergonomic keyboard, stretching, and regular breaks, they've made my chronic pain completely manageable.

I'm not sure if they've substantially contributed to the fix, but I don't feel the need to stop using them.

Re:Chinese Medicine Balls (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596967)

Yep. They work. I have the 1kG size balls and I use them during 'down time' sitting in front of TV. (No jokes about watching porn, playing with my balls, please!)

ProTip: If you have hardwood floors, sit or stand over a well padded rug when you start out with them.

Re:Chinese Medicine Balls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42597463)

"I used Chinese Medicine Balls"

My girlfriend used Ben Wa balls ... did wonders for me to help her with them ...

Nope. But I'll tell you what did help. (1)

jimicus (737525) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596423)

I've had wrist problems - not carpal tunnel as such but nevertheless pain.

I spent ages going from pillar to post - I eventually discovered that apparently office ergonomics are more of an art than a science. Nobody can tell you what will fix your problems, all they can do is suggest a few things you can try. It's down to you to try them and find a solution that works for you.

Four things I tried which helped:

  - Replace the mouse with a trackball. There's a tendency with a mouse to move your wrist - you're not meant to do this, you're meant to use your whole arm. But I don't know anyone who does. It'll take you a few days to get used to, after which you'll never use a mouse again.
  - Invest in an adjustable split keyboard (eg. Goldtouch [goldtouch.com] ). The adjustable aspect's important - you're meant to change it every so often so as to even out the wear on your wrists.
  - Relax. Book a couple of days off - say, a Friday and a Monday - and have a long weekend away. Leave your phone, laptop, iPad and anything else technology related at home.
  - Book a couple of sessions with an osteopath.

Re:Nope. But I'll tell you what did help. (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596791)

Replace the mouse with a trackball. There's a tendency with a mouse to move your wrist - you're not meant to do this, you're meant to use your whole arm. But I don't know anyone who does. It'll take you a few days to get used to, after which you'll never use a mouse again.

This. I have a MS trackball explorer at home, that I will use until it dies. I am not a fan of MS products, but that trackball is the best I have ever used. Too bad they stopped making them.
At work I use a Logitech cordless optical trackman, that is almost as good, but personally I wish it wasn't wireless.
What I really like is the Ball under my fingers, thumb for left click, index finger for scrolling. It is getting hard to find.

Re:Nope. But I'll tell you what did help. (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year and a half ago | (#42597421)

I replaced the mouse with a digitizer and the keyboard with standard split keyboard (microsoft natural), that made my RSI mostly disappear. Also playing guitar helped somewhat.

Made my RSI much worse (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596427)

About 15 years ago I spent a couple of weeks working in a remote site for my company where the ergonomic setup left a lot to be desired. I was getting tendonitis/RSI on my writs and elbows by the end of it, and happened to spot one of these devices in Sharper Image (I think).
I gave it a try, and I am convinced that it contributed to making the injury much worse - the pain I felt when exercising was rather similar to the pain that then developed full time, and caused be to have to get treated for RSI, and being unable to type for weeks/months.
Looking back I felt stupid for not realizing I was damaging myself more by using it.

Maybe use carefully if you are uninjured, but stay away if you already have problems!

Yes (3, Informative)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596475)

The movement required to keep the motion going is rhythmic and needs to be controlled. You are constantly using tons of tiny stabilizing movements.

Now the problem is when you have wrist problems it's not always easy to get a fluid motion going, or you're too used to extreme flexions which is what constricts nerve passages in the wrist in the first place. You can however use your shoulder to hold the rotation, or even your elbow if your isolations are good. Once the thing is spinning you can then experiment with wrist movement that doesn't hinder the spinning. Visualization is a good technique to use with this as well. Liken it to a game of Operation, except that you are trying to keep an open channel in your wrist. Pretty much anytime your skin get's wrinkled that's touching the side, and the gyro will pull or push you hard.

What's frightening is the amount of misinformation of how to use your wrists is out there. I was talking to some woman off on physio for rsi and she proceeded to show me how she knew the 'correct' way to type as she showed me a broken wrist. This is what OT are teaching?? Wrist rests? Yes, let's just discourage proper posture and restrict with pressure.

My JRA had gotten so bad that I had to stop working, couldn't type or use my right hand for weeks. Gyro balls were one of the tools I used to learn proper motion. Just did a 30s handstand no problem over the weekend.

Made my pain worse (1)

llZENll (545605) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596495)

Had pain in my hands in the morning when waking, with stiff wrists and knuckles. I got a PowerBall LCD and if anything it made the pain worse, quite simply putting more stress on an already stressed area should make it worse right? What solved my problem was to simply always take my hands off the mice when not in use (I dual wield) What I was doing was keeping my hand on my mouse at all times, and resting my wrist on my desk, when reading an article or coding I would have my hand there the whole time, even if I was only using the mouse a few seconds. This habit wasn't too hard to break. I also started taking glucosamine, a joint lubricant, after a few months all of my pain went away.

Re:Made my pain worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596863)

Hey, do you still have your powerball? I'll take it off your hands.

