As we’ve matured though our lives, society has rid us of some awfully debilitating conditions. But it also has added a few, including Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Baby boomer Ed Anderson of Westfield, New Jersey, writes for BoomerCafé about his own personal battle overcoming it. You might recognize something similar in your own life.
I worked in the same office for close to ten years. I had gone to college to become a filmmaker, so it only made sense that I would spend the next decade after I graduated working for a payroll company in a small cubicle. Not! In a million years I would not have guessed that most of my life would be spent putting numbers into a computer, but despite my hatred of math and the complete opposite way in which my career was now headed, all in all, I was happy enough with what I did.
That was, of course, until the pain in my wrist started. A pain I would end up ignoring for far too long.
At first, I just assumed it was soreness from typing so much, since in the beginning it was not happening all of the time. The pain would normally go away at night when I got home, and especially once