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Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome A Hoax?

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the mysterious-ache-in-the-wrists dept.

Science 377

ZaMoose writes: "It seems as if all of the hoopla re: repetitive stress injury (RSI) in the high-tech sector might just be group hysteria. Canadian officials are quoted in the following article as saying that many RSI cases have mysteriously 'gone away.'" Hard to deny that extended typing sessions can have painful after-effects, but at issue here is how serious (and permanent) those effects can be. I know plenty of painful typists complete with wrist guards and wincing who probably won't agree that their symptoms aren't genuine.

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377 comments

oh jesus christ no (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#159788)

now we're going to have to listen to that guy who sued mattel for RSI whine and whine and whine

Re:Never been a serious problem for me (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#159789)

So, how old are you? For every RSI sufferer, there was one age at which he could say "Never been a problem for me" and another, later age at which the problem was very real. These things don't come in a day, you know.

My RSI started in my mid thirties, after about 15 years of steady, daily typing. After only 14 years of steady, daily typing, I could say "Never been a problem for me." Can't say that any more.

It's amazing to me how much people who have never experienced a particular problem can reach the conclusion that "the problem is somewhat hysterical." For decades they couldn't figure out what caused ulcers, so the conclusion was that it was the result of not handling stress well. Blame the victim! Now they've found a virus that causes it. So sorry for our total lack of compassion.

Shit. Getting medical info from Slashdot is even worse than getting computer news from the AMA.

CT History (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#159796)

Back in the old days, before keyboards, etc, the most frequent victims of carpal tunnel were miners, eg coal miners. The repetitive motion of flexing the wrist to swing a pick would damage the nerves in the carpal tunnel. So, you have a tough coal miner, back in 1830 or so, with no workers' comp, no health insurance, no disability coverage, twelve kids to feed, etc, and he stops working because of carpal tunnel, and that's a hoax?

I had a start of carpal tunnel about five years ago from working way too hard and relaxing only by playing a musical instrument that also contributed to the problem. I've slowed down, and the problems have cleared up. But it was real.

OTOH, this slashdot story is a hoax.

I think most people are missing the point (1)

Vermifax (3687) | more than 13 years ago | (#159817)

Including the author of the story.

The article isn't saying these people don't feel pain and discomfort. They are just saying it is being misdiagnosed as RSI.

Now, I currently don't have an opinion as to whether it is real or not, but implying that people aren't experiencing pain doesn't seem to be the goal of the article



Vermifax

Congratulations (3)

Uruk (4907) | more than 13 years ago | (#159820)

It seems they've proved that malingering is possible. I guess that means that the disease doesn't exist.

Re:A hoax? (2)

rho (6063) | more than 13 years ago | (#159822)

I use a wristwrest and try to keep my wrists/arms/hands at happy 90 degree angles like in those oh-so-nifty ergo diagrams,

The wristwrest may be helping to cause some of your problems. The best typing position for your hands is not with your wrists resting on anything, but suspended over the keyboard.

The same goes for mousing around -- no wrist rest for that either. My RSI problems come more from the mouse than the keyboard, which is why I switched to the Kensington TurboMouse trackballs.

Isn't it simply a matter of agenda (4)

gelfling (6534) | more than 13 years ago | (#159824)

Take the source for what it's worth. Isn't the newspaper source a decidedly conservative press with an axe to grind against the injured, as well as every other group it sees as a threat?

After all in this country, the US, we have an adminstration that makes pronouncements on the safe level of arsenic in the water not based on safety but on the cost to do it. And it threw out the Americans with Disabilities Act as it applies to municipal facilities solely on the cost to implement? So maybe it's the same thing here - politicized science that lobbyists trot out as truth?

Next thing you know they'll dicount mental illness because it's only in your mind.

What utter bullshit. (1)

jaffray (6665) | more than 13 years ago | (#159825)

Ten years ago, virtually no one had heard of ergonomics. Meanwhile, the number of people using computers all day at work, and often all night at home (with the rise of PCs and then the Internet), skyrockets.

This corresponds with a skyrocketing number of RSI cases a few years later.

Now, any self-respecting workplace gives some attention to ergonomic issues, often gives workplace training with education on the importance of taking breaks, setting up workstations appropriately, etc, and even relatively uninformed computer users are aware of the dangers and warning signs.

And gosh, whaddaya know, the number of RSI cases might be going down. (I say "might" because I see no numbers quoted in that article, and don't trust their quoted sources worth a damn.)

There is plenty of solid research backing up the validity of repetitive-strain-induced tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. The fact that it's difficult to externally verify any given case, and might attract malingerers, does not refute this.

(Do not mistake reluctance to see a given doctor with evidence that the person is malingering ... many doctors are uneducated and useless on RSI issues, many employers want employees to see company-recommended doctors who will dismiss the employee's symptoms so they won't be liable for disability claims or workplace accomodations, some doctors will try to force you to have inappropriate (but profitable) surgery or else accuse you of faking it, etc. The health care system is not necessarily an injured patient's friend.)

And yes, if you tell me to my face that the six months I spent in constant pain and unable to work or type, and the months I spent in physical therapy to fix the postural problems which were reducing bloodflow to my arms and increasing my proneness to injury, and the years of stretching and strengthening exercises to get my arms back to something close to healthy condition modulo occasional recurring pain and inability to resume some of my previous hobbies ... if you tell me that all that was hysteria, you will soon have many decidedly nonpsychosomatic injuries to deal with.

Re:A possible cause... (1)

sacherjj (7595) | more than 13 years ago | (#159826)

Sheesh, I hate stereotypes.

Stereotypes are the basis of a lot of humor. Phonetic spellings are welcome. I would never survive without spell checkers!

Feel free to lay those America sterotypes on me. I usually just get a chuckle out of them. :)

A possible cause... (3)

sacherjj (7595) | more than 13 years ago | (#159827)

...is that the computer programming boom has fallen somewhat, so those who have only heard of HTML can no longer get work, so less people are doing less work at the computer causing less RSI?

Eeh? (Thrown in for the Canadians.)

Speaking from personal experience... (2)

hpa (7948) | more than 13 years ago | (#159828)

I would like to say that RSI is definitely real, and that it definitely can be made better with heat treatments, better ergonomics, etc. Switching to an ergonomic keyboard has done wonders for my hands, but they still hurt every now and then. Hand massages seem to help, too.

Re:A hoax? (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 13 years ago | (#159832)

That's the deal - a few genuine cases and a lot of suspicious wanna-be ones. Seems there was a big outbreak of monitor-radiation miscarriages many years ago as well.

Re:What a load of crap! (2)

elmegil (12001) | more than 13 years ago | (#159839)

It's probably worth noting that RSI's are not confined to "tech" industries either. My wife's father had surgery to both his wrists for carpal tunnel somewhere over a decade ago. His job? Stocker at a grocery store. I don't think he would have put himself through the pain of that surgery for a "hoax" either.