Re:Made my pain worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42597517)

"I'll take it off your hands."

I see what you did there ...

Most definitely yes (1)

clokwise (844691) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596569)

I used to live in Taiwan back in the 90s and discovered these balls at the local night market. They were marketed as kids toys back then. But I discovered they rapidly increased the strength in my wrists and fingers and decreased my carpal tunnel symptoms substantially. I bought half a dozen and keep a couple around my house and still keep the others packed up in case one breaks/dies. I had no idea these balls were still around, let alone being used for curing symptoms which I had independently discovered a long time ago. So yeah, I 100% recommend these things.

Anything can cure anything. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596601)

All you need is atleast 3 people in the whole world to say "Yes this cured my problem" and a really good salesman that doesnt even need facts or science, all he needs to do is be able to make things sound good. Even complete and outright lies and untrue things can sound perfectly reasonable if you have the right person pitching it.

You can convince people your all natural peanut butter and jelly combination will cure testicular cancer when applied nightly directly to the balls and sell it for 550 dollars an ounce if you have patrick stewart selling it or someone who is as suave or smooth talking as he is. Why? Because people are stupid, gulliable and will believe anything you tell them.

I have struggled with cripppling RSI for 7 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596613)

I have met many people with RSI. I have tried devices like this. If you have an injury, this will make it worse. Stay away from them and people who sell them - they know nothing about hand injuries.

Wrist Gyros (2)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596653)

Had one of these at my desk during several jobs in the 90's. I think the main benefit was in having coworkers ask me what the hell they were and them demonstrating them, but I've always had one, enjoyed using them, and never had significant wrist problems. Ringing endorsement? No, but worth $20, sure.

Tried them and a lot of other remedies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596655)

For carpal tunnel, I tried them, also acupuncture, harnesses, etc.. any gizmo to try to increase wrist strength or protect them. Except for surgery I think I've tried all methods. None of them made much difference at all.

There is only thing that worked for me: yoga and working on my posture. In fact the first time I did a full on yoga session I felt an amazing tingling in my fingers like blood was rushing back in. I am no yogi master, but just doing a few basic pauses makes a tremendous difference.

So my anecdotal conclusion is that carpal tunnel is due to blood flow problem in the muscle and nerves from keeping the same posture and doing repetitive gestures far too many times.

Rollermouse seem to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596661)

I hate it, but we have a few employees that love them. I think it's a week getting used to and then they have stopped complaining about problems with arms and neck.

Best Cure for my wrist Pain (1)

borjonx (1243634) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596821)

was to start using the mouse with my left hand, and I got a stylus pen for my right. It was very slow at first, but the pain has been gone for over 10 years & now I'm fluent in mice. I don't use the stylus much anymore. Pat

I use one (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596823)

I've never suffered from RSI. I also have a pair of the large size Chinese therapy balls (chrome plated iron balls, 1 kG each).

One side effect: I can almost tighten a spark plug by hand (no socket).

Prevention vs. cure (2)

Shoten (260439) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596861)

Background:
One of the things that OTs (Occupational Therapists...like a physical therapist, but focused exclusively on hands and sometimes feet) will advise to defend against (not cure) carpal tunnel is to strengthen your grip, essentially. What they are really looking for is strengthening of the muscles and tendons that relate to hand motions using more natural (read: non-impactful, unlike typing) activities. I've been using a keyboard for over 30 years (young when I learned how to code), and have started developing carpal tunnel syndrome on several occasions. I'm currently not suffering from CT, nor have I for several years now.

Short Answer:
I've used one of these, and it works for strengthening your muscles...REALLY works. It's actually really wild, and you'd never believe how much of a workout it is until you try it.

Caveat:
But here's the catch: when you already have CT symptoms, more exercise is not what you need. You first need to recover a bit. It's like having a hurt ankle because you twisted it, due to weak stabilizing muscles...the exercise that will strengthen your muscles will also aggravate the injury. So you have to heal first, and then prevent it from happening again. If your tendons are already pissed off at you, subjecting them to extra exercise (usually on top of everything that has caused this problem to begin with) is not the solution.

My mother got me to try it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596883)

My mom worked in the call center of a outdoor gear retailer that may or may not have involved equipment of the recreational variety. She was working on a computer 40 hours a week. For some reason the company started passing out DynaFlex, probably in an attempt to get the call center to push it. My mom tried it out for a few weeks, and said it really strengthened her hands and wrists, but she didn't keep at it.

I have minor CTS, with occasional tingling in the wrists after long computer use, and when I complained about it with my mom in earshot she got me one as a "present". I used it for 10 minutes on each hand every day for two months. While I certainly felt like I had stronger wrists and hands, my CTS symptoms were no less frequent than they were before. What did help me was getting an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, with a new desk, and taking more breaks when I worked.

In all, I'd say you should avoid them unless you specifically need to strengthen your hands and wrists. They don't have any evidence showing CTS symptoms being relieved, and they certainly weren't in my case.

BFD (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596895)

This thing is at least forty years old...I had one in the Seventies, under the name Dynabee. You started it spinning by sweeping the exposed side of the ball across a tabletop, and then kept it moving in a conical motion. When you had the motion right, you could feel your hand coupling angular momentum into it, and hear a rising whine as it gathered speed.

