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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Unrelated to Typing?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the tell-that-to-my-wrists dept.

Input Devices 241

hug_the_penguin writes "Betanews is reporting about a Harvard medical school report that suggests Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is unrelated to typing at all. Suggested causes may be genetic disposition, body weight, fractured bones or even pregnancy." From the article: "Now, don't go out typing to your heart's content. Researchers still warned that improper computer use could cause different types of repetitive stress injuries, of which carpal tunnel is incorrectly described as one."

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is sooo last week... (4, Funny)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271648)


Those science geeks over at Harvard need to devote their time to studying a much more debilitating form of RSI...namely, Nintendonitis [wikipedia.org] (also known as Nintendo Thumb [wordspy.com] ) ^_^

Re:Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is sooo last week... (2, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271728)

Recalls the George Carlin routine discussing the progression from "shellshock" to "combat fatigue" to "post-traumatic stress disorder". Publish or perish means elaborating on existing ideas far beyond any appropriate abstraction level.

Re:Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is sooo last week... (4, Funny)

brunson (91995) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271908)

Everyone knows that RSI is caused by excessive masturbation. That's why I just smile knowingly at the guy with the wrist brace in the next office.

Re:Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is sooo last week... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14271751)

Those science geeks over at Harvard need to devote their time to studying a much more debilitating form of RSI...namely, Nintendonitis (also known as Nintendo Thumb) ^_^

I know you meant it in good fun, but I had to quit videogames because of RSI. In the process, my friends ridiculed me because to people who have not been affected, the problem sounds like pure fiction, or at least "It'll never happen to me, I've gamed for years!".

That's what I thought until it struck me. I've had it for 6 years now, on and off. The symptoms vary - sore shoulder, neck pains, numb arms, and (when I used to do video games) pain in fingers and tendons. Those vibrating controllers are a bitch.

In conclusion - watch out. Work actively towards preventing RSI, by making sure your workplace is ergonomic, by doing various stretching excercises (your doctor can probably give advice) etc. Once you get it, you'll have it for a looong time - unless you refrain from computer use, which is impossible in today's society.

Re:Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is sooo last week... (-1, Troll)

KingVance (815011) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271778)

Or you could just actually get up every once in a while and not sit there like a complete log day in and day out.

Re:Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is sooo last week... (0, Troll)

bad jerkface (930612) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271820)

"Or you could just actually get up every once in a while and not sit there like a complete log day in and day out."

I just said the same thing to this guy my roommates are letting sleep on the couch. Should I hope he gets nintendonitis, or should I hope he gets a fscking job?

Re:Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is sooo last week... (4, Funny)

ShadowBlasko (597519) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271816)

Nintendo thumb?

Man up Nancy.

We had the Numb Thumb Club back in the Intellivision days. And we liked it!

Oh, and get off my lawn

Re:Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is sooo last week... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271932)

Intellivision was the worst for this, especially when the controllers started wearing out.

I think I permanently damaged my thumbs playing Burgertime.

fascinating genetic mapping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14271948)

fascinating genetic mapping, given that emacs users tend to suffer more frequently than vim users...
does this not suggest, perhaps, that if you have a preference for using emacs, you are more likely to have a genetic predisposition towards carpal tunnel syndrome? ;-p

Re:Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is sooo last week... (1)

GmAz (916505) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272114)

Yet another reason Widipedia.org shouldn't be used for auctual reference.

It's actually caused by (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14271649)

too much you-know-what. (FP)

Hmm... (5, Informative)

MaestroSartori (146297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271662)

I'd always been told it was pressure on the carpal tunnel that caused it, not finger movements. So typing with your wrists pressed against the corner of a desk (or in the case more familiar to me, playing bass guitar with the right wrist pressed against the top edge of the instrument) would cause it, not typing with a nice wrist rest or with hands held high, piano-style, above the desk...

Re:Hmm... (4, Interesting)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271701)

I'd always been told it was pressure on the carpal tunnel that caused it, not finger movements.

Exactly, but what people should not take away from this article is that improper use of the keyboard still can be a contributing factor to carpal tunnel along with other RSIs. As a matter of a fact, my forearms feel more stress from working with the mouse than the keyboard - probably because I've trained in piano for years and thus actually keep my hands pretty properly placed above the keyboard.

That said, programming for 7+ years has definately taken its toll on my arms/wrists/hands. Carpal tunnel or other RSIs, proper typing is a must.

Re:Hmm... (1, Insightful)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271752)

I'm sure this will be mentioned by others I find that the mouse, rather than the keyboard, is the thing that really brings on RSI. I've asked around it seems quite a few people have come to the same conclusion but I've not really heard it mentioned in the press.

