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JWZ on Dealing with Wrist Pain

Hemos posted more than 14 years ago | from the stop-the-pain dept.

News 186

Kodi writes "Jamie Zawinski has put an interesting page on his site describing his fight with wrist pain. The most important thing is that you don't ignore it. Also check out the Typing Injury FAQ, which he links to. " Having had a scare a couple weeks ago, I can testify to the truth behind this - we've done some AskSlashdots about this before as well. Don't assume it'll fix itself.

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Wrist Pain (1)

mr_gerbik (122036) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471338)

I'm getting wrist pain from checking what VA Linux is trading at every 2 minutes. :)

RSI (1)

albalbo (33890) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471339)

Wrist pain is more commonly called 'RSI' in the UK, short for 'Repetitive Strain Injury'. It's basically an injury you get from stuff other than just typing: tennis elbow is related to RSI, for instance.

It's all down to posture at the end of the day. I keep thinking about getting one of those posture braces?! They're good for your back and all (I'm well over 6 foot!), but you don't half look a nancy wearing one.. although, health comes before looks I suppose. Anyone got any links to Alexander Technique?!!!

I lost my Wrist for three months (2)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471340)

Yeah my friends don't ignore it. I did and couldn't use my mouse for three months.
I'm now permanently affected with aches and pains most days.
The worst thing I did (and soemtimes still do) is to rest the weight of my arm on my wrist while mousing using the ball of my wrist as a kind of pivot (obviously for hours at a time).
Take care of yourselves now my friends. The day you start getting pins and needles in your face is the day to take a look at the way you position yourself! ('cos it's pretty scary)

FAQ? (1)

FascDot Killed My Pr (24021) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471341)

That "FAQ" doesn't appear to have any questions, frequently asked or otherwise.

Carpal Tunnel (1)

Meridun (120516) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471342)

I may be completely wrong, but there seems to be two different types of wrist pain in my experience.

1) Wrist pain from not having enough experience with large amount of typing, mousing, and other similar types of activity.

2) Wrist pain from typing, etc AFTER you have built up the wrist and finger muscles over month or years.

If you have the first problem, from starting a computer-related job after never really doing large amounts of typing before, you can normally just continue with intermittent breaks and will find the pain to diminish as your hands toughen up. Otherwise, if you type 5+ hours a day (like a secretary or heavy programmer) and start experiencing recurring pain, you probably need to see a doctor and think about ergonomic improvements.

The best way... (2)

DanJose52 (55815) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471343) to get a girlfriend.

(Will it be funny, offtopic, or flamebait? vote now! vote early!)


Ganglioneuroma (1)

Crambone (16799) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471344)

I had a Ganglioneuroma develop last year because of typing. Probally from IRC, but work related stuff as well. It is a bunch of nerve cells that is caused by the tendons in the wrist moving too fast for too long. It felt like a gumball size lump in the base of my hand on the top of the wrist. Not very painfull, but causes my left hand to type a little slower.

pain (1)

duder (86761) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471345)

I had wrist pain for most of high school. It turns out that I had a whole bunch of torn cartilage in my wrist. Had a surgey and the recovery time was a bear but it is pretty good now. I have had wrist pain since then but because of my job (shoveling). I saw a thing on television about computers and posture and they suggested that the little legs on the keyboard not be used- it seems to actually help a lot!

Wrist Pain sometimes caused by your spine! (1)

Brew Bird (59050) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471346)

Remeber, your body has a network of nerves, and your spine is the main 'backbone' (DOH!)...

If the backbone is congested (pinched nerve), the rest of the network doesn't work quite right.

Get your back looked at before you spend big bucks on surgery or pain killers.

my perception (2)

SEAL (88488) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471347)

This is a bit of a rehash but if it helps someone out - what the hell.

I actually find that my mouse is probably more helpful than harmful. The act of moving my hand from the keyboard to the mouse provides some variety which is important.

Consider this: the one time I really experienced wrist pain was after an all-nighter, cranking out a 30 page term paper.

I just don't have the same problem when I'm programming though. I tend to pause and think about things, often taking my hands off the keyboard when I do. I scroll around and browse different files with the mouse. In other words, giving my wrists a break is just part of my work.

Now, if I were to type in a large amount of source code from a book, verbatim, then I'd probably start feeling pain again.

For what it's worth, the Microsoft Natural Keyboard really is a pretty good design (aside from the extra "Win" keys... grr). But if you place your hands on it, your fingertips down to your elbows are in a straight line. If you keep this position, and vary your actions like I said above, you'll be alot less likely to have problems.

Best regards,


Re:FAQ? (1)

EricWright (16803) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471348)

Nope, just links to FAQs on different topics... Just a bit confusing is all.


I heard this strange theory about RSI (3)

NateTG (93930) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471349)

Specifically that RIS I caused by people who use Keyboards and other systems with insufficient resistance. Notably RSI begins to show up at the same time journalists moved away from mechanical typwrites en masse. Something about he lack of resistance ecouraging/allowing bad hand posture?
Any comments on this? It may also have to do with increased typing speed. However, there have been typing pools since before WWII and RSI seems to be a more modern phenomenon.
I've had some problems with my hands while digging a long trench, but I think that was just old fashioned wear an tear, since they occured after only a few days of work digging.

plug for my favourite new keyboard (2)

elbobo (28495) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471350)

ok so I probably over evangelise these keyboards, but I just love them :) the Kinesis Contour ( [] ). I've done a quick review of mine at [] which is maybe worth a read.

Anyway, they're superb for people with wrist injuries. Infact most of the manual is dedicated to how to reduce wrist injuries, and even has a section at the back with an intro written by Herman Miller Inc (those really comfy chairs that Rob and co have from [] ) that goes indepth into workspace ergonomics and risk reduction etc.