Re:A hoax? (2)

Ween (13381) | more than 13 years ago | (#159840)

As someone who suffers from RSI, i can definately tell you that you are selling yourself short with Aspirin. Ibuprophin is a much better choice. Not only does it relieve pain, but it also reduces swelling, a major helper for carpel tunnel pain. As always consult a doctor, but i take 600mg twice a day, and you can take 600mg up to every 4 hours i believe without ill effects.


Tis better to be silent and thought a fool, than to open

Ever hear of cause and effect? (2)

bobdehnhardt (18286) | more than 13 years ago | (#159846)

I suffered from RSI for a while, mainly in my right wrist (not being a touch typist, my typing "style" uses my right hand more than my left). It got so bad at one point, I couldn't hold my mouse. A wrist brace, heat treatments and anti-inflamatories helped, but six years later I still get a twinge when I've been typing too much.

I think the article contains its own answer to the question it raised: RSI has significantly declined in computer-related injuries mainly because of heightened awareness of ergonomics. I know in my own case, I can go a lot longer because my desk is the right height, my keyboard is at a comfortable height and angle, I chair is more comfortable and holds me at a better posture....

This whole debate reminds me of Y2K. Everyone perceived it as a huge fiasco in the making (which it was, in 1998), and dumped $millions into fixes, redesigns and contingency plans. Then, when the actual fallout was insignificant, rather than congratulating IT for averting a disaster, people asked "So what was the fuss all about? Why did we spend so much preparing for nothing?" Guess what, folks, if you didn't spend so much, it (probably) wouldn't have been "nothing".

So in response to a medical condition, let's increase awareness and knowledge about ergonomics, develop solutions, roll it out industry-wide, and perform audits check and maintain compliance. Then, when the condition declines, let's label the whole thing "hysteria".

Brilliant.

Real vs. Fake (1)

mTor (18585) | more than 13 years ago | (#159848)

They should have classified it as permanent vs. temporary pain. RSI definitely does exist. WHen I type for a long time I do feel pain in my hand and it is real (my brain determines that reality at least). There might not be much physical evidence but the pain is pain.

Prevention is now better... (2)

Overt Coward (19347) | more than 13 years ago | (#159850)

... because of the danger of RSI, people in general are being a bit more careful, which has led to fewer problems.

As for myself, I never had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but I have developed nasty cases of tendonitis during long coding sessions. However, I've found that if I arrange my workspace in such a way that both of my elbows are resting on the desk when I type, I almost never have any problems.

Just because I've found a way to minimize chances for reducing future re-occurrances of my tendonitis doesn't mean I didn't have a real problem in the past...

--

RSI is very real. (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#159853)

So is group hysteria, and Carpal Tunnel is probably the *least* common RSI.
If we had everyone actually coming down with carpal tunnel syndrome, then we'd have a lot of *extremely* unhappy people. The surger is harsh, I believe they do both wrists at once, and you lose the use of your hands during recovery, so you can't even wipe your own ass.

Ergonomics are as important as ever; I've had debilitating wrist pains from typing before. Granted, I never blamed them on my employer, or carpal tunnel syndrome. I blame myself, for a) not exercising enough and b) not bothering to watch my posture.

maybe overblown, but not a hoax (5)

dutky (20510) | more than 13 years ago | (#159854)

I am certain that the pain in my right arm is no hoax or mass delusion, but it doesn't seem to be nearly as debilitating as I have heard other people claim their injuries to be. It also doesn't seem to be due to typing, so much as to use of a mouse or other pointing device in the wrong position.

In the three years that I have been suffering from this pain (usually just a slight twinge in my wrist and the palm of my hand, but occasionally reaching up to my elbow or even to my shoulder) I have not had to undergo surgery, wear a brace, or even take any kind of pain killer or anti-inflamatory drug. What I have done is obtain a host of assistive ergonomic devices (wrist support pads for keyabord and mouse, and assorted 'ergonomic' keyboards and trackballs) and pay extra attention to the position of my arms and body while I'm working at the computer.

I've spent several hundred dollars on these accomodations (all of it my own money) and I've been able to reduce the pain from the arm numbing agony I was experiencing in 1999 to slight twinges in the hand and wrist. There may be folks for whom CT, and other RSI's, are real debilitating disorders, but not for me.

That said, I wouldn't be suprised to find lots of folk exagerating the seriousness of their problems in order to get some concession out of employers in tight labor markets. Similarly, I wouldn't be suprised to find that, with the loosening of the labor market, there has also been a reduction in CT/RSI claims: the sqeaky wheel quiets down when there's less grease to be had, if it knows what's good for it.

want to know what it's like? (2)

austad (22163) | more than 13 years ago | (#159857)

Ever want to know what carpal tunnel feels like?

1. Locate a friend and an 8 pound sledge hammer
2. Place your wrist on an anvil (train tracks work nicely too).
3. Have your friend bring the sledge hammer up over his head, and swing downwards allowing your wrist to stop the motion of the hammer before it hits the anvil.

Over the next few days/months, you will experience the exact same feeling that people with carpal tunnel experience. Fun isn't it?

Re:A possible cause... (1)

twoflower (24166) | more than 13 years ago | (#159860)

Does this mean that we Canadians should throw in phonetic spellings for the Americans?

Sheesh, I hate stereotypes.


--

Author also states CFS isn't real either (1)

Amigan (25469) | more than 13 years ago | (#159861)

As a spouse of a CFS sufferer, I can tell you that it's quite real. I've seen her go from a nearly 4.0 undergrad (3.87 at graduation time) to bedridden without being able to concentrate on anything for more than 30 minutes at a time - in a span of 12 months. While I can agree that too many people hook onto the current 'fad' disease, there are also true sufferers.

RSI In Australia (1)

sien (35268) | more than 13 years ago | (#159876)

My father was a workers compensation lawyer for the Australian government and worked on RSI cases.
In about 90 or so they got all the medical evidence together and they could say one thing for sure, RSI is not pathalogical, i.e. there is no test that you can do that can show some sort of specific cell damage that corroborates the condition. So the Australian government was able to throw out most of the RSI cases. My dad used to say that it was easy with medical experts on RSI. The were neatly divided into 2 categories, those who 'believed' in RSI and those who didn't, you picked your doctor and got your opinion. Unfortunately the judges also knew this...
But this does not mean it does not exist. It may be something mental. New Scientist a year or so back had a really interesting thing about how it might be a mental problem from rapid activation of certain areas of the brain.
Anyway, my wrists hurt and I should get back to coding ;-)

Re:A hoax? (1)

thrig (36791) | more than 13 years ago | (#159880)

You can also change your diet; the modern Western diet is skewed towards promoting inflammation. I've changed my diet, and my tendonitis has gone down considerably. Typing less would eliminate the problem, but hey...

http://www.drweil.com/database/display/0,1412,72 ,0 0.html

http://www.drweil.com/archiveqa/0,2283,1580,00.h tm l

not like silicone breast implants (2)

oni (41625) | more than 13 years ago | (#159889)

so let me get this straight - injuries from silicone breast implants [junkscience.com] are real because people feel they have been hurt, but carpal tunnel syndrome isn't real because geeks feel they have been hurt??