Re:Hmm... (3, Interesting)

sphealey (2855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271983)

=== I'm sure this will be mentioned by others I find that the mouse, rather than the keyboard, is the thing that really brings on RSI. I've asked around it seems quite a few people have come to the same conclusion but I've not really heard it mentioned in the press. ===
Stongly agree. And although aging was probably a factor too, I find it interesting that I never experienced wrist pain when I was typing on electric typewriters or old-style IBM/DEC computer keyboards that were set up to mimic typewriters, but as soon as I started using mice and flat-style keyboards (often installed in locations where a standard typewriter-ergonomic setup was not possible) I also started having wrist pains.

Personally I found that using the touch pad rather than mouse alleviates 80% of the pain, but that is different for each person.

sPh

Re:Hmm... (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272060)

I have switched over to a trackball for this very reason. I find it much easier on my wrist. Because the trackball is always in the same spot, it's much easier to keep it in the right spot, so that i'm not reaching for it, or have it in some other awkward position.

Re:Hmm... (2, Informative)

MadAhab (40080) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271873)

I've always found this to be true. Anyone wonder why pre-electronic typists don't seem to have reported RSI? Because they needed more force to strike the keys, and held their hands above the keyboard. No question, the continuous pressure on the underside of the wrist is the culprit.

And the mouse is the worst, because I always end up resting my wrist on the table.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14271971)

Anyone wonder why pre-electronic typists don't seem to have reported RSI?

Perhaps because they didn't spend nearly as much time at a keyboard as we do with computers? Also, have you ever used an old manual (or even electric) typewriter? There's little room for mistakes even with one that can make corrections (make too many corrections in one spot & you'll gunk up the paper), so you type much more deliberately than you do with a computer. I don't think it's the same situation at all.

Re:Hmm... (1)

the_Pnut (894120) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271949)

well if it isn't typing that causes CTS, there is only one other thing that we do in front of a computer for an extended period.....

Yes, I did RTFA, this is a joke, get over it.

Re:Hmm... (1)

GospelHead821 (466923) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271977)

Personal experience suggests that posture also has something to do with it. I type with my keyboard positioned almost at lap-level and tilted forward. (The risers on keyboards tend to tilt them backward.) This keeps me from "bulking up" the muscles in my wrists in an upward-bent position. Although I am somewhat predisposed for carpal tunnel syndrom because of the geometry of my wrists, typing in a way that does not train the muscles in my wrists to press against the nerve has done a world of good in preventing my hands and fingers from getting stiff, numb, and cold.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14272031)

You should switch to playing punk rock bass. You just use a pick and play eighth notes to the the same three chords.

There is such a thing as bad science... (0, Offtopic)

mooredynasty (897972) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272059)

...and on a related note, "Oxygen not necessary for carbon-based life forms to live!"

How come we never hear... (2, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271663)

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger"

I mean, doesn't typing just increase flexibility and muscle strength in the wrist?

Re:How come we never hear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14271683)

It's like the doctor tells Homer when he says that famous phrase after a heart attack- "Oh no, it's made you weak as a kitten"

Re:How come we never hear... (0)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271750)

You messed up the quote. It's: "What does not kill me makes me stronger. Oy - this is killing me!"

Nietzsche and his quotes (2, Interesting)

SeanDuggan (732224) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271774)

Nietzsche also said that God is dead. And, my personal favorite, "When you stare into the abyss, sometimes the abyss stares back." It's pretty well established that somewhere in his lifetime, Nietzsche started going crazy. What people have never been able to determine is how far into his writing career it was that it happened. Neat guy to read, but you can see the undertow of madness in his writings.

Re:Nietzsche and his quotes (1, Insightful)

benzapp (464105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271803)

"Oh, you people of sound understandings," I replied, smiling, "are ever ready to exclaim, 'Extravagance, and madness, and intoxication!' You moral men are so calm and so subdued! You abhor the drunken man, and detest the extravagant; you pass by, like the Levite, and thank God, like the Pharisee, that you are not like one of them. I have been more than once intoxicated, my passions have always bordered on extravagance: I am not ashamed to confess it; for I have learned, by my own experience, that all extraordinary men, who have accomplished great and astonishing actions, have ever been decried by the world as drunken or insane. And in private life, too, is it not intolerable that no one can undertake the execution of a noble or generous deed, without giving rise to the exclamation that the doer is intoxicated or mad? Shame upon you, ye sages!" -Goethe, Sorrows of Young Werther

Madness and Creativity (0, Offtopic)

SeanDuggan (732224) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271851)

Do I ever say that a little madness is a bad thing? To quote Jung, "Show me a sane man and I will cure him." I'm tempted to quote from "They're Coming To Take Me Away (Ha-Ha)" but I fear the MPAA would be after me. Nice quote, though.