Wrist pains.. (2)

VWswing (74185) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471351)

I read a good article on repetitive motion
injury in bass player magazine a couple of
years back (They might have it archived @, but don't take my word for it). It just had a few points in general.. some of the things I picked up were, I bought a pair of
these elastic/molded gloves for $30 and I type with them when i get the pains.. i have to wear them for a while but they start to help.. apparently lower body temperature to the wrist because of bad circulation causes a lot of pains.

I cut down on my caffeine intake about 90%, started wearing the gloves, and regularly take breaks to flex my wrists & fingers.. sometimes dupping them in warm water for a few minutes..

it's helped a lot.. 2 years ago I got so bad that i couldn't type for more than a half hour @ a time.. now i'm great.

Poor man solutions? (2)

blogan (84463) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471352)

Does anyone out there have any preventative measures that don't cost a few hundred dollars? I'm a student right now and can't afford that kind of stuff.

Re:RSI (1)

Esjion (58700) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471353)

I am not sure if this is what you were looking for, but a quick search on "Alexander Technique" brings up this link [] , which appears to be a rather helpful list of links to information about the Alexander Technique.

Kinesys keyboards (2)

Jerky McNaughty (1391) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471354)

Does anyone have any experience with the Kinesis keyboards? I currently use one of the old style Microsoft ergo keyboards, but the control key is killing me and the ESC key is too far away. Emacs likes the CTRL and ESC keys and I need them closer to home. I find myself constantly pivoting my left hand to do common actions like C-x C-f... that's not good.

Anyone want to comment on the Kinesis [] keyboards?

Re:my perception (1)

RayChuang (10181) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471355)

Actually, the "Windows" keys on the Microsoft Natural Keyboard actually do have some functions if you're running KDE or GNOME, depending on the theme you set up for these windowing environments.

What's interesting is that while Linux users naturally hate Microsoft software, they do like the Microsoft Mouse ("Dove Bar" variant and newer) and the Microsoft Natural Keyboard. I use the Natural Keyboard myself and enjoy the fact I can type for long periods comfortably, thanks to the fact on the MS Natural Keyboard the wrists are not "bent" to accommodate home key positions like you do on a normal QWERTY keyboard.

slashdotted already... (1)

David Ham (88421) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471356)

apparently jwz is running his webserver off isdn or something :) but it's slashdotted - any one that can get to it willing to throw up a mirror? or post the text here? REMEMBER - include copyright info :)

A book from O'Reilly (1)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471357)

The Computer Users's Survaival guide. Very well
worth it.

Be carefull with RSI. It can really make your life
misserable. And make earning a living very hard.

My secret. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471358)

I compulsively stretch my wrists and, also, I type like Hunter S. Thompson... I've been typing and using pointing devices (mice, joysticks, trackballs) going on the majority of my natural life. It's starting to worry me though, because I know I'm due.

Go away, Dweebt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471359)

Slashdot was much nicer without you, dork.


Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471360)

YOU'RE BACK!!!!!!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!!!!!!
This is too kewl
We need more MEEPT

xwrits (2)

trance9 (10504) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471361)

xwrits [] is break software. It reminds you to get up from your computer and take a break every so often. It monitors your typing and mouse usage.

Compared to similar programs for windows it's pretty crude. However, it's effective.

One of the most important things you can do to avoid/prevent/cure typing injuries is to make sure you take adequate breaks. This does not mean lunchtime--this means every 10-15 minutes you get up and stretch.

Programs like xwrits remind you it's time for a break.

Use vi, use vi macros. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471362)

I'm a fast, touch typist and pound out lots of code. I had problems until I started using vi and the using the single keystroke macros. Except for the escape key, this keeps my fingers near the home keys and mixes up finger usage enough. The macros prevent me from constant repetition which I think helped the most. Any clown who uses alt-shift this or that constantly is asking for wrist problems. Bill Joy is a genius.

Serious Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471363)

Does wrist pain from playing Quake 3 count? I don't get wrist pain while ordinary typing...only occasionally during those tense Q3A deathmatches.

Re:Wrist Pain sometimes caused by your spine! (1)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471364)

Yes! I will second that. I've had back problems my whole life. Only recently have I started to go to a chiropracter(sp?) about it. The change is immense. Simply getting things back into order on a regular basis has imporved everything from backpain to regular sickness. (I haven't been really sick since I started going (about 4 years now) That might not say much, but if you knew me before that time I was sick ALL THE TIME (especially in winter months)). I think there's a much larger connection between your spine and overall health than most people think.


stretching (5)

trance9 (10504) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471365)

Stretching is very important. Stretch your arms, your forearms, your neck, your back, etc., do it frequently. Don't be too aggressive--mild stretching is the best.

Stretching helps promote healing, and keeps muscles from tightening up. A good massage is also a reasonable preventative measure--work on shoulders and upper back problems as problems here are often are responsible for inefficient use of your fingers, wrists, and forearms.

Wrist splints are bad, Hand-Eze gloves good (2)

Lucy Linux (34582) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471366)

My doctor told me to start wearing a wrist splint while working. My wrist and the base of my thumb were very swollen. The splint actually made things worse. My reaction to feeling something in my palm is to grrasp it. Therefore I was constantly flexing my fingers and agitating the injury.

I decided to try Hand-Eze gloves [] . They are fingerless gloves -- there is a picture at the link. They work for me. I have practically no problem now, and I don't even wear the gloves anymore.