Re:Never been a serious problem for me (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#159894)

> I have always had terrible posture when typing at my computer. Considering the way I sit, and the fact that my keyboard is not an ergonomic keyboard, the fact that I do not have RSI leads me to believe that a lot of the problem is somewhat hysterical. Every once in a while, after a long session of typing in a bad position, I will feel some pain. If I simply take a break for a few minutes, or adjust my position, I am fine.

Ditto here.

Most frequent problem: pain on the back of my right wrist caused by excessive mouse activity during marathon sessions (2-3 days of 6-12 hours) of real-time-strategy games, which require repetitive and accruate drag-and-drop operations.

Most effective solution: Stop when it starts to hurt. Duh. I lay off the games for a week. Pain goes away within 24 hours.

At the orkplace, my posture is atrocious - wrists resting on the desk in front of my non-ergo keyboard. Screen is dead-center at eye-level, 18 inches away from me. Seat is typically tilted backwards by about 5-10 degrees. Feet are resting on a footrest, as opposed to dangling in midair (OK, I do one thing right!). Elbows typically sit on chair arms. 8 hours a day, 10 years, no problems. Lighting? I'm a cave-dweller, yanking out fluorescents on sight. The 21" screen provides most of the light for my workspace. 1280x1024 and small fonts, woo-hoo! More stuff to read on each screenful of information. (OK, I do one other thing right - rather than reading screens in landscape mode, e.g. 80x24, I read in portrait, e.g. 80x80 strips. Eyes scan down the screen, not across. Feels like reading a book.)

Conclusion: RSI and other ergo problems are real. They are also entirely preventable.

Re:Never been a serious problem for me (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#159895)

Argh, hit "submit" instead of "preview".

What was important about my atrocious posture at work was that (for me), it's comfortable.

If it ceases to be comfortable, I change it or rejig my workspace until it is comfortable.

I'd also like to modify my conclusion somewhat. I'd originally written:
> Conclusion: RSI and other ergo problems are real. They are also entirely preventable.

I'd like to add one thing -- RSI is entirely preventable in my office.

A few posts ago, someone made a comment to the effect that many RSI sufferers were just lookin' for a settlement. While I somewhat sympathize with the sentiment, I'd like to take issue with it.

While I have no doubt that some RSI sufferers are (I'm using the stereotype for a reason, bear with me) lazy, good-fer-nuthin' civil-servant clerks or other data entry drones just lookin' for a fat disability check or settlement, I'd point out that it's precisely those low-skill, high-stress, Dilbertian-work-environment jobs where the workers are the least likely to be able to fix their ergonomic problems.

At my office, I'll ask a few cubemates if they hate fluorescents. If enough of us in a given cube-grouping agree they suck, we come to a consensus about which bulbs we can yank without disturbing those who do like lots of light, and we yank the offending bulbs. Likewise, if there's glare from a nearby window making it hard to read the monitor, we block the window. Or we move the gear around the cube so the window's no longer a factor. Presto-changeo, no more eyestrain.

Doing either of these things at a government workplace would probably be grounds for termination.

I have a hunch that for RSI, it's the same deal. My posture sux0rz, but I feel more comfortable that way than The Right Way? My employer doesn't care. I get tired and want to walk away from the desk for a while? I will.

If I worked for the government, I'd probably have the Ergo Police writing me up for violations and forcing me to configure my workspace in a way that would give me an RSI, and my manager writing me up for taking 10.5 minutes, rather than 4.2 minutes, whenever I take a dump.

The next time you think most RSI complainants are BSing, consider the working environment of the typical RSI complainant.

If the typical low-level gummint data entry drone is more likely (by virtue of being $STEREOTYPICAL) to exaggerate their symptoms, keep in mind that (by virtue of being supervised by equally-$STEREOTYPICAL managers!) they're also more likely to have the symptoms as a direct result of their employer's poor working environment.

Never been a serious problem for me (1)

sirket (60694) | more than 13 years ago | (#159905)

I have always had terrible posture when typing at my computer. Considering the way I sit, and the fact that my keyboard is not an ergonomic keyboard, the fact that I do not have RSI leads me to believe that a lot of the problem is somewhat hysterical. Every once in a while, after a long session of typing in a bad position, I will feel some pain. If I simply take a break for a few minutes, or adjust my position, I am fine.

In fact, my biggest problem has been in my right shoulder. I am having a problem with tendonitis as a result of the awkward way I sit at my desk. (My monitor is off to the side and so i sit somewhat sideways .... very bad for the back.

-sirket

Re:I'm glad... (1)

Vlastyn (61832) | more than 13 years ago | (#159907)

disability you say?
how wonderful that would be... *sigh*

In related news... (3)

Ted V (67691) | more than 13 years ago | (#159912)

In related news, the moon landing was a hoax, the holocaust never happened, and the American Indians are actually the long lost 12 tribes of Israel.

People can call anything a hoax and drag up enough circumstancial "evidence" to "prove" their point. More often than not, it's a case of people not wanting to believe the truth, or creating controversy.

-Ted

Yup - they're real .... (2)

taniwha (70410) | more than 13 years ago | (#159916)

but probably more complex than just "my keyboard made my wrists hurt" - I know I was typing for 15 years before my tendonitis kicked in and I had to wear a wrist brace for 5 years more. On the other hand I'm pretty sure that the thing that kicked off my pain was not typing - but having kids and all the lifting and bouncing etc involved .... getting a laptop seemed to be the thing that finally fixed it for me - maybe not just because of the less stressfull angle that I hold my wrists at but also because I use a traditional keyboard a bit as well which means I have lots of different ways to work

Re:I've felt the pain... (1)

blazer1024 (72405) | more than 13 years ago | (#159919)

Here's something that I gather from your statement (as well as my own experience)... there seems to be a good possibility that it is a temporary condition!

If that's the case, you wouldn't need to go see a doctor, file any damn lawsuits, or wear any braces.. all you would need to do is get a wrist pad or a Natural keyboard.

I know that I only experience any sort of pain after a long typing or mouse using session (such as writing code or playing a game for hours in a row)... if I lay off it for awhile, I'm fine. Could the same be said for all RSI sufferers?

Whatever (2)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 13 years ago | (#159921)

1) Repeated repetitive movements cause pain in both my wrists. I tend to avoid the activities that cause the pain, so I have avoided CTS to date.
2) A friend of mine has this condition, and I am sorry, but seeing her struggle to pick up a fucking cup of coffee is no hoax.

No one agrees on my treatment either... (1)

heliocentric (74613) | more than 13 years ago | (#159922)

I have RSI pain and I used a tens unit for pain releif and there appear to be two camps on how that helps pain - one being it alters the brain since you are sending signals using the body's communication and the other is that by stimulating blood flow to the region it helps with injured tissue restoration. So for a pain that apparently not everyone agrees is real I'm fighting it with a treatment not everyone can agree how it helps - kinda makes sense in the end I guess...