Re:How come we never hear... (2, Funny)

CompSci101 (706779) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271808)

You're misquoting.

It goes (*ahem*): "That which does not kill me really hurts like a bitch."

Totally consistent with my experience, I'd say.

C

Re:How come we never hear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14271915)

Perhaps it's because that saying isn't true. Just an idea...

Unrelated to... (1)

bchapp (905116) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271669)

typing with TWO hands... Its what the other is doing that causes carpel tunnel... ~B

Ah yes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14271670)

...completely unrelated. Typing isn't repetitive or anything. I blame it on home row personally. Those by-the-book reaches will kill your hands over time.

Re:Ah yes... (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271702)

Just did a room servey. The rest of the team use 6 or 8 fingers for typing.

I'm wierd, however :O Just my pointer fingers for the letters, right pinky for the enter and shift keys, and my right middle for backspace/end/delete

Re:Ah yes... (1)

John Nowak (872479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271924)

You're not that weird. I do the same thing, except that I occasionally mix in the left middle finger with both pointers, and I use my ring finger for shift and enter, not the pinky (although I'm on a laptop keyboard, so things are a bit closer). Definitely just those few fingers though, with the right-middle for delete.

Re:Ah yes... (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271844)

I tried one of those typing tutors, to see if I could improve my typing speed a bit. I found that my typing style differs from theirs. Some of their reaches just feel...unnatural.

Probably the wierdest thing, though, was the discovery that I'm not consistent as to which finger hits which key. I use all ten fingers, and which finger hits which key is a matter of where my hands are on the keyboard at the moment. (I don't hold my hands still.)

Re:Ah yes... (1)

ShadeARG (306487) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271904)

I failed typing my 9th grade year because I didn't use home row. I could type about 180 WPM without mistake, but I guess that didn't matter. I find home row to be very uncomfortable and unnatural also. I'm not consistent with what finger hits what key and I also switch sides depending on what I type. My starting position is ASDC MKL: and I deviate from there.

Not really news... (4, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271671)

... or at least not to me.

Years ago I went to the Dr about some pain in my hands and wrists and he determined it was carpel tunnel.

Funny thing though... I don't have issues with typing... in fact, I'd had it for longer than I'd had a computer... and it really only exhibited itself when clutching something, like a pen, mouse or other controller.

Shame... I had it before it became all the rage.

Damn! (1)

PenguinBoyDave (806137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271673)

There goes that lawsuit. Let's see...now that I can't sue over that, maybe I can sue them for my getting fat on the Krispy Kreme's they provide for us every Friday.

Re:Damn! (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272043)

You could possibly sue because Krispy Kremes contain a chemical that produces a faint scent engineered to make the eater desire more. I think the attempt to make donuts addictive is sue-worthy.

Or maybe it's not (1)

Beuno (740018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271677)

Well I'm not overweight, pregnant or seem to have genetic predisposition and still have it.
And as a programmer I spend all day typing.
Coincidence?
 

Re:Or maybe it's not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14271711)

Well, I'm a bit overweight, not pregnant, and no idea if I have genetic predisposition and been a programmer for over 20 years and I still do not have it. But my knees hurt a little.

Coincidence?

For real I'm not surprised by the result of their study.

Knees hurting (0, Offtopic)

SeanDuggan (732224) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271798)

Well, I'm a bit overweight, not pregnant, and no idea if I have genetic predisposition and been a programmer for over 20 years and I still do not have it. But my knees hurt a little.
From my personal experience in acquiring raises through *cough* favors for my superior, I highly suggest kneepads. What good is it if you make Senior VP in two years if you suffer from bursitis?

Re:Or maybe it's not (1)

fitten (521191) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271883)

Same here. I've been touch typing (homerow and all) for over 20 years now. I've never had anything I would even think was carpal tunnel.

Re:Or maybe it's not (1, Funny)

Solder Fumes (797270) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271747)

Do you have a girfriend?

Face it, this is too much of a common factor among nerds to be ignored.

Re:Or maybe it's not (1)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272019)

Is it just in your right hand? Then it might not be from typing after all.......