Another thing I did was to start using my left hand for mousing. I'm right-handed so that took a bit of work. The only drawback now is that every time a new quake comes out I have to reconfigure the key bindings. :-)

RSI is like... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471367)

back pain. Once you get, you've got it forever. But if you take care of yourself, you may be able to control it. I've had some bad boughts with RSI. These days, I can usually manage it. As someone else said, I find that the two biggest killers are the mouse and the joystick. But it does come down ergonomics. Your fore-arms should be parallel to the floor, at right angles to your body. Your wrists should be straight. I use a mouse pad with a wrist wrest (you don't want to rest your wrist on the desktop, because then your wrist is cocked at an angle). Take frequent breaks and stretch. Definately see someone in occupational health about this. Take some Aleve. Ice up down your forearms and wrest for a while. I've hurt myself more using computers than any sport I've every played. Jared

Re:my perception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471368)

Yes, the Microsoft Natural Keyboard is nice. Whatever is said about their software, they make decent input devices. My only complaint with the keyboard (other than the "windows" keys) is that the arrow keys are microscopic.

Other than that, I'm pretty happy and it has reduced my wrist pain.

Keyboards are for sissies... (1)

Kaufmann (16976) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471369)

...Real Programmers (tm) use Direct Neural Interfaces!

(Okay, moderate me down now. I deserve it.)

Well, just to make sure that I don't get hit /too/ badly, let me share my personal experience. I use a ridiculously small iWhack keyboard mounted on top of what is basically an open drawer, with no hand-resting space or anything. I've been using this setup for more than a year now (since the iWhack arrived here in Brazil), and I've never experienced any kind of wrist or back problems. Nonetheless, I have good posture and the screen is set on a good eye level.

Re:Kinesys keyboards (2)

ilkahn (6642) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471370)

I use one... a few months ago (about 6 now) i was the lead engineer in a software development firm. We had a 6 week rush during which I worked between 70-90 hours a week of solid programming. It got to the point where I sincerely believed I was going to have to quit computer science/computer programmng... it was not a "good thing". I approached by boss and I told him about the pain, and I told him that I heard that the Kinesis [] Ergo was a wonderful keyboard.

Well, after pitching a slight bitch fit, I got one. I have been using it now for about 6 months, and I can say beyond a shadown of a doubt, that I am eternally endebted to Kinesis for this keyboard. Within 3 weeks ALL of my wrist pain was gone. It does take a while to learn how to type on it (and you had best be a great touch typist) but once you have it down, it is unbeatable. The programmable nature of the keyboard has alowed me to program some very helpful macros and I can say has nearly doubled productivity in some tasks.

If you can afford the rather hefty pay check I can suncerely suggest that you get it... it might save your wrists...

Re:Kinesys keyboards right URL (1)

ilkahn (6642) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471371)

Kinesis Ergo []

meepty MEEPT!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471372)


Meept thinks you taste like gnulix.

[A poem]

oh slapdash gnulix students

have no girlfriends


Is there a HOWTO for that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471373)

I suspect I need such as I'm socially.. uhm.. inept? unskilled? clueless?

I suspect any halfway decent HOWTO would need to be co-written.. by both genders, lest things degenerate into typical /. flammage.

"Don't confuse solitude with loneliness. Sometimes you need solitude." - someone

MEEPT!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471374)


Meept's facist mastermind calls to all of the slapdash troll to rise up and follow Meept!

The fog of Gnulix Genital Warts shall be lifted from slapdash after the liberation.


Popping Wrists (1)

WeeMadArthur (96586) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471375)

My wrists have been popping a LOT recently. Would this be an early warning sign of RSI or something? It generally doesn't hurt but it can't be good. What are some other early warning signs?


I don't normally have wrist pain.... (1)

Zaph (36677) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471376)

However, everytime I read an article like this, my wrists start to tingle, and I feel an urgent need to stretch.

Any other time, my wrists feel fine.

I think my therapy solution would be to stop reading articles about repetitive stress injuries... :)

Re:I heard this strange theory about RSI (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471377)

Hrm... not so strange.

I recall using a manual typewriter and maybe getting tired right then and needing to take a break (built in safeguard?) but that was it. No delayed problems sneaking up like with electronic keyboards.

I wonder if the 'glass arm' telegraphers got is similar. They used 'bugs' (a sort of sideways semi-automatic key) to increase speed.. and the better telegrpahers risked 'glass arm' The rest were more likely to have more time off the keys/bugs.

My mom's experiece with real Carpal Tunnel (2)

mmakunas (40104) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471378)

My mother was a secratary/typist for years, and eventually (after not typing for a few years), her wrists started hurting so much that she couldn't sleep at night. Nothing seemed to help so she opted for surgury, which at the time had the risk of, if the doctor screwed up, causing a complete loss of hand motion. Not something you'd want even if you don't type.

So do people still have surgury for CTS? And have the risks gone down?

Wrist pain (2)

Mendax Veritas (100454) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471379)

Perversely, one of the only two times I have ever had significant wrist pain from computer usage was just after my company brought in an "ergonomics expert". This individual told me my keyboard was positioned too high, and adjusted it to a lower level. The pain began shortly thereafter. I put my keyboard back to where it had been before, and the pain went away. Moral: take "ergonomics experts" with a grain of salt.

I suspect the real problem was not the keyboard, but the mouse. Since the keyboard and the mouse sit side-by-side, lowering the keyboard meant lowering the mouse also. This forced my wrist to bend at an odd angle whenever I used the mouse, and indeed, it was after using the mouse almost exclusively for an hour (in a paint program) that I first noticed the pain.

The other wrist pain incident was just after Microsoft came out with their "middle-button wheel" mouse. I made heavy use of the wheel when I first got one of these things, and found that it led to wrist pain (perhaps because rapidly spinning the wheel with the middle finger is a rather unnatural motion). So I stopped rotating the wheel (back to scroll bars, alas!) and the pain went away.