What a load of crap! (3)

webword (82711) | more than 13 years ago | (#159927)

Comment: Repetitive stress injuries are real. Even if they are a matter of "hysteria", the pain is real. If a person thinks they are in pain, then they are actually in pain. Pain is subjective. Perception is reality...

Resource: The Facts About Repetitive Strain Injuries [webword.com]

Edward Shorter, Ph.D. -- His Career Path (4)

webword (82711) | more than 13 years ago | (#159928)

Edward Shorter is the history of medicine chairman at the University of Toronto that is quoted in the article. Here is a page [ozemail.com.au] that seems like a review of his work on RSI. Mildly useful.

From Paralysis to Fatigue: A History of Psychosomatic Illness in the Modern Era [pipex.com]

The Kennedy Family and the Story of Mental Retardation [temple.edu]

Bedside Manners [nyu.edu]

So, the point of these links is this: This dude's whole career is based on bashing illness. He seems to think that almost any illness or disease is in the mind.

The pain in your wrist, elbow, arm, and back is fake. Do you hear me? Fake! Just ask Edward...

Read the Article, Dipstick (2)

zpengo (99887) | more than 13 years ago | (#159960)

The article is not about whether they hurt, it's about whether they are a permanaent injury, or something that magically goes away if people can get away from their keyboards for a while.

Stop Already (4)

zpengo (99887) | more than 13 years ago | (#159961)

The issue isn't whether repetitive stress injuries are "real" or "painful", it's whether they are permanent injuries. The point of the article is that million-dollar lawsuits may not be in order when the symptoms go away after a while.

I'm tired of all these Karma whores writing "insightful" and "informative" responses to articles they haven't read.

Alex Chiu's RSI Rings (5)

zpengo (99887) | more than 13 years ago | (#159962)

Doesn't Alex Chiu [alexchiu.com] have something to combat repetitive stress injuries?

Hoax? Did you read the f*#*& article?!? (1)

DangerTenor (104151) | more than 13 years ago | (#159964)

Like many other folks here, I had problems with RSI such as carpal tunnel syndrome, and have had improvements to my keyboard/desk/mouse/etc which have improved my situation.

The article said nothing about a hoax, but rather that it was real pain introduced by the brain but perhaps without physical cause. A hoax would have an entirely different meaning; in that people didn't feel pain and were claiming RSIs to "MAKE MONEY FAST". This isn't the case.

Are you a touch-typist? (1)

brassman (112558) | more than 13 years ago | (#159971)

It could be interesting to find out what sort of training in 'keyboarding' the typical RSI sufferer had.

When I took it, it was called 'typing' umpty-many years ago, and the old battleaxe* who taught the class kept telling me to put my feet flat on the floor and straighten up. I really thought she was making a big deal out of nothing -- but here it is a couple of lifetimes later (How old are you?), and when my hands get tired, I stop and it goes away... unlike an RSI.

*I mean that affectionately. Really.


--

who sponsored this research? (1)

payslee (123537) | more than 13 years ago | (#159981)

I'm dying to know where the funds for this "research" came from.

I first got carpal when I was 21, before I was a tech-geek, before I'd ever heard of it, and way before I even had health insurance. I got it under control with way too many ibuprofens daily, and by stopping all "unnecessary" manual activities: reading books, sewing, crochet...

Ibuprofen helped, and I took it for seven years every day, until it started giving me an ulcer last fall.

Since then I've switched to a much better alternative for treatment, lifting weights at the gym. I wish any of the doctors I had seen had recommended this method of control to me, since nothing else I have tried has been effective without other side-effects. But carpal is still always there, I'll always be prone to it (as long as I stay in my writing profession), but at least I can pick up a pen, and open a jar, and live like a normal person.

The article mentions the woman who's carpal "went away like it had never been" after her company spent all kinds of money on a dictaphone for her. Did it not cross anyone's minds that perhaps this device helped her? Or that her increased awareness of how she sat and what activities caused her pain allowed her to adjust it?

Carpal is more prevalent than ever. When I started wearing a brace years ago, almost everyone assumed I'd done a header on my bike or otherwise injured myself "acutely". They were surprised when I told them it was chronic, because I was so young. But I was apparently just being a trend-setter. In my office of 25 or so, about 6 or 7 of us either wear braces, do physical therapy or have those kooky side-impact keyboards (funded from our own pockets).

Perhaps these researches are frustrated because they look at medidal conditions as a specific set of symptoms that can be "cured" by some drug or surgery. I agree carpal is not like that. As a result of my complete lack of success getting any medical treatment or even good advice for it, my entire view of doctors and my willingness to put trust in them has been greatly lessened. I miss it. I want to believe that when something hurts, they can make it better.

These people are on crack if they think we're all torturing ourselves just because we don't like our jobs and can't admit it to ourselves, or whatever psychological justification they're going for. I am really happy for those who have gone into remission, but how dare they use some special-interest funded study (HMO's perhaps?) to tell the rest of us we're just imagining that we're injured.

Re:A hoax? (1)

nojomofo (123944) | more than 13 years ago | (#159983)

Oof. You might be helping your hands out with the Ibuprofin, but you're definitely not doing your stomach any good. I'm pretty sure that studies have shown that people who take Ibuprofin are at increased risk for ulcers. (Yes, studies can show just about anything, but I think these are legit).

RSI for me? Yes. Carpal Tunnel? No. (1)

bildstorm (129924) | more than 13 years ago | (#159989)

I have RSI like anything. Comes back every so often. Like any body part, if you strain something it stays for quite some time. Being a tech person, I tend to type a lot. To get rid of RSI permanently, I'd need 3 months' holiday. I can't fall behind like that, so....

Oh well, maybe someday I'll get done with typing.

My problems (2)

ryanw (131814) | more than 13 years ago | (#159992)

I'm a Unix Admin and C/Perl coder/scripter ... I have had various degrees of these types of pains. They way I could remove them is taking three golf balls into the palms of my hands (palms up) and rotate the balls around for a few minutes each day. The pains went away with in weeks and have not had pains for quite some time now.

Every once in a while if I feel the pains to even start to come back .. i'll get the ol' three golf balls out for a few minutes ....

Ryan

RSI forever (2)

fleener (140714) | more than 13 years ago | (#159999)

Once you have a genuine RSI injury, you never recover - you live with it. I had wrist, hand and shoulder pain and went through two months of physical therapy, and now work at an ergonomic bi-level table. I'm fine most of the time, but pain can come back if I use my PC improperly (particularly with mousing) or I stop doing certain flexing exercises. A healthy person can do all sorts of "improper" things with their PC use and think RSI is a hoax, but after you sustain an RSI injury it makes all those simple things much more prone to pain. I relish the old days of 6+ hour sessions at the computer, not giving a damn what angle my arm was at, where my wrist was sitting, etc.