One with the keyboard (1)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272070)

I remember when I was a Jazz major, one of my professors alluded to Musicians getting it. Chick Corea (pianist) believed it was a sort of subconcious resentment. That you need to improve your relationship with your instrument (keyboard). When he reestablished his relationship with his instrument, the carpal tunnel went away. Just a theory, but there may be some truth in it. How often does one associate the keyboard with stressful work?

I've always questioned this... (2, Interesting)

Xserv (909355) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271679)

I've always questioned the logic behind it. I placed it as an assumed contributor because it's something that people do in a fixed manner with their hands. I have been an avid computer user for the last 16 years and can say that I have no signs of carpal tunnel. In fact, I've heard of very few cases of it in people around me in the same field who spend upwards of 8-10 hours a day on the computer. I have seen it, however, in people who have a disposition towards weak bones, etc. You know, the guys you won't play football with at the company picnic because they break SOMETHING every year... Xserv

Only One Question (1, Funny)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271700)

Who Can I Sue? 1. Employer 2. Makers of Computers 3. Producers of Operating Systems which require typing / mouse 4. Slashdot

Re:Only One Question (0, Offtopic)

Rhoon (785258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271787)

... Hustler

Re:Only One Question (0, Offtopic)

segfault7375 (135849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271930)

5. Cowboy Neal

I tend to agree (4, Interesting)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271705)

I'm right handed, and the carpal tunnel in my left hand is MUCH less than the right hand, and I notice that it hurts much worse when I've been mousing a lot, rather than when I've been typing a lot. I know that a lot of writing with a pen or pencil will cause a big flareup, too.

Re:I tend to agree (2, Interesting)

mikesmind (689651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271781)

There's a discussion about this over at VarLinux [varlinux.org] where weight training is said to be the answer. It makes sense!

The answer (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14271799)

Ambidextrous masturbation.

Give that right hand a rest. :-)

Re:I tend to agree (2, Interesting)

Malc (1751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272029)

I think mice are a menace, and I suspect it's more to do with our overall posture when using them. Have you ever thought of making yourself learn to use the mouse left-handed? I'm right-handed but learnt to use it left-handed. It has some benefits, like allowing you to type or write or numerous other things (get your mind out of the gutter!) without letting go of the mouse. I find I sometimes (once a year perhaps) develop a pain in my neck that extends down in to my back. At that point I switch the mouse to the other hand and use it that way for a while - all physical problems solved.

Stress is a big factor (2, Interesting)

Zwets (645911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271720)

I find that, for me at least, stress is the biggest factor. Whenever things aren't going well at work, I get wrist pains. But I've done hobby coding for years at home without any problems.

Wouldn't be surprised. (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271724)

I've been using computers frequently since 1992. Mostly keyboard work. Usually for more than six or seven hours at a time. Every day.

And my hands feel fine.

Re:Wouldn't be surprised. (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271758)

Yes, but you're a robot, Short Circuit! :)

Re:Wouldn't be surprised. (1)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271992)

I've been using computers frequently since 1992. Mostly keyboard work. Usually for more than six or seven hours at a time. Every day.
Well, you might not have carpal tunnel syndrome, but then you don't seem to have a life either..

Re:Wouldn't be surprised. (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272106)

I got a life once. It bit me, so I sent it back.

Ditto here... BUT now much Pain.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14272094)

I've been using computers frequently since 1992. Mostly keyboard work. Usually for more than six or seven hours at a time. Every day.

And my hands feel fine.


I've been an IT professional for 10 years and my hands were fine until I bought Unreal tournament 2004 and got addicted to it and played for several hours each day, every day for almost a year. Now I'm having lots of problems with my mouse-hand fingers, knuckle joints, wrist and most recently my right elbow hurts like hell down inside the joint. I have stopped gaming cold turkey for two weeks now, and my wrist and fingers are starting to heal, but my elbow seems to be getting worse. Each morning it is very stiff inside the elbow joint and feels like somebody jabbed a big long needle into it the first time I move it. Ibuprofen helps the pain, but I think I should probably go see a doctor because it feels like that cartilage layer that keeps the raw bones from rubbing together in my elbow has a hole worn thru it.

Not really new... (1)

SeanDuggan (732224) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271726)

They've been saying this for at least two years. Yes, typing can cause all kinds of RSI and there are several other disorders from typing which are commonly misdiagnosed as CTS, but actual carpal tunnel syndrome didn't have to do with typing.

Now the other thing which has always amused me is that it's only touch typists who get RSIs from typing. Those of us with a more erratic style move through a wide enough range of motion that we don't do damage to our joints. Apparently I was smarter than I thought, sleeping through typing class in high school...