I strongly urge anyone experiencing wrist pain from computer use to take the problem seriously and get it taken care of early. One of my coworkers has been out on disability for nearly three years now because he ignored his wrist pain.

Correct URL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471380)

Here's the correct link [] .

Mmmmm. Spandex!

Re:I heard this strange theory about RSI (1)

Masa (74401) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471381)

Actually this doesn't sound that strange after using this new Key Tronic Ergoforce keyboard. It seems that Ergoforce is designed to be as non-responsive as possible. After 15 minutes of work with it will cause me terrible pains. But with this good oldtimer Key Tronic keyboard with clicking keys (and without those stupid M$ keys) there isn't any problems. I think that there really is a connection between insufficient resistance and wrist pains.

Re:I heard this strange theory about RSI (2)

Kinthelt (96845) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471382)

I think the lack of resistance found on most modern keyboards is the catalyst.

I get amazed at the number of people I see with poor typing practices, and then they go complaining about wrist pain.

From my many years of piano playing, I got the "correct" technique for playing piano engrained into my brain. The technique seems to work well with keyboard typing too. Get your wrists UP off the table, and curl your fingers so they look like claws. Don't use armrests for your elbows. Your arms should be dangling loose, not resting on anything.

If you need a little help getting your wrist off the ground, move your keyboard to the edge of the desk. That way, you're forced to have your wrists up. You may find that your shoulders will get tired, but as they strengthen up it'll pass.

Emacs causes these problems? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471383)

Is it a coincidence that Ben Wing, head of the Xemacs project right now, Jamie Z, "Mr. Lucid Emacs", and Richard Stallman, ALL have wrist pain problems, and have been potentially crippled by them? Is it possible that using EMACS with it's funky key combinations actually CAUSES this problem? Mind you, I'm an emacs user myself. I love it. And don't want to give it up! But umm, this is just too much of a coincidence to not be noticed!

Re:Wrist Pain sometimes caused by your spine! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471384)

I already spend big bucks on pain killers :)'s what's for breakfast :)

Wimps (2)

Quinn (4474) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471385)

I've been typing 10+ hours a day for more than 10 years (everything from a Laser128 to various PC keyboards, but never any of that new-age "ergonomic" crap!) and I have never experienced wrist pain.

What are you people doing?

Half those years included a lot of masturbation. Maybe you should work that into your therapy?


Re:Wrist pains.. (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471386)

Cayenne pepper (taken internally or externally) will also help circulation to the extremities. I don't know about helping wrist pain (fortunatly, I don't have that), but it does help with back pain.

Keyboard Wrist rests work well (2)

madmancarman (100642) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471387)

My freshman year of college, I began suffering from severe pain in my wrists, probably caused by a combination of bass & guitar playing, mountain biking, taking a ridiculous amount of notes, and typing for at least 3 hours a day. I was at a point where the pain was enough to keep me from typing, and I would actually ride to class with my arms resting on the handlebars so I wouldn't put pressure on my wrists.

I tried a variety of things, from pain medication to wrapping my wrists in Ace bandages (sometimes with cold packs I kept in the freezer) to going to a sports medicine therapist and trying prescription pills. Ultimately, the single thing that made the most difference (besides cutting down on my acoustic guitar playing) was a $3 padded wrist rest that I bought at Walmart on a whim. Believe it or not, it really helps, and while my wrists are definitely weaker than they were before they started hurting, I can at least use them regularly without pain. You don't have to buy one of those $15-20 gel ones, either - mine is plain black, not terribly soft, and sits at the base of my keyboard. It annoyed the hell out of me for the first week or two, but I got used to it quickly, and really prefer it now. All geeks with wrist pain should get one.

Touch typing is tool of the devil! (2)

Otto (17870) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471388)

My thoughts on this are a bit odd, but... DON'T TOUCH TYPE.

I think that this standard 5-finger technique is the cause of a lot of wrist stress related injuries.

Here's why:
The only time I have ever experienced serious wrist pain is when playing quake for hours on end, and literally not moving my wrists to any great extent. One hand on the keyboard, one on the mouse. The slightest mouse movement spins me around (I keep my sensitivity super high), so my wrist doesn't really move a lot.

I am not a touch typist. I learned to type through massive amounts of practice hunt-and-peck.. Just the way you would naturally learn. I also type 50-60 WPM. :-) I simply know where the keys are. It's a memory thing. I've been typing on a computer since I was 7. You learn the keyboard that way. My touch-typist friends think I'm really odd, since my hands are flying all over the place when I type.

I never get wrist pain even after hours upon hours of typing. Why? I think it's because the wrists are never immobile. It's like a form of very light exercise for the hands.

I see these touch typists who type for hours without lifting their hands at all. They don't even move them to think, because they're so used to the position of their wrists on the keyboard. I'm sorry, but that simply can't be healthy for your wrists. The strain you're putting on them in that position is just too severe, over a long period of time...

Anyway, yes, I probably could type faster if I unlearned the way I type, and learned the "correct" way. But hell, I don't need to type so damn fast that I risk my health, yeh?


These Other Techniques Work For Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471389)

1. Type with two fingers 2. Masturbate - not only will this increase your wrist strength, but it will provide a great deal of pleasure too (if done right)

Re:Popping Wrists (1)

humphrm (18130) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471390)

Check with your doctor, but I think the popping is a sign of arthritis...