I'm confused (1)

ritlane (147638) | more than 13 years ago | (#160006)

>I know plenty of painful typists complete with
>wrist guards and wincing who probably won't
>agree that their symptoms aren't genuine.


I don't think I haven't never seen double negatives that ain't that bad neither.

I'm sorry, I don't normally poke fun like this, as I am a terrible typist. Mod me down if you like, or up if you smiled.

---Lane

Swamp gas! (1)

sandidge (150265) | more than 13 years ago | (#160007)

"It is our conclusion that RSIs do not exist. The culprit in 99% of the cases is swamp gas."

Your government

real pain (1)

Twiddle (160467) | more than 13 years ago | (#160010)

SO if the pain myteriously dispears. It must not exist. Much like the headache I had last week. What is this the middle ages???

The Science of Medicine (2)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 13 years ago | (#160011)

Seems to me that most "discoveries" in medicine nowadays (at least in America) follow a similar pattern:

- Medical journal makes announcement of new breakthrough treatment/drug/cause/prevention technique. Rest of medical community hails this as a major breakthrough.
- American public spends billions of dollars, either their own or their insurance companies, on said breakthrough.
- Fast forward 2-3 years, when another medical journal reports findings that are the exact opposite of what the original journal found.
- Repeat until public is paranoid of everything, and quite willing to pay any amount of money to cure the "affliction of the month".

Wow, that's cynical even for me. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of doctors, researchers, etc out there doing some great work. Mostly I blame the media I guess (yeah, there's an easy target). Every disease is a death sentence, every cure a life saver on the 10:00 news.

Maybe all the diseases they mention were real! (2)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 13 years ago | (#160012)

I mean if it takes over a hundred years to discover that most stomach ulcers are caused by a bacteria; perhaps all these diseases are symptoms of a viruses that spread and only very occasionally cause these symptoms in some of the affected people.

After all, most diseases that we hear of are the nasty ones. But nasty diseases don't tend to last as well as the (mostly) innocuous ones.

Perhaps CTS is caused by a virus that has passed its epidemic! Just because they can't find a cause, doesn't mean that there isn't one. If there was a virus that weakens the nerves in hands or something, how would we know? Who would look for it?

Maybe there was a virus that caused low blood sugar in the 70s too.

Or perhaps not... ;-)

/. misrepresenting the facts again (5)

issachar (170323) | more than 13 years ago | (#160015)

I don't know why I'm saying this, because /. is perpetually misrepresenting the articles it links to, but the article in question DOES NOT say that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome doesn't exist. Rather it says that there does not appear to be a link between keyboard use and carpal tunnel syndrome. (i.e. Office workers using regular keyboards, have the same incidence of carpal tunnel as the rest of society).

I suppose that if the editors of /. were told that they were not infected with HIV, they would conclude that AIDS is a big hoax...

Pain != Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (5)

Golias (176380) | more than 13 years ago | (#160022)

My coach in high school used to make a big deal about the difference between pain and injury. Pain in your wrist is just pain in your wrists (probably from tendonitis; a swelling of the tendons commonly caused by things like bad tennis form, long hours playing the old Pac Man arcade game, or using the torure devices known as the PC keyboard and mouse). Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is damage caused by your swolen tendons constricting around the bundle of nerves that pass through your wrist to your hands. It is an injury. A serious and crippling one.

If you have pain in your wrist that doesn't go away after a day away from the keyboard, it does not mean you have permanent RSI damage yet. Change your ergonomics and/or work habits, and you may be back to being your old self. Or you could ignore the pain, pop a couple asprin, and end up crippling yourself. Your call.

BTW: If you have tendonitis, a lot of doctors will tell you to take Advil (or a generic version of it). That's because Advil is an anti-inflamitory drug that actually reduces the swelling in your wrist. Since the swolen tendons is what is causign all the friction (which causes more pain and more swelling), reducing it is a Good Thing. Other pain killers will 1: not reduce the swelling, and 2: ease the pain, allowing you to cheerfully type away and hurt yourself more.

In spite of articles like this... take care of your hands. Getting along without them would be tough.

The medical condition is real. (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 13 years ago | (#160026)

Pain is far more complicated than most people recko.

for example, with hypnotism you can cause someone to experience and displayed the most amazing and diverse display of medical symptoms, all of which when examined by a doctor would be completely convincing.

Under such a situation, you could even have surgury ordered. But since the original cause would have been a hypnotic session, the symptoms would always return.

I do not recommend this as a personal experiment.

Under such a situation, the symptoms would be drastically real, regardless of the source. The problem is, of course, if you say to some one that it is "all in their mind" that the immediate reaction is that it is not real, that it is a fantasy. What that critic would need would be to live with a hynotically induced headache or toothache for a few days. This would be convincing as far was how much a fantasy it is. It would, of course, be under-helpful to criticise the person all along that they were imagining it all. The pain is real.

What all this seems to indicate is that there are multiple causes for the set of symptoms for Carpal Tunnel. And that mental conditions can contribute to the medical condition

and that the medical condition is quite quite real. Of course, do they know what it really is?

The list of hysterical diseases in the article is fascinating, but does not make even those conditions less real. Mis-diagnosed, maybe, but still real.

Of course, how are they going to treat this? just shout at everyone that they are hoaxing?

feh.

Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

I need to find a different career. (2)

schwap (191462) | more than 13 years ago | (#160035)

I am coming to believe that after many years of working in the computer field, working on an oil rig, or on a deep-sea trawler in the north Atlantic might be a bit safer. The dangers are understood, the safty regulations are in place and injuries are tangible.

Cause...effect (1)

tigris (192178) | more than 13 years ago | (#160036)

I'd bet the jobs that caused the carpel tunnel syndrome have mysteriously "gone away" as well.

Go ahead and deny it... (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 13 years ago | (#160037)

It'll help my case against the keyboard industry when I sue them. Let's learn from the tobacco lawsuits -- when They try cover up something harmful, your eyeballs shoult turn to dollar signs.

pr0n every 45 minutes?! (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#160040)

Now that would give you RSI!

is this a stupid headline? (3)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#160041)

Yes. I personally know someone who has severe RSI, and I don't think she's bullshitting, as she has told me repeatedly of the pain she experiences. I too have experienced some pain from using crappy keyboards, which I have abandoned in favor of my laptops which are actually easier to use.

Definitely some people claim RSI to make their jobs easier unfairly, but I can assure you that this shit is real.

So: Don't overwork your hands, you won't get any new ones!

Re:A possible cause... (1)

core10k (196263) | more than 13 years ago | (#160044)

The sound of a protracted E does not a Canadian phrase make. Perhaps you meant Eh?

It's real for me (1)

loose_change (196779) | more than 13 years ago | (#160045)

I got carpal tunnel not so much from the computer as from other things I do in the lab. I'm a practical biochemist/molecular biologist finishing a PhD in neuroscience. When my right wrist started hurting, I trained myself to do many things left-handed. I've been dealing with CTS in stereo since 1996.

