So I really thought that taking a week off would help my hand and arm complaints subside.  And it did!!  When I got back from She Speaks, where I had only been using a laptop computer (no mouse and no designing), I was feeling some better, although I was still having some symptoms.  Then I took off again for five days at the beach where, again, I only used a laptop.  I didn’t notice any discomfort all week.

Then I got home last night and sat down in front of my beautiful iMac and started clicking away, catching up on emails and checking out all of your blogs, and within an hour, my right hand was cramping and I was feeling familiar pangs up and down my arm, even though I have switched to an ergonomic mouse (whatever THAT means) and purchased a nice chair with arm rests.  Today the symptoms continue, and I even have mild pains in my back.

Evidently, my arm has a very good memory.  And whatever damage was done needs more than a week of rest to repair.

I have an appointment for an EMG on Monday.  All I know is that means lots of needles.  I don’t do needles.  To say I’m dreading Monday is the understatement of the year.

I was really hoping that by the time this appointment rolled around, I wouldn’t need it.  But at this point, I think we need to start taking more aggressive measures to figure out exactly what is wrong and what I can do to fix it. 

The internist already diagnosed tendinitis of the elbow.  The EMG will determine whether or not I have carpal tunnel. No one mentioned physical therapy.  The only treatments that were suggested were steroid injections, medication, and ultimately surgery.  I would prefer to take less invasive measures, however.  I mean, who wouldn’t??  Why do doctors automatically suggest such drastic options??

So what am I doing right now?  Designing a blog.  There HAS to be a reasonable solution.  I mean, millions of people work on computers all day long all over the world.  Right?  ARGH.

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26 thoughts on “Boohoo.

  1. ughh that stinks! I know one of the reasons they recommend the surgery is because once that nerve is crushed there is no way to repair it. If it is just tendionitis rest and a shot will help clear it up. But carpal tunnel no such luck.. I worked at a rehabilitation center with students that were trying to get an IT related job and a lot of them had physical disabilities. One of the things we used a lot was this arm rest:


    I know it kinda looks crazy.. but we had an extra one at the office and it was amazing how much stress it took off your arm/wrist/shoulder. I hope the EMG goes well on Monday.

  2. What type of pain are you having? I have terrible wrist, thumb and forearm pain. I think I must be at the computer way too much! Of course, I work from home on my computer and love blogging. I don’t see any solution from my end – just type and bare it!

  3. I had similar issues with neck, back and wrist. I bought a riser for the computer (it has a coffee mug holder too!) and one of those cushy things to go in front of the keyboard. I also try to take a break every hour or so and do some exercises.

  4. Have you tried a chiropractor? Not all chiropractors are created equal. If you decide to go that route, find one who uses physically therapy strategies along with adjustments. Mine uses massage, stretching, electrical stim, ultrasound, etc. He has done wonders for me!

    I heart my chiropractor!

    Hopefully, you find relief soon! It really is the pits to be in chronic pain!

  5. As you know, DCRmom, I waited waaay too long to get an EMG, so way to go! that you’re going to aggressively search for an answer. Hey, Julie Price, if you do have carpal tunnel, putting up with it can cause permanent nerve damage in your hands! I know from personal experience!!

  6. Awww, Honey. 🙁 So sorry to hear of the discomfort! Too much time at the computer for me results in back pain extraordinaire…back doc says get up and walk and stretch for every 15 minutes sitting at the computer…which is far easier said than done. 🙁

    Hoping there is a straight-forward, minimally (or non-) invasive remedy for what ails you. Try to rest as you can. Keeping good thoughts and keep us in your loop!

  7. Moriah – No no no. I was afraid you might take that the wrong way when you read it. I’m going to be working on something, either yours or someone else’s, so don’t feel bad at all! 🙂 It’s what I like to do. Hopefully I can figure out a solution so I can keep working. I’m sure I can.

    Thanks to everyone for the advice and tips.

  8. Ugh! That does not sound pleasant. I’ll say a prayer for you.

    I have two pieces of assvice-slash-personal experience stories. First I credit my chiropracter with keeping the carpal tunnel away from me. Second I have a coworker whose wrists never felt another twinge of pain after cortisone shots.

  9. I do remember one of my employees having the same issue at one point. She did have a special wrist rest that propped her arm/wrist up accross the computer. Seemed to have worked. Avoid any surgery if possible, second opinion and how about acupuncture! I just have an issue with injections or surgery automatically pointed to it. Hopefully, it is simple. Good luck.