Alternate Devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471391)

Aw, rats, I'd'a had first post if I'd posted before reading the articles ;-)

I play pipe organs myself (as recreation and exercise; I know, looking at Carlo Curley you don't think "exercise" but you try it :-) and have always wondered how well a standard pedalboard would adapt to typing. You'd want to concoct a letter sequence that was mostly alternate-toe... and something to plug MIDI into the keyboard hole :-) Hmmm...

Re:RSI (1)

albalbo (33890) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471392)

Yep, that's what I was on about. This link was particularly good: description.html [] - it's a short description of Alexander Technique. All about posture & stuff, basically..

Crazy people, exercise (1)

bugg (65930) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471393)

Jamie didn't cover this enough.
When you do your weightlifting (as you all should be doing) add in some wrist curls at the end of your exercises (do it at the beginning and you will injure yourself doing other chest or arm exercises) and you'll feel great. Always. I haven't had wrist pain since I started this ~8 months ago.

Re:Keyboards are for sissies... (1)

Dfiant (13407) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471394)

Speaking of direct neural interfaces, I found a link from that FAQ to a company called Brain Actuated Technologies, Inc. [] Looks like they use a few forehead sensors to detect electrical and muscular impulses. Neat, but quite an expensive toy. =)

I actually tried out something similar at Epcot Center in Orlando, FL. It was a kind of neural joystick hooked into an SGI workstation running a skiing game. You basically stuck your finger in the interface and it would pick up electrical impulses from your brain. It took a few tries to get myself going safely, but it got easier after some practice.

Re:Emacs causes these problems? (1)

Royster (16042) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471395)

It's hardly enough of a coincidence to be noticed.

I *never* use Emacs. I have wrist pain. What these people have in common is that they do a whole lot of typing.

The funny thing, my wrist pain has only startd in the last two weeks since I cleaned my desk and got rid of all the piles of paper encroaching on my keyboard. Perhaps I shoild go back to the clutter.

Re:Poor man solutions? (1)

Kerbtier (68001) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471396)

A paperback book called "Repetitive Strain Injury - A Computer User's Guide" by Emil Pascarellie and Deborah Quilter. I got my copy at [] . I forget what I paid, but the back cover of the book says $16.95 (US).

I too am a poor college student doing part time programming work. My wrists begain to ache badly some time ago, but two things greatly helped: I purchased an ergo-keyboard (split down the middle) and stopped resting my hands on the keyboard and mouse when using them.

A small investment now will hopefully prevent future problems.

Re:I lost my Wrist for three months (2)

humphrm (18130) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471397)

I dealt with RSI with some simple steps; I found that the worst of my RSI was caused not by computer work but by my poor driving habits. A few minor computer tools helped also.

First, I arranged my driver's seat so that I could comfortably grip the steering wheel without bending my wrists. I keep my hands at 10 and 2, wrists strait (but not rigid) and that helped a LOT.

Next, I added one of the afformentioned keyboard strips and had a great deal of response.

I did the wrist splint for a while, it might have helped but I stopped after the pain went away and I was doing the above things at the same time too.

My pain went away about seven years ago, and has not been back (I was diagnosed in 1980 or so, maybe '82 or '83...)

On the other hand, my mom (who works as an Op) had the surgury and complained a lot about it -- out of work for many weeks, couldn't drive for months, still had pain, etc.

We often attribute our wrist pain immediately to computers, without looking at what other wrist-related bad habits might be contributing as well. Essentially, you need to keep pressure off the wrist tunnel as much as possible; whether you're at the computer, driving, golfing, or channel-surfing!

important safety tip: stay relaxed. (2)

mjackso1 (14092) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471398)

Even if you're under deadline pressure or otherwise typing in a frenzy, you should always keep your shoulders, arms, and hands relaxed when typing. It doesn't take a great deal of force or movement to type quickly, so don't overexert.

These injuries are not inevitable, even if you sit and type for long periods of time. In college, I majored in piano, and they repeatedly told us that RSI is preventable as long as you make sure you don't tense up when playing. The same applies to typing, or any fine motor activity.

Re:pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471399)

In fact, one of the reasons I loved my v. 1 Microsoft Natural Keyboard was that the little legs on that version were was possible to type with the keyboard sloping away from me, which reduces RSI due to typing on keys far from the home row.

Unfortunately, it seems that most people simply wouldn't accept that, so they've gone back to the standard "little legs to bend your wrists back and hurt them" design in more recent versions. Grr.

Re:Poor man solutions? Yes!! (2)

BranMan (29917) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471400)

I've had the problem myself, and yes you can work on it yourself. IANAD, and your milage may vary, but...

Thing one. Act early. I started to get tingly feelings in my fingers, they started to twitch a bit on their own, and it was a little painful to stretch them out fully. Does that sound familiar? If so - STOP. Right now.

Thing two. Get a wrist pad - it's the cheapest addition that might help you. DO NOT get a foam one - these are junk IMO. Get a GEL wristpad (about $15 at a computer store).

Thing three. READ THE FAQ. Understand it. Work on ergonimics. Rearrange your work area. Use bricks and boards if you have to - it doesn't have to look pretty.

Thing four. Take breaks. Do the stretches. Work on (gasp!) paper to figure out new things. Go for variety.

Thing five. Baby yourself. It sounds silly, but act like a baby - if you feel anything at all, stop. Do other stuff until it feels better. Work slower. Use the mouse. Get creative with your bash history - anything to avoid more keystrokes.

Thing six. If it doesn't get better, or already hurts a lot, go to a doctor - go to your councillors - go to your dean - go to your attached medical school. You're in school dammit - get creative! Get help!

That's my $.02. Don't spend it all in one place.
Good luck.

happy hacker keyboard (1)

banky (9941) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471401)

I have one of these on my Xmas list, and I am certain i am going to get it. Has anyone had an experiences with it? Wrist pain go up, down, left, whatever?