First important point: Not all repetetive strain is CTS. I cannot stress this enough. True CTS involves compression of the median nerve through the carpal tunnel which can be measured in changes in nerve conduction velocity and drops in the peak of the compound action potential. Subjectively this is felt not only as pain but as a loss of sensation and strength in specific fingers supplied by the median nerve(humb, first and middle, plus part of the ring).

Second important point: True CTS often doesn't go away. I finally complained to my doctor when after an 8 week absence from the keyboard and other laboratory techniques that gave me wrist pain the problems came back just as bad, the first day back in the lab.

Third important point: Not everyone can or will get CTS. Anatomy matters, as do other activities. Just because one person doesn't get it, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist at all.

I'd love to be able to feel my hands all the time, but I can't. Same with opening jars.

Carpal Tunnel? Or Achey, Breaky Wrist... (2)

ZeLonewolf (197271) | more than 13 years ago | (#160047)

It seems to me that there is a lot of confusion about RSI...

I think that anyone that has used a keyboard for a serious amount of time has noticed those angry red areas that tend to show up on one's wrists, especially after a long day of typing.

This is NOT to be confused with ACTUAL repetitive strain injuries! This is like the difference between getting a headache, and having migranes...

Nonesense (4)

LionKimbro (200000) | more than 13 years ago | (#160050)

Sure, my pain "just went away"...

After I quit working on the Macintosh keyboards, the puck mouse, and the picnic table "desk" that was up way too high.

Shooting pains are not just imagined. I couldn't write at home because my hand would freak at the slightest exertion of effort. My life is code and paper is my primary resource. I was crippled while working with the Macs. (OS X Server, incidentally, not that the OS matters too much, save with respect to how fast it lets you set your mouse speed.)

This reminds me of an experience with a coworker. He, a staunch republican, noted just how phony environmentalist concerns were. "A while ago, everyone was complaining about how CFC's would destroy the world by now. But see? Everything is perfectly fine." I said, "Well, yah; That's because you are forbidden to produce CFC's now, save in a few developing countries who's time is almost up." I suspect the same sort of thing going on here. We've learned to work around Carpal Tunnel, so well, that people think it's just a myth.

I have some bad news for you ... (1)

Decado (207907) | more than 13 years ago | (#160058)

The article is very clear about it I am afraid, you are mad, loopers, round the twist, insane, cuckoo and utterly bonkers. It is best for all concerned if you learn to live with it and visit a psychiatrist.

pain != RSI! (2)

bpowell423 (208542) | more than 13 years ago | (#160059)

I was out stacking hay in my barn last night (no, really, I was!) and today my shoulders were a little sore. That's what a computer guy gets for doing physical labor, but I'm not going out saying I have hay-bailing shoulder syndrome. I simply overworked myself. Now, it would be possible to overwork myself to the point of doing damage, but just because there's a little pain doesn't mean that any real, permanent damage has been done. Same with CTS. Pain in the wrists doesn't mean you have carperal tunnel syndrome. That doesn't mean that CTS doesn't exist. But I think a lot of ergo companies made a lot of money selling ergo stuff that they wouldn't have been able to sell without all the hype, or as the article put it, "hysteria".

Re:My problems (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 13 years ago | (#160060)

Every once in a while if I feel the pains to even start to come back .. i'll get the ol' three golf balls out for a few minutes ....

Yeah I find that when I start to feel wrist pain grabbing my balls and rolling them around always helps. :)

Couldn't resist, really. hehe
-

Quibbling over semantics, but... (1)

vslashg (209560) | more than 13 years ago | (#160061)

I know plenty of painful typists complete with wrist guards and wincing who probably won't agree that their symptoms aren't genuine. The article doesn't claim that the symptoms aren't genuine, just that they might not have a physical cause.

I'm glad... (3)

InsaneCreator (209742) | more than 13 years ago | (#160062)

I'm glad that that pain in my wrist is not for real. I can feel it going away already... If it was not for this article, I would still think I am in pain. :)

A Hoax? (2)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 13 years ago | (#160064)


I don't think Carpal Tunnel is a hoax, however I do think it's been way over used. I think for one thing that a number of people claiming carpal tunnel are just going after benefits, and that the massive number of people claiming injury are probably are fine. They might even believe it, one of those mind over matter things. I've felt pain at times, nothing bad mind you, but enough that I'm not willing to discount everyone.

The other thing I will say is that in MOST (not all, but most) of the cases of Carpal Tunnel I've seen, the people who get it and talk about it the most are people who need to get out more! And by get out more I mean walk further than from the computer to the mcdonalds dinner. If you're unhealthy and out of shape in general, it should come as no surprise that sitting around and using computers all day isn't going to make you a physically better peerson.

Scott

If it's not a real disease... (1)

wardomon (213812) | more than 13 years ago | (#160065)

Why is there a measurable delay in nerve impulse speed through the wrists of sufferers? Why do the muscles of the afflicted make a different "sound?" These are symptoms that can be seen on diagnostic equipment that differ from "normal" readings?

I used to think that it was all a concoction by malingerers, until I got it.

Real or imagined, the sypmtoms disappear after surgery. The pain is real, the disease is real.

Maybe for "carpal tunnel syndrome" (5)

update() (217397) | more than 13 years ago | (#160068)

I'd like to see Dr. Shorter tell my wife that the pain is all in her head. You'd have to surgically remove her hands from his throat.

On the other hand, what struck me about the article was the emphasis on carpal tunnel syndrome. My impression is that very few people have that. The term is used as shorthand for RSI injuries in general, much as people talk about having "the flu" when they get a cold. Tendonitis is far more common, in my experience -- I'd like to have seen that discussed in this context.

Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

Re:My problems (1)

CrayzyJ (222675) | more than 13 years ago | (#160069)

Chinese relaxation balls have been around for gawd knows how long and work the exact way you describe. However, relaxation balls make a relaxing hum when you get them into a rythym.

It can't be a hoax (1)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 13 years ago | (#160070)

When every I'm "viewing" the internet, my right hand and fore arm can get quite sore from over use. Though, I'm not completly sure its Carpol Tunnel or just an "over active imagination".

New hands! (1)

thelexx (237096) | more than 13 years ago | (#160076)

I want the kind that guy in Ghost in the Shell had! With the pop-out fingers that became two each...man could he type!!! :)

LEXX

Re:/. misrepresenting the facts again (5)

thelexx (237096) | more than 13 years ago | (#160077)

This is supported by my experience anyway. It isn't the keyboard which hurts me, it the damned mouse. Switched to an MS Trackball Explorer and have had 80% of my right side arm/wrist/shoulder aches disappear. Tried several other trackballs but unfortunately they just didn't quite compare to the one signed with the mark of the beast hehe. And switching pointer devices is a hell of a lot cheaper than getting a new chair and/or desk that are more ergo perfect. Hope this encourages even one person with pains on their mouse side to try an alternative because it really does help. No more bottles of generic ibuprofen on the desktop!