  10. Make sure you ask about physical therapy. He may have just forgotten to mention it.

    I’m pretty sure there are at least some PT exercises that can help. Having no pain during a week of rest is probably a good sign.

    You might also want to think about experimenting with where you have your mouse pad. The position of your arm while you use your mouse may be irritating and pinching some nerves. Try putting it further away from you or further off to the side so your arm is more extended.

    Or you could try a trackball rather than a mouse. Or, I’m not sure if they make touchpads that you can hook up to your computer like a mouse, but that might be something to look into too.

    Hope you feel better soon and they can offer you something less invasive.


  11. I heart my chiropractor too! They adjust your spine, which is always key to overall body health, as well as adjusting any sore spots. It’s less invasive (and less expensive) than needles or surgery. And it’s natural!

    I have wrist trouble as well, and I get my wrist adjusted regularly. I was also told to do wrist curls with weights, to strengthen my wrists, and to stretch regularly. And taking regular breaks is good for the wrist, back, and eyes!

  12. I also was going to suggest Accupuncture. If you can get a friend in your area to reccommend someone you’ll be better off. But really, they do wonders.

    I used to wear a brace for wrist pain from nursing. I used to hold my newborn (waaa, he’s now 7) at an angle that did something freaky to my wrist. The brace helped with positioning.

  13. Have you tried a brace? I’m sure it’s pretty uncomfortable while typing but maybe it will apply the right amount of pressure.
    Good luck tomorrow!

  14. At the very least, try the ergonomic mousepad and wrist rest for the keyboard. They did wonders for my mild carpal tunnel. I got the mousepad that has a gel wrist rest at one end, and a beanbag-like wrist rest at an office supply store and I’ve had no more troubles. And try adjusting your chair height – perhaps it’s too low and you’re putting pressure on your wrists in a funny way. Good luck with the EMG – concentrate on how cool it is that they can stimulate your nerves that way. Or something.

  15. I had a friend who had the carpal tunnel surgery and it wasn’t that bad at all, so she said. She also sits on a exercise ball instead of a chair when she is working on the computer. She said that has helped the pain in the back, neck and arm. Maybe it’s worth a try. Good luck Monday at the doctors

  16. I have carpal tunnel, and I currently use a laptop, and I have terrible grip and I am getting a desktop soon and blah blah…I am saying all this to say that the laptop still bothered my carpal tunnel, but chiropractic care seems to help. I am not a “chiropractors heal everything” person, but I do think it’s helping that because it has to do with nerve compression. 🙂

  17. Oh, I know how awful that is. I’ve dealt with carpel tunnel and tendonitis in both hands for a few years.

    The only thing I know of that really helps carpel tunnel is bracing, especially at night. I did that along with steroid injections. And let me tell you, the injections made a huge difference! It was amazing how much better I felt after it took effect. I ended up having surgery after a couple years and have not had any problems with the carpel tunnel since then. The tendonitis though…thats kicking my butt lately. Good luck!

  18. Hi– I found you through Beth and I just had to chime in–I hope the EMG goes alright on Monday. I was diagnosed with tendonitis of the thumbs/wrist (mystery cause) about 10 years ago, and PT did wonders. Last year, I had some disk issues (pinching nerves in my legs), and the MD wanted to immediately slice me open and shave off part of my vertebra. I declined and found a good chiropractor, and things are much better. I would absolutely look for alternative solutions to surgery! Best of luck@

  19. Hey sweets…

    Yucky news; I’ll be praying for you. Yes, even while I’m at the beach…!

    Gosh, we’re too young to be havin’ health problems. Or…maybe we’ll just get ’em all in, so when we hit 50 we’ll be “all good”.


  20. HI!
    I didn’t realize you were back already!
    Ok, I haven’t been able to read all the blogs I read the last couple of days.
    Sorry to hear it’s still bothering you!
    Oh, I so hate needles too. I am with ya on that one.
    I do hope and pray that things will get better for you…I need you! 🙂 L0L

  21. Oh, Jo-Lynne. That’s horrible! I guess you’re going to the doc today. I’m praying it’s better. And yes, for some better treatment than needles and steroids. YIKES. Keep us updated!

  22. I had carpal tunnel really bad during all three of my pregnancies and finally did something about it with the third one. My OB always said, “there’s nothing you can do except wear a brace.” blah, blah. The braces do help a lot though. I proactively found an orthopaedist last time to give me cortisone shots – they are a freakin’ miracle! I would recommend them to anyone. And it was very fast. Hope your solution comes as easily too.

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