False, False, FALSE!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471402)

I can testify to the fact that you can work through it. The problem is that most people don't keep it up; they wimp out in the face of pain.

Most geeks are only used to emotional pain, not physical pain. You have to force through the pain and eventually your wrist will adapt. If you give up because of the pain, of course you'll claim it didn't work itself out. My pain was so bad each keystroke brought me to the point of white-hot agony, but I didn't quit - I tought it out.

Don't be a PUSSY!

Re:MEEPT!!! (1)

Karma Whore! (123218) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471403)

What happened to the Glorius Meept? Just Meept? Are you the real Meept?

What have we unleashed?! Are you truly the Unspeakable One? Were you recovering from RSI? Are you better now?

--still awaiting the return of our illustrious and glorius leader Meept!

I always got a kick out of this. (1)

redial (124470) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471404)

If the pins and needles don't do it for ya try the the good ol' Carpal Tunnel Workshop [] .

Some of you probably remember this from 'The Corporation' website.

Re:pain (1)

mezzo (20109) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471405)

The little legs are actually bad for you? *confused*
Is this true? Links to any studies?

How I avoid pains . . . (3)

nicksand (28560) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471406)

I'm not sure that this is ergonomically correct, but I have never experienced any major discomfort from the method that I use, even after a multi-hour programming rampage.

For typing, I keep about four inches or so away from the front edge of my desk. The weight of my hands rests on the bottom part of my palm, which allows me to arch my fingers (I have big hands) comfortably over the keyboard, while maintaining my usual typing pace (80wpm avg). When possible, I rest my elbows on armrests.

As for my mouse, I keep it and its pad very far away from the front of the desk. Basically, my arm rests flat on the desk almost to the elbow. I keep my mouse sensitivity turned way up so that I can reach any side of my desktop, even at high resolutions, by only moving my hand a few inches. Since my entire arm is supported, this position is quite comfy.

For FPS games however, I move the mouse forward a bit, so that about half of my fore-arm area is supported by the desk. This seems to be more effective for those trigger-reflex type games.

I'm interested in hearing what positions other people use to stay comfy.

Note: I don't use any ergo-stuff. I use the HP keyboard that came with my old 486 (still love it!), and a microsoft serial mouse (no wheel) for mousing.

Re:my perception (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471407)

Consider this: the one time I really experienced wrist pain was after an all-nighter, cranking out a 30 page term paper.

I'll second that, but it seems to be more related to stress in general. There's a lot of fluctuation (new CEO, massive reorganizations, and I'm severly bored) at work right now, and my left wrist is sore. In college, writing my own 30 page term paper, my other wrist was sore.

Excercise and stretches seem to help. Anything to stretch and to relax that spot between the shoulder blades helps.

What really hurts is Quake -- it's the hunching forward to look at the screen and the rapid finger movements on the numberpad with my left hand and my right hand on the mouse that kills me there. Ugh.


Re:Wrist splints are bad, Hand-Eze gloves good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471408)

I also started having problems with my right hand. Learned to use the mouse left handed. Not hard. I don't change the left/right buttons so there is no problem when someone else uses my machine or when I use someone elses. I wear a wrist brace when I drive - the vibration seems be a factor too.

Mice considered harmful (1)

Peter Amstutz (501) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471409)

The only wrist problems I have ever had I think I have to attribute to using the mouse. I tended to rest my hand on it and weight of my arm then went on my wrist, and so sometimes got pain in my right wrist (my left, non-mousing wrist was fine) which went away in a few days. In my opinion the mouse is a very bad device from an ergonomics standpoint, especially the act of clicking places a lot of stress on the tendons.

These days I have a laptop with a touchpad and haven't had any problems, the amount of force required to move the pointer around on a touchpad is much less than than to move a mouse around.

I also use a dvorak [] keyboard layout, which places far less stress on my wrists for typing - the debate on whether it really is faster aside, dvorak is subjectivly a much more comfortable way to type.

One seemingly minor change that I have found very nice is moving the backspace key from its far-flung position in the right corner - which forces you to either contort you wrist or move your whole arm to reach it - to the alt key to the left of the spacebar. Now deleting text is just a matter of holding down the left alt key with my left thumb, and I never have to leave the home row - faster and more comfortable. I haven't seen too many people who do this but even with a QWERTY keyboard it is a really good idea, I think.


Karma Whore! (123218) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471410)

We're suprised you haven't gone blind yet from all your naughty ways.

And hey. Stop trying to make us go blind with the all caps. Just because using the CAPS LOCK key makes it less strainful, avoiding the shift key, doesn't make it ok.

Oh and by the way, ick.

Here's some RSI info [] to help you out.

This worked for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471411)

Wrist and arm pain hit me hard a couple of years ago. I was really afraid of losing my way of life. Happily, I found an easy solution: I rest the keyboard on my lap while I'm typing.

The ergonomics consultant of the company described the right angle your joints should be in while typing and recommended these special computer keyboard rests. I found that the special keyboard rests were both too high for the right angle and tore my jeans (some sharp skrews underneath).

I also tried special keyboards, but they still left the most often used keys in the awkward periphery: { } | + ( ) * Shift BackSpace. I didn't go so far as giving up emacs -- C++ was the culprit, not the holy editor.

I still type C++ with emacs and an ordinary keybaord, which I'm keeping on my lap as I type (in various sitting positions). I haven't had any wrist problems since I started doing that -- except that I drop the keyboard every now and then.