LEXX

RSI != Carpal Tunnel (1)

TekkonKinkreet (237518) | more than 13 years ago | (#160078)

Carpal tunnel is a specific and rather rare (among keyboard users) instance of repetitive strain injury, and one can only hope the interchangeable use throughout the article comes from the writer, not the researchers. No doubt other posters are disassembling the various logical departures in this article, so I'll restrict myself to this one: there's an inconsistency and logical break in mentioning carpal tunnel syndrome in the same damning breath as "imaginary" diseases which cause the suffere to become maniacally obsessed with the volume and texture of their semen discharges", while admitting that the former is a genuine condition seen in meat packers. "Hysterical illnesses exist" does not support "RSI claimants are hysterical." I also find it curious science to say that because a condition went away, it must have been hysterical. What about rest, ergonomics, or removal from the conditions under which it was incurred? If I were to use the same journalistic standard, I would note that claiming a famous illness is hysterical could do much to raise the profile and lecture circuit fees of a medical historian such as Dr. Edward Shorter. But though true, that would hardly be fair, would it? Of course, if my TOS goes away tomorrow, I'll owe these guys a big apology.

What about RMS and JWZ? (2)

Mall0 (252058) | more than 13 years ago | (#160088)

Okay, i will avoid the WAY TOO EASY crack on "Canadian Officials", and simply point to the fact that many people, especially those responsible for large chunks of digital life as we know it, including Richar Stallman, emacs guru, and Jamie Zawinsky, mozilla guru, suffer from something, whatever you want to call it. You should really take a look at Jamie Zawinski's excellent page [jwz.org] dealing with this fact, and only expect it to get more and more important as we progress into the age where people are typing starting at age 5.

Canadian Officials (1)

rohar (253766) | more than 13 years ago | (#160091)

I would imagine the Canadian Official who wrote this will probably take paid stress leave over the summer.
This is the new fad sweeping the Canadian government and prettymuch all unionized Canadian employees.

Apparently, if your job stresses you out, you deserve a couple of months off to alleviate the problem.




Whatcha doooo with those rollin' papers?
Make doooooobieees?

People tend to forget . . . (1)

servasius_jr (258414) | more than 13 years ago | (#160094)

that life is painful in se. Evolution has designed us to be robust enough to have a reasonable chance of living long enough to reproduce. It hasn't made us perfect. (Yeah, I know "perfect" is a loaded word. Indulge me.) A minor chronic ailment or two are the norm; being perfectly happy and healthy is incredibly rare.

And besides, they don't call it work b/c it's fun. I've never had a job that didn't entail some kind of nagging discomfort.

Not that I'm denying there are people with legitimate complaints; rather, I'd think that anything you do forty hours a week is probably going to give you some kind of trouble, be it sore feet, back pain, toe rot, sunburn, dishpan hands, or unsatisfying BMs. We're born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards, folks. It's the human condition.

RSI is probably often misdiagnosed (1)

eXtro (258933) | more than 13 years ago | (#160095)

RSI exists, but its probably often misdiagnosed. Medicine is part science and part art. Doctors know roughly how the various organs in the body work, they know roughly how medicines work, this is the science part. The artistic part comes in diagnosing people. Many ailments can't be directly tested. For instance, you go to the doctor with a headache. Tests can be run to see if you've got a detectable medical condition. You've still got a headache, so the doctor asks questions. How long do you work? Do you often feel stress? You say you put in long hours and your career and family worry you. The doctor diagnoses it as stress related.

The same thing can easily happen with RSI. You complain your arm is numb and your wrist is sore. The doctor asks you if you use a computer or type and you answer affirmatively. You're diagnosed as having RSI. RSI becomes a catch-all for people with sore joints who use computers.

Re:Swamp gas! (1)

eXtro (258933) | more than 13 years ago | (#160096)

It's the generic explanation for UFO sightings, at least on an old TV show "Project Bluebook".

Complexities (2)

nanojath (265940) | more than 13 years ago | (#160106)

I think it's worth noting that this article cuts a very big swath through a complicated issue without much apparent justification. The evidence that there's "no such thing" as SRIs is basically anectdotal, with the exception of the one rather small and unscientific study at Mayo. I think it's a little irresponsible to then go and attribute it all to "hysteria." Yes, some impressive names and titles express the same opinion. But this is not real data, not real science. On the other hand, I have witnessed first hand, with conditions from tinnitis to panic attacks, how incredibly resistant people are to the idea that their ailments stem from their neorological physiology, rather than some more esoteric doohickey in the elbow, ear or heart. So all of you writing in to say "it is TOO real!" aren't demonstrating anything either.

Re:A hoax? Lithuanian (1)

moksliukas (301561) | more than 13 years ago | (#160109)

That would explain why RSI is not a very big deal in Lithuania (see my previous post #19): we do not have a very developed law system that would allow to make lawsuits, so, there is no incentive to pretend that RSI is a widespread thing.

Lithuania (3)

moksliukas (301561) | more than 13 years ago | (#160110)

Well, i do not know what the fuss was about. It seems that the only people that were worried with this kind of thing came from developed countries, and here in Lithuania noone seems to care. I don't even know if there is a direct translation for RSI in Lithuanian. Maybe it is just because we have other more important problems.

A lot of people seem to be missing the point. (1)

dhovis (303725) | more than 13 years ago | (#160113)

I think a lot of people did not read the article.

It does NOT say that Carpel Tunnel Syndrom does not exist. It says that Carpel Tunnel Syndrom is not caused by RSI.

In fact, it says that on average, 10% of the population has it at any given time, irregardless of whether they use a computer.

Many people seem to be posting "I know someone with RSI and their pain is real". The article agrees that their pain is probably real, but says that RSI is not the cause, and therefore ergonomics may not be the answer.

I get the feeling reading this article that very little scientific study has gone into all this, and now that real results are becoming available, it is starting to look like a bunch of misinformed hype.
--

Re:A hoax? (1)

dhovis (303725) | more than 13 years ago | (#160114)

Can you prove that your symptoms are due to RSI and could not have been caused by anything else?

Carpel tunnel syndrom makes it more difficult to type, yes, agreed. The article does not dispute that. The question is: "Did typing cause your carpel tunnel syndrom?". How do you know for sure that it was not caused by, say, a virus? a bacterial infection? Something else?

The article says that the rate of carpel tunnel syndrom is constant whether people use a computer or not. Sounds like you can rule out RSI as a cause of CTS.
--

Case-by-case (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 13 years ago | (#160117)

Certain positions strain my wrists and hands; certain other positions don't.

Given that I can spend upwards of 100 hours a week on a keyboard, it's obvious I spend most of that time in positions that don't.

Some people may not be able to find such positions on available hardware and workspaces. OSHA rules meant to encourage employers to correct that problem were, predictably, turfed by the current administration.