At least... (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271727)

...one of the reasons listed isn't going to affect anyone 'round here me thinks.

Oh no! (1)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271737)

Now we have all these misleading labels on keyboards. Those labels cause me mental stress, which as we all know is very debilitating. I smell lawsuit! Repetitive Warning Label Stress Syndrome

The secret is out (1)

slushbat (777142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271742)

Yes, what really does your carpal tunnels in is all of that "one handed" keyboard use. The whole typing thing was just a cover up. Hmm... what's that strange pain in my wrist.

Re:The secret is out (1)

DrStrange66 (654036) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271888)

Yes, what really does your carpal tunnels in is all of that "one handed" keyboard use. The whole typing thing was just a cover up. Hmm... what's that strange pain in my wrist.

Yes and the reason you wear really thick glasses is not from staring at the monitor. You're just fortunate you haven't gone blind.

Nonesense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14271746)

I'm 40. I've been dealing with RSI since 1993 when it nearly ended my career. The injury built up over several years due to poor posture whilst typing. I still have to do physio exercises every day otherwise I get ill. I've kept my career. In my case it most certainly IS connected to typing. If I do long sessions typing then I get into trouble. I will never regain my former strength and fitness levels as the damage done is so systematic. The only reason I have kept my career is constant attention to my physical fitness and my posture and ergonomics whilst typing.

If you use a computer and don't pay attention to your posture and how you type then you stand a good change of having problems.

I know plenty of musicians that get RSI and that is connected to what they do with their fingers to play their instrument. Flute ergonomics are dreadful and most guitarists, bagpipes and hurdy gurdy players crouch over their instruments - bad ergonomics.

RSI may be connected to the things mentioned in the study but it most certainly IS connected with the task at hand and how it is being performed. The idea that it is not defies credibility.

(Yes, I can type, I am not a "hunt and peck" typist).

not typing, but typing "correctly" to blame (2, Interesting)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271749)

I have seen people who "know how to type", as opposed to just knowing where the keys are from years of experience. The horrible contortions I see the human hand perform in order to always stay near the home keys is sickening.

Maybe I just have large hands, but I can't stand keeping them in that cramped and static position. My hands move as much as my fingers when I type. Just resting my hands on the home keys places them in an uncomfortable clubbed-paw shape which I can easily imagine causes severe damage to whatever organs rest within.

That's my theory, anyway.

(*of course I wish I could think fast enough that typing faster would really matter that much. I suppose I could get that sentence out faster if I knew how, but the majority of my day is spent thinking about what to write when I eventually write it.)

Typing about typing is fun to type. Type type type type type type type...

Re:not typing, but typing "correctly" to blame (1)

Xserv (909355) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271775)

I tend to agree with you. I learned the proper way to type years ago but adapted my own hand and finger placement that suits the keystrokes I use most often in writing queries, code adjustments and other bits of programming. I am actually quite comfortable when I type and my hands move all over the place as well.

Xserv

Re:not typing, but typing "correctly" to blame (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272054)

Which is why I use one of this ergonomic split keyboards from Microsoft. My hands sit more naturally further apart and at an angle. With this keyboard, my hands sit in the home position, but my hands are pointing in the same direction as my forearms with no wierd twists that are required for a straight keyboard. As a self-taught typist, the keyboard was hard to use at first, but after a few I was typing faster and more accurately.

Maybe not typing, but using the mouse... (3, Interesting)

Thrymm (662097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271753)

After years of using the computer extensively with work, and especially with after hours gaming, MMORPGs and FPS in general, I can tell my right hand has changed and become weaker over time. Not sure if thats the beginning signals for CTS, but I know it wasnt from typing.

They are right - sort of (5, Insightful)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271766)

"Betanews is reporting about a Harvard medical school report that suggests Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is unrelated to typing at all.

I didn't get mine by typing, I got it from the mouse. Having clicked for so long I finally got sharp pains and the symptoms. And does it hurt.

So I switched to my left hand for the mouse, continue to type and it is slowly getting better.

Might I suggest to researchers to really do some pure no BS research. What they might find is the ergonomics of many of todays offices and computers are the problem. Some I/T people work in closets. And that "touch pad" on my portable, more than once I have thought about taking an electric drill to it to destroy it.

Computers need to fit people, not the other way around.

Re:They are right - sort of (1)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271933)

I didn't get [repetitive strain injury] by typing, I got it from the mouse.