Marko [mailto]

Re:Emacs causes these problems? (2)

doom (14564) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471412)

Well, emacs users aren't the only people who have such problems, but what I'd say is that it's a combination of emacs and awful keyboards that do you in. Needing to lean on the control key all the time when some bozo decided to move it down under the shift key isn't going to do you any good.

The solution I recommend to my fellow emacs abusers is the Kinesis contoured keyboard: Kinesis Keyboards [] . If you look at that URL, the contoured keyboard is the model on the left. It has the control and alt keys moved into the center, under your thumbs, which is particularly good for using emacs.

What isn't so good is the teeny ESC key, and the CAPS LOC next to the A, but all of the keys are easily reprogrammable. I use the CAPS LOC as a second ESC.

And if you're really nervous about Emacs "chording" combinations, you can always try M-x viper. You can switch to a vi-like keystroke layout without abandoning emacs's power and flexibility.

MEEPT!!! (0)

MEEPT!!!!!! (124467) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471413)


Meept is never truly gone. They come for the SLASH, they stay for the MEEPT!

Meept and the facist regime call for you to RALLY!

  • Gnulix
  • broccoli
  • licks
  • snot


Behold, as the Might Meepty Army of trolls capture's slapdash to lift the fog of editorial stupidity!


bike? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471414)

Bike riding is great exercise, but it's full of RSI danger. Though a bike can be made to fit, I'd get off of it if it hurt. Swiming, walking, and joging on grass are great alternatives.

Steelcase makes a better, and yes more expensive, chair. The back and the seat are moved seperatly rather than as a unit when the user leans back. Other pieces are nice too, but not as cool looking as that Herman Miller thingy.

Prevention & Care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471415)

I had wrist pain years ago from way too much Photoshop work, I got a pair of Handeze gloves (I think that's the name) they are fingerless gloves that help support the wrist. Warm temperatues help too, either wear long sleeves, or crank up the heat a bit, for better blood flow, cold makes the muscles ache.

Re:I lost my Wrist for three months (1)

DonkPunch (30957) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471416)

Me too, but I found it behind the couch.

Re:The best way... (1)

freddie (2935) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471417)

duh, I get it.

You only really need this however, if your hands are totally destroyed or crippled.

My main complaint (1)

Zico (14255) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471418)

When I learned typing years ago on one of the old DOS programs (Typing Tutor, I think), I was always taught to use the left hand for the 5 and the right hand for the 6, but the split keyboards have both the 5 and 6 on the left hand. I love the Microsoft keyboards and have been using them for years now, but this is still always guaranteed to trip me up now and then. Anybody know if typing is taught these days to use the left hand for both the 5 and the 6, or is this a Microsoft innovation?

Caveat emptor: There is one version of the MS split keyboard that has smaller arrow keys and the Ins/Del/Home/End/PgUp/PgDn keys are rearranged. Do not get this keyboard, because you'll never get used to the rearrangement.


Re:I heard this strange theory about RSI (1)

Brett Viren (296) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471419)

Strangely, I would suggest just the opposite. I get the most pain when using keyboards which are too close to me. I prefer to have from my elbow to my wrist supported by the desk and wrist pad.

I think that it is more important to just pay attention to yourself. I started getting severe pains in both arms near the wrists (using the above position!). Consiously and slightly altering my exact possition eventually brough relief.

One thing for sure, however, is it is SCARY when you start getting these pains!

Re:my perception (1)

sporkboy (22212) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471420)

my hands were practically useless for weeks at a time until I bought my first M$ Natural Keyboard. It was almost like magic after the old xt-style kb's (and sharp-edged desks) that I'd been working on.

Re:pain (1)

Reid (629) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471421)

I noticed that new ones have moved the legs to the back, too. Fortunately, I found a cheapo ergo keyboard with three legs in the front. Feels good, and I managed to save a bundle. I don't remember the maker, but I think I picked it up in Office Max....

the easiest thing you can do... (2)

ywwg (20925) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471422) buy a wrist pad for your keyboard AND mouse. A lot of people only buy a keyboard pad and don't realize their mouse hand is doing the exact same thing. I used to get pains after playing too much quake, but as soon as I got a pad the pain went away. It's cheap and effective.

If you have a 3M mousepad that won't work with a wrist-rest, do what I do: clip it [] on top of a pad that _does_ have a rest :P

Re:I heard this strange theory about RSI (1)

retep (108840) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471423)

I would disagree. Those old typewriters were hell in a black case. :) I've tried one, nasty! They put huge amounts of pressure on your left pinkie finger. Horrible.

My grandma was once a typist in the days of manual typewriters. She now has arthritis. It's worst on her left pinkie finger. And she was just diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in addition to her arthritis.

My battle with RSI (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471424)

I've been affected by RSI for around 3 years now. Initially, it got to the point where I could not type, mouse, drive, or even rest properly.

The thing to keep in mind is that once you notice the symptoms, your only recourse is to rest. Problem with RSI is your muscles and tendons will hurt more when they're resting if you have RSI. Bizarre and scary, but true.

My situation was helped by a sympathetic manager and doctor. Without either one, I probably would have lost my job. People at worker's compensation will do almost anything to either get you back to work or pay you off so you're no longer a liability.

Do not make a self diagnosis. Go to a doctor. But it is good to be knowledgable about RSI in general. A good book I can recommend is "Repetitive Strain Injury" by Pascarelli. I must apologize to its co-author because only the main author's name stick in my mind. This book was written by a doctor and a patient of his. A very excellent book, it covers stretching exercises you should do while you're resting, as well as descriptions of the various forms of RSI. I am not affiliated in any way to this book.