Should everyone pay for that in terms of higher keyboard prices to cover lawsuits? I don't think we do. Fry's Electronics in San Jose has a big stack of keyboards priced at $2.99 each. (Ironically, they had the best sound and feel of any of the dozen models on the shelf; except the Enter key, which clanked like a Daihatsu trunk lid...)

The two phrases that best describe this issue are "IANAL" and "YMMV".

--Blair

Hmm... (1)

Salieri (308060) | more than 13 years ago | (#160119)

I guess the Y2K bug was a hoax too, since there wasn't any apocolypse. Not even a downed power plant or a stock market crash.

A very profitable hoax, though! Oh, to know COBOL...

--------------------------------

Re:A hoax? (2)

tb3 (313150) | more than 13 years ago | (#160121)

Yup. I worked at the Radiation Protection Bureau when the radiation scare was at its height. They measured a whole pile of VDTs (Video Display Terminals, as they were called back then) using very sensitive equipment, and found some very interesting results.
Like, the VDT gave off more radiation when it was turned off than when it was turned on. Like, an electic egg-beater gave off more radiation.
You notice they're not trying to flog those lead-lined display shields any more?

"What are we going to do tonight, Bill?"

A hoax? (5)

Turq (319326) | more than 13 years ago | (#160127)

Speaking as a sufferer of carpal tunnel and other repetitive-stress-injuries, aggravated by a genetic predisposition to arthritis, RSIs are -not- a hoax. However, for every one true RSI sufferer, there're probably a dozen fakers who smell a big lawsuit/government check, and claim mysterious pains here and there. These cases up and disappear whenever someone bothers to scruntinize them.. "What? See a doctor? Oh, I, uh, feel much better now. My wrists have healed! It's a miracle!". Often, real RSI sufferers are reluctant to seek the help that goes along with a government check. We love our machines too much. I for one, suffer through the aches, stiff joints, numbness, and keep a-typin. I use a wristwrest and try to keep my wrists/arms/hands at happy 90 degree angles like in those oh-so-nifty ergo diagrams, and I may as well own stock in Bayer for all the asprin I consume. And one day, when the arthritis sets in full force, I hope somebody's perfected cybernetics to the point I can buy new hands from Wal Mart. ;)

What non-Canadians should know about the article (5)

s20451 (410424) | more than 13 years ago | (#160132)

The National Post [nationalpost.com] , the source for this article, is well known as an unashamedly pro-business newspaper. They frequently publish articles which defend existing business practices regardless of their cost - as an example, one of their regular columnists, Terrence Corcoran [nationalpost.com] , is famous for his articles denying the existence of global warming.

In this case, it's likely that the article is intended to reduce the perception of employers' liability for their employees' carpal tunnel injuries, and thereby to dissuade those who are possibly suffering from seeking redress.

oh.. (3)

glenkim (412499) | more than 13 years ago | (#160136)

I thought as long as you take breaks from typing every 45 minutes or so with a pr0n break, your wrists should be okay. Or at least one of them.

Re:Congratulations (1)

gokubi (413425) | more than 13 years ago | (#160137)

I knew it! The corporate denial machine is right again. Those people at Love Canal were just like these carpal-tunnel fakers...oh wait, it turned out that they were living in a dioxin punchbowl.

But that Gulf war syndrome. Carpal-tunnel is just like that. Just a bunch of...oh wait, turns out walking through clouds of depleted uranium dust might be bad for you.

What precautionary principle?
Gokubi

They have computers in Canada? (2)

blang (450736) | more than 13 years ago | (#160148)

Seriously though, after long hauls of using the mouse too much, I have felt severe pain, and that was no figment of my imagination. This doctor obviously knew what he wanted, and made sure his research reflected that. Nothing is better than some sensational papers to bolster your carrer, and make a few extra bucks as speaker, or expert witness.

This doctor is a moron. Of course the pain is something that shows up in the brain. That does not mean that the injury is bogus. It's because we have a central nervous system. I'd have thought that such a celebrated researcher of medicine had heard about the central nerveous system. The purpose of that is to send and receive signals to and from the brain. Damaged nerves is just as serious injury as other things. There's many documented examples of excellent piano players and golf players who get the "jips", which is a nerve injury.

I am not buying that this is hysteria. Instead I'd say that many of the common cures to the problem are bogus and snakeoil.

but there's no such thing as a placebo! (1)

condour75 (452029) | more than 13 years ago | (#160150)

I had carpal for about three weeks. Numb as all hell in the left hand (the WASD hand). Came from extended NOLF sessions. Inflammation went down on its own. I'm sure there are worse cases than mine, however.
AD: what's so unpleasant about being drunk?

Does this mean (1)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 13 years ago | (#160152)

all that stuff about going blind isn't true either?

I think it's just that the term is overused. (1)

Grim Trigger (455109) | more than 13 years ago | (#160154)

And any pain related to typing is "Carpel Tunnel" just because that's the word for it nowadays.

My right wrist gets store, mostly from using the mouse. Anybody's thumbs get sore from playing video games too long. You get sore. But like the article says, that doesn't mean it's an injury or medical condition.

I have a suspision that anybody wearing braces on their wrists and taking pain killers might not have tried the most common sense approach to soothing their pain: doing something else. Taking a break. Riding a bike. Anybody wearing a brace without seeing a doctor first is probably causing themselves more harm than good.

Engaging nitpick mode... (1)

then, it was nigh (455221) | more than 13 years ago | (#160155)

<NITPICK CATEGORY="grammar" LEVEL="pedantic">
Technically, the statement you cite does not contain a double negative, since the two negatives are not in the same clause. It is analogous to the statement, "I didn't say he wasn't here", which is not equivalent to "I did say he was here"; I might, for instance, have made no statement at all concerning the alleged presence or absence of the unnamed gentleman in question.
</NITPICK>

On a more on-topic note, I observe that my wrists perversely didn't start hurting until after I'd read all the comments here...
--
#/usr/bin/perl
require 6.0;

n (ouch) o (ugh) (5)

gnurd (455798) | more than 13 years ago | (#160157)

b (owie) u (ouch) l (ah) l (yikes) s (medic!) h (arg) i (doh) t (uuhhhh)
---

How it goes away... (1)

Zen Mastuh (456254) | more than 13 years ago | (#160158)

R.S.I. is definitely not a hoax. I have suffered the symptoms in the past due to my near-perpetual computer usage. The symptoms can be alleviated in many a fashion. It is best to take a corrective course of action as soon as the symptoms manifest themselves: if you use a computer all day, you should take a few minutes every hour or so to lightly stretch your fingers back the other way, roll your wrists, etc... You will do even better to try hatha yoga, which will further strengthen you wrists and make you more aware of your posture.

Maybe what they are seeing with R.S.I is Mind over Matter, like the case of Dr. Andrew Weil's lifelong allergy to cats being cured by a single dose of L.S.D. [cerebral.org] .

Anyway, the symptoms of R.S.I. come, and the symptoms may go away--Sounds like any other syndrome/disease to me. Why aren't these people calling all other syndromes hoaxes?

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