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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

As a gregarious person, I never considered the short times I spent at the computer a threat to my health. Rather, I worried about my wife who works as a bookkeeper at a computer all day long with Excel and QuickBooks.

I paid little attention to carpal tunnel syndrome for many years until it struck me a few months ago. It started so gradually with vague aching mostly in my right wrist. I thought it was just the constant pressure on the palm side of my wrist. Usually, the pain and stiffness would go away if I just shook my hands for a few seconds.

I began to feel numbness while driving for extended periods. I thought it was from resting my elbow on the door handle or in the window. The sensations often passed if I kept both hands at 10 and 2 o’clock on the steering wheel. Most of my travel is short in the East Bay area, so as long as the trip was short, I noticed nothing.

Then the pains and numbness started effecting me even on short driving trips. Now, the pain traveled up both arms. It would shoot from the palm side of my wrists, under my forearms and inside at the elbow.

Something had to be done. When I tried to push myself up from the sofa, the pain was so bad that I had to do it without my right hand. I suspected the mouse I was using.

A few years ago, I purchased an Ultra Mini Optical Mouse with Retractable Cord. I liked it so much for being so compact to use with my laptop. I found it so quick in responsiveness that I began using them with my desktop computers. It just goes to show that, just because the thing feels good at first does not mean it is the right thing to do or that it is safe.

At the Union City Circuit City, I noticed the Microsoft Natural® Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 www. microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/docs/ NaturalWirelessLaserMouse6000/index.html. The box showed how resting the palm side of the wrist on the keyboard or mouse pad is unnatural. There is a constant strain because of the angle. More natural is the hand resting on the outside of the wrist, with the thumb and index fingers at the top.

We are taught to drive with our hands in that position on the steering wheel. Two weeks after I started to use this new mouse, the pains started fading. Three months later, the pains have stopped completely.

Now that I experienced this, I am thinking about purchasing the Microsoft Natural® Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 www.microsoft. com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/productdetails. aspx?pid=043

It does not make sense to wait until the suffering is unbearable, when I know it is just a matter of time. Sixty dollars is a small price to pay (or pain) compared to a great pain later with that dreaded carpal tunnel syndrome.


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