My keyboard of choice is the IBM options split keyboard. It is physically split and allows "tenting." Tenting just means you can tilt the various sides so that the keyboard's surface may conform more to your hand's neutral position. I cannot use a mouse anymore and prefer a trackball. With the IBM keyboard, the trackball sits between the two pieces of keyboard so I can use either hand when mousing. Getting a trackball with large buttons is important so you don't have to stress one finger to repeatedly press a button--rather you can use several and reduce the strain required. Sadly, IBM stopped making the options keyboard (also marketed by Lexmark) due to insufficient demand. All these things may sound like I'm over-reacting but RSI develops from accumulated strain over the years and won't go away overnight.

One thing I also want to stress is once you have RSI you shouldn't exercies the affected parts of your body until your body has adequately healed itself otherwise you'll be in worse shape than before.

Once you have RSI, you should try anything that you think will help. Everyone's body is different in how it reacts to various stimuli. What works for others may not work for you; what doesn't work for others may work for you.

Re:Use vi, use vi macros. (3)

doom (14564) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471425)

Bill Joy uses emacs now.

Jacking Off (0) (114733) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471426)

I think that JWZ aka Jamie of Netscape oops I mean AOL oops I mean Mozilla the Mosaic Killer. Wow if I wasn't mistaken, Netscape oops I mean a division of AOL has AOzillaed! Anyways wrist pain comes from WACKIN' YER STICK TOO OFTEN! If you know what I mean... And hey i'm not denying that on days a wack it 5 times my wrist(s) aren't a little sore using the mouse to browse porn either...

Kinesys Kbds (1)

imagi (27636) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471427)

Have a look at these - I'm using one and they really help out. Much better than the M$ ones.

Old keyboards also cause lack of resistance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471428)

Then there are keyboards that have too much resistance at unpredictable times. I'm talking about ones that are worn out. Why not simply replace them? Well, I bought a nice laptop from one of those vendors [] that do not sell parts like keyboards and sending it back for a replacement was not an option. I neglected to act.

So, I spent my time with this keyboard like I was chisling stone tablets just to make sure all the keys were indeed pressed. The pain started. Tried the dvorak layout. That helped a lot due to less movement of the fingers to get the job done, but the keyboard got worse and the pain returned.

The reason why I got a laptop in the first place was to work in any comfortable place I please. So, I ditched the laptop and am happy with a new spring click keyboard [] .

My Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471429)

I just masturbate alot and it tends to help my wrists feel better plus I get an orgasm out of it so it's a win-win situation.

Re:Emacs causes these problems? (1)

Zagadka (6641) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471430)

Actually, it's interesting that you mention that. All of the people I know personally who have wrist trouble are emacs users. I'm a VIM [] user myself, and I've never had wrist problems.

Chording is supposed to be pretty hard on the wrists. VI and its derivatives don't use chords for very many things, except for a few shifts, and a very small number of rarely used control keys.

A possible alternative to a vi-like editor would be to use emacs with "sticky keys". Knowing emacs, there's probably an elisp script that can turn that on for you. Then you's press (and release) each meta key before the key it modifies. So "C-x" would be 'control' followed by 'x'.

Or you could use one of the vi-modes for emacs... :-)

The Facts About Repetitive Strain Injuries (1)

webword (82711) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471431)

I did an interview with Scott Wright, Webmaster and Primary Caretaker of the Typing Injury FAQ.

He answered these questions:
* What is the Typing Injury FAQ? What is your role?
* What are Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs)?
* What are the symptoms or signs of injury?
* What are the common causes or injury risks of RSIs?
* How can injuries be avoided? What are the best preventative measures?
* Are there special RSI considerations for Web users?
* How is Web design related to RSIs? For example, can Web sites be better designed to prevent RSIs?

You can find it on my site:
The Facts About Repetitive Strain Injuries []

John S. Rhodes
New e-book ---


Re:Emacs causes these problems? (1) (114733) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471432)

why is emacs as bloated as MS Office?

Re:I lost my Wrist for three months (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471433)

While I don't have RSI specifically, I do have a damaged wrist. I found that a trackball such as a logitech trackman marble [] was much more usable than a mouse, for me, since you don't have to move your whole hand

Re:Poor man solutions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471434)

The cheapest preventative measure is to not use the same hand all the time! If you start feeling any pain at all in your right hand, start using your left. If the left starts hurting, use the right. Keep doing this, and you should never progress to anything serious.

Re:Popping Wrists (1)

Pyrrus (97830) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471435)

I can pop ~40-50 joints in my body, everyone says that I am going to get authritis, but it doesn't hurt so oh well. (it's good for scaring the girls in class ;-))

Various theories as to the cause of RSI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1471436)

10) Retyping the mirabilis web address because the first twenty-two tries didn't pan out.

9) Trying to manually macro in Ultima Online.

8) Typing that term paper during finals week.

7) Writing a basic program and realizing its so easy you're typing at 120wps.

6) Staying on IRC for more than an hour.

5) Retyping your spam mail attacks so each is different and won't be filtered out.

4) Cyber-sex sends you over the edge.

3) You stayed on IRC for more than twenty minutes.

2) Trying to type flame msgs and pilot in SubSpace simultaenously.

1) ALT-TABbing like a demon when mom walks in about to find the kinky stuff you like.

The DynaBee (2)

gregbaker (22648) | more than 14 years ago | (#1471437)

Something /.ers (and JWZ) might want to try is a DynaBee [] . I've never had any major wrist pains, but my girlfriend has one of these , so I tried it one day

It's a funky little gyroscope thingy that you get going and then use the gyroscopic force as resistance for wrist excercises. It's fun, geeky and good for you!

They claim it "is particularity effective in the rehabilitation and prevention of repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis or 'tennis elbow'." Like I said, I can't speak from experience, but it is fun.


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