Uh, huh, as if we believe that :-)

Re:They are right - sort of (1)

Syberghost (10557) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272005)

I got mine from a public toilet seat.

Touchpad $*!#@ (2, Insightful)

BennyB2k4 (799512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272099)

[And that "touch pad" on my portable, more than once I have thought about taking an electric drill to it to destroy it.]

Many times I've caught myself using the touchpad with my wrist bent backwards as far as it goes and middle finger straight down sliding around. I look down and think, "What the hell am I doing".

I would think "awareness" is one of the biggest preventers of RPI. You just have to train yourself to think before you type. Usually it only takes 2 or 3 seconds to get into a better position.

What about Ulnar Tunnel? (5, Interesting)

AndyBassTbn (789174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271777)

Over this last summer, the ridiculous amount of typing I was doing caused by ring finger and pinky to go numb. Thinking it was Carpal Tunnel, I went to the doctor, who confirmed to me that Carpal Tunnel is not usually caused by typing.

What she did tell me, however, was that I likely had Ulnar Tunnel Syndrome [aaos.org] . Though this is also not caused by typing, it was the resting of my elbow on the desk which applied pressure on the Ulnar Nerve, causing numbness and pain.

Couple this with my career as a professional trombonist, and I had trouble.

The moral of the story is simple - it is not so much how much you type (or perform), it is the position of your hand and arm whilst doing it. Keeping a natural, "open" posture is ultimately the best way to prevent these problems.

Re:What about Ulnar Tunnel? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14271879)

It was a dark and stormy night. Couple this with my career as a professional trombonist, and I had trouble.

Re:What about Ulnar Tunnel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14272033)

the ridiculous amount of typing I was doing caused by ring finger and pinky to go numb.

Hope your cold gets better soon, too.

One missing (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271789)

I wonder if it's possible to get RSI from too much one handed typing? The First question would be which wrist gets RSI first?

We should apply for funding to set up a study. No, wait. What am I thinking. We just need to organize a /. poll.

The real cause... (1, Offtopic)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271792)

Many computer users are geeks.
Geeks don't have girlfriends. ...
Uugh.

Re:The real cause... (1)

Maitri (938818) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271938)

Geeks are in right now - don't you know that? Even supermodels and hollywood stars are dating them. Find a girlfriend now why it lasts (or at least stop blaming not having one on being a geek). ;)

Geeks are "in" [findarticles.com]

Computer Geeks Are "In" [collegenews.com]

It's chic to be geek! Geeks are in vogue on TV, film [azcentral.com]

I know, I know... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14271793)

Typing, no. Masturbating to porn on my screen, yes.

Damn RSI.

I Have This... I Think.. (5, Funny)

scheming daemons (101928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271800)

I suffer from this all the time. The guy I ride to work with has the uncanny habit of slowing down to less than 20 miles per hour when he enters a tunnel, even though the speed limit is 55 both outside and inside the tunnel.

I want to kill him when he does this, but it's not my fault... for you see, I have:

Carpool Tunnel Syndrome

oh... you're talking about something else?

My study shows that ..... (3, Insightful)

Llamakiller-4 (267848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271802)

My study shows that there's a 90% certainty that a college that is receiving major donations from American Corporations (that are paying large disability amounts to affected workers) are encouraging young college students to do these sort of studies. ie: If you look for something hard enough, you will find enough circumstantial evidence to make it seem true.
Everyone who reads Slashdot probably types a great deal and perhaps plays computer or console games. Anyone here not ever lose track of the time and type/play for an entire evening and have your wrist or fingers get sore? Of course you have.
If you had genetically weaker fingers or wrists, it would merely take less time for the carpal tunnel symptoms to appear than it would for others. That study implies that other "genetically disposed" people wouldn't get carpal tunnel - Sit them at my terminal and let them type code for 10 hours straight per day and we'll see.
While we're on the "Genetically Disposed" bandwagon, let's not forget that corporate America wants that DNA testing to see if you're predisposed to any illnesses that they might have to pay for later in your work career. That's the Insurance Industries "Holy Grail" and don't think that it will never come to pass in the future that you won't be able to get meaningful employment because you're DNA says you're likely to get some condition that they'll have to pay for later. Everyone here probably had to take a physical as a term of employment - what if they added DNA testing to deny you employment because of what you "might" get in the future?

Lk4

Technically correct maybe... (2, Insightful)

wanax (46819) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271825)

Speaking as somebody who just this passed Wednesday had a doctor's appointment related to repetitive stress from typing..