Nice classroom demonstration of the dynamics of precession, but it made my wrist hurt like hell.

Re:BFD (1)

sfm (195458) | about a year and a half ago | (#42597747)

I also used a Dynabee in the Early 80's. Worked out a routine for 15 min/wrist, 3 times a week. I believe it significantly Improved my wrist strength. Also got very good at getting it spinning. First time through it is a bear to get started.

professional opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42596949)

I'm an occupational therapist and a physical therapist for 7 years now. This is absolute junk. Do not use this if you have carpal tunnel!

Re:professional opinion (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year and a half ago | (#42597621)

>professional opinion
>doesn't provide professional certification or license numbers
>makes unsubstantiated claim about worsening carpal tunnel when one of the devices used to relieve carpal tunnel stress is a rubberband that does essentially the same thing to your wrist as this dyno inside a gyro.

Wanna know how I know you're full of shit (besides having used one of these for therapy on a totally rebuilt wrist?)

Data. please (1)

fard69 (589805) | about a year and a half ago | (#42596951)

The plural of "anecdote" is _still_ not "data".

you can HURT your wrist with one of those (1)

xorbe (249648) | about a year and a half ago | (#42597217)

I know, because I did. If you try to make it go really fast, it will place a LOT of strain on your wrist. We had the one that lit up, pretty cool toy.

Dynaflex Powerball (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year and a half ago | (#42597601)

Used it after getting hit by a car and having my wrist pinned together. Helped me regain a lot of mobility, flexibility, and was essentially my own therapy for my wrist after the cast came off and pins came out.

Warning, you can injure yourself with these things. They produce a damn good bit of torque when in motion, enough to strain every tendon in your wrist if you aren't careful/expecting the force. Made the mistake of handing off one of these to my friends at about 12KRPM, and he strained the hell out of his wrist.

In short: Yes, they do work, yes, they do have benefits.

Have to post my cure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42597793)

Since we're on topic. Here's what I did to get better.

1. Take 4 *grams* yes *grams* of MSM supplement.

You can't OD on it, it's harmless like drinking water, and it REALLY helps tendons and hand pain.

2. Take B12 supplements (Generic dosage)
3. Take FishOil with medical grade DHA. (serious here, the cheapo's are worthless and won't help, ask at the pharmacy)
4. Stop when it hurts, stand up, walk around, and come back after 5 minutes.

I'm still having minor pain here and there. But I can type 8hrs as a full-time programmer and then program at home for fun too without much pain at all. I used to be sore about 15 minutes in to work after 10hrs of sleep.

MSM is literally the best thing I've used. Night and day difference but you can't be scared to take a higher dose. Read first though and you'll find the same thing I'm telling you.

Good for strength, not great for RSI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42597865)

I own and have tried one of these Powerballs to treat RSI. I'm a software dev and so have wrist trouble fairly often. I think the Powerball does a good job at strengthening your wrist and your grip. It didn't do a great deal for my RSI (though I didn't do the 10 minutes a day thing very regularly).

However, after moving to a vertical mouse (Evoluent) and split keyboard (Kinesis Freestyle), my RSI hasn't re-occured.

Ergonomics - 1, Powerball - 0.

Yes, but I wish I could use it (1)

hymie! (95907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42597987)

I have (or had) one, and liked it, but I can't find it. I got tired of being stared at on the Washington DC subway with a large round thing in my hands making a loud whirring grinding noise. It's in a closet somewhere.

Did it actually help? I don't honestly know. It felt good.

no (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#42598123)

No, they won't fix carpal tunnel problems.
And asking it is helps 'wrist pain' is pretty meaningless since there are so many way to get wrist pain.

Also, acupuncture cures nothing, and homeopathy still doesn't work.

Gryoscope ball (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42598163)

I have been using a Dyna-flex powerball for the last few years for my carpal tunnel. I find it does help with store thing my hands, wrists and whole arm.

2+2=5 (1)

sabedoria (841422) | about a year and a half ago | (#42598575)

Q: How do you get it to change color? A: it's only 20 dollars!

Good for forearm and wrist strength (1)

h4ck7h3p14n37 (926070) | about a year and a half ago | (#42598605)

I bought a Dyna-Flex PowerBall years ago, maybe '05? I have been working with computers for about 30 years, but don't have any sort of problem with my wrists, so I can't comment about using them for rehabilitation. I will say that they are good for building forearm and wrist strength, you just have to be consistent about using them and you have to be able to fight through the pain. It's kind of like tapping your foot while keeping your heel on the ground. It's easy at first, but after a short period of time it really starts to burn.

If you make a hard fist in your right hand and then rotate it clockwise, you'll fire the muscles in your forearm that the ball targets. It also works the top of your wrist, down the middle, as you try to stabilize the ball against the force of the rapidly spinning gyroscope.

The only problem I have had with mine is that it has worn out the groove that the gyroscope rotates along. This now causes the mechanism to slip while first trying to get the gyroscope up to speed.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>