The report is most likely technichally correct. What many people call carpel tunnel is actually various ligament overuse disorders (which are typing related), rather than nerve compression. One main way to tell, is that nearly all the wrist/forearm/elbow pain, 'itchiness' etc, is related to ligament issues, the nerve compression (which is carpel tunnel disorder) part causes numbness, 'falling alseep' type symptoms etc.

However, the ligament overuse problems, if left untreated for too long, can eventually cause carpel tunnel, because the ligaments and the nerves go through the same tunnels in the wrist, so if the ligaments are inflamed for too long, it can cause long term nerve compression and carpel tunnel disorder.

Basically my advice, is if you're having any wrist/forearm issues: see a doctor early rather than later, because it can get dramatically worse if left untreated.

Re:Technically correct maybe... (1)

kevin.fowler (915964) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271931)

I'm 22, and hopefully getting fitted for a soft wrist brace next week. I just got into the content development industry and my doctor said the same thing you did. Then again I also fractured both elbows a few years ago.

This is news? (2, Informative)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271830)

What's new here? Everything that the betanews report states has long been known in the medical community -- particularly the bit about pregnancy. My wife is currently in her second pregnancy, and she never had any carpal tunnel problems before. But she does now -- if she's at a keyboard too long or crochets too much then her wrist starts to hurt. Her doctor says it's fairly common for pregnant women to suffer carpal tunnel due to increased swelling and the loosening of joints during pregnancy. And all she can do is wear a wrist brace and take tylenol -- there are no anti-inflamatories approved for use while pregnant.

The rest of the info is also well known. A poor hand posture can exacerbate the problem, but it's unlikely to cause it outright.

Huh? (1)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271853)

Um, I thought the whole point was that inflammation of the carpal tunnel caused pressure on the nerve. If use isn't causing the inflammation, then what is?

Can anyone track down the actual report? Are they saying that other repetitive stress injuries are misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel, or are they saying that the carpal tunnel is corretly diagnosed but attributed to the wrong things?

Ow... (0)

KennyP (724304) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271860)

ow ow ow damn keyboard ow ow ow ow ow...

I can believe this. (1)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271884)

I've been sitting in front of PCs since 1978 - when I was 9. I have no problems with my wrists at all. Though I will agree that sitting at _certain_ workstations my wrist will ache; however, they'll ache from the wrist to the elbow - not just the wrist. I'll either adjust the working conditions or I'll move to another workstation minutes later and no ache at all. It's about the ergonomics of the workstation.

Of course, since I've been typing at a terminal since I was a child, maybe my body kind of 'grew into it.' Could it be akin to a child who starts smoking at 9 and lives to 99 smoking every day of his life and dies peacefully in his sleep of old age; whereas, someone else starts smoking at 30 and dies of lung cancer by age 45 caused by smoking.

So what is it? Conditioning? Poor ergonomics? Lack of exercise?

Of course, the natural position of my fingers, at rest, is to close in on the palm of the hand. I find myself strecthing my fingers before I go to bed.

Re:I can believe this. (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272004)

" I've been sitting in front of PCs since 1978"

You might want to get up and stretch once a decade or so ;)

"Could it be akin to a child who starts smoking at 9 and lives to 99 smoking every day of his life and dies peacefully in his sleep of old age; whereas, someone else starts smoking at 30 and dies of lung cancer by age 45 caused by smoking."

No. There is no acclimation for smoking, it's other factors (such as genetics, diet, chance, etc) that affect whether or not a smoker gets cancer, along with how much carcinogenic material they've exposed themselves to. Starting smoking at 9 doesn't make you any less likely to die from lung cancer than starting at 30. In fact, it makes you more likely to do so.

i don't know about that... (1)

AxemRed (755470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271901)

My job and my hobbies involve typing. There have been days where I spend 16 hours in front of a computer. Despite that, I have never had any symptoms of CTS brought on by my many hours in front of a keyboard. However, I do think that CTS is brought on by repetitive motion. When I was a kid, I spent countless hours playing the original Nintendo. I do remember, at one point, I started getting symptoms of CTS that were aggrivated by playing games. The longer I played, the worse the pain got. Sometimes it would last for several days. In the end, I had to give my wrists time to heal by playing old RPGs, which don't require as much intense use of the gamepad, for a few months. Because of this experience, I do believe that CTS can be brought on by some forms of repetitive motion. Even though I haven't had any problems with a keyboard personally, I certainly think its possible for keyboard use to bring on CTS in some people.

Not a Doctor (1)

Apreche (239272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271922)

I'm just going from personal experience, so this has no basis in medicine. But when I compute or play video games or whatnot there are two things that really get my wrist hurting.

One, if I play a 6-button arcade fighting game like street fighter and I use my wrist to bring my whole hand up and down on the buttons. I'm basically swinging my wrist back and forth very rapidly. I should be just moving my fingers around.

Two, I learned not to do this, but improper mousing. When you use a computer mouse you should move your whole arm and your wrist should not bend. Watch people and yourself and you will notice that they make the wrist the only joint that is used to move the computer mouse. Not good. Luckily I'm on my way to beating this bad habit. Move your whole arm to move the mouse.

Games (1)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271937)

In my personal experience, it's always been games or gaming that caused my joint problems.

Joystick use during ladder events, or just lots of gaming.

Once I backed off and quit for several days each week, it went away. (Used to have shooting pains going up the underside of both arms from wrist to armpit, plus crackly joints.)

Of course, I have previous damage from blue collar jobs too. I bet there's a lot of low-paid manual labor people that have more problems with it than you could ever get from using computers.... they just don't have fancy names for "my friggin arm hurts".

are they sure? (1)

BewireNomali (618969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271954)

Is carpal tunnel not related to typing the way global warming is not related to greenhouse gases? I'm skeptical.

Just get some exercise (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14271964)

I used to get pains in my elbows and wrists from typing. Improving my office environment mitigated it but not completely. Then I started getting more exercise and I haven't had a problem since. Even running seems to help. The human body isn't supposed sit around on its arse all day. The office environment is terrible for us and we have to make up for that: either change our jobs, or make an effort to get some exercise.

Hand surgeons... (4, Informative)

CupBeEmpty (720791) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272027)

So I deal with hand surgeons on a very regular basis (and these are top of the line international teaching surgeons to boot) and the concencus I get from them is that the act of typing itself is not necessarily what is causing the inflammation on the nerve. For example:

  • Take your hands and hold them out in front of you with your elbows touching your ribcage and forearms extended directly out, parallel to the floor, palms down and also parallel to the floor.
  • Now move your your hands together so your thumbs touch.
  • Now move your hands (thumbs still touching) toward your chest.

If you did all of that correctly you would see how the angle of your wrists becomes and less natural. Now imagine typing with your standard (or worse.. laptop) keyoard close to your chest. The unnatural angle does not bode well for your wrist.

Basically 75% (rough number) of people that come into these docs complaining of chronic wrist pain don't even need splints. They are advised to get a trackball (much easier on the wrists), type with the keyboard farther away, and have the top of the monitor at eye level, and sometimes to get an ergonomic keyboard. Most people report that their symptoms are gone within 2-4 weeks if they keep up their new setup. I know a lot of /.'ers are pretty down on things like ergonomic keyboards and consider them little more than overpriced gimmicks but the truth is they are a far cry less expensive than carpal tunnel surgery and relatively effective.

As a microbiologist I can also tell you that pretty much any disease/disorder/etc. is influenced by things like genetics, age, weight, hormone levels, etc. etc. Saying that carpal tunnel isn't affected by poor body angle and repetetive motions (like typing) is like saying that skin cancer isn't caused by bathing yourself in UV radiation all day and that it is only attributable to genetics, and body type. The other problem with this report (which we also have not seen yet) is that it is a correlation study in the negative. They are saying that they cannot find a correlation so therefore it must not exist. That is even worse that the positive correlation studies where two trends coincide so they conclude causation. My view is that typing does aggravate carpal tunnel but so does genetics that make you susceptible to inflammation.

The pregnancy theory is valid (1)

DavidBrown (177261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272061)

One of the secretaries in my office just had a child two months ago. She's having a lot of pain in her wrists that was somehow induced by the pregnancy. Ironically, I just found out about this yesterday afternoon, when she popped into the office to pick up her paycheck.

I'm curious as to what percentage of carpal tunnel sufferors are women.

Not keyboards (3, Insightful)

MaggieL (10193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272079)

I don't think keyboard use is the source of most of this...it's much more due to pointing devices. Switching from mouse to trackball has been very helpful to me.

I had some problems, too.. (3, Informative)

catdevnull (531283) | more than 8 years ago | (#14272113)

I was concerned that my computer job was giving me the pain I was having in my hands and unable to even hold silverware, etc. It turned out to be the pressure on my carpal tunnel area from my bicycle handles.

I started walking to work instead and the problem went away. I was surprised after all of the attention that typing gets for causing carpal tunnel. Glad to hear those Harvard people are figuring it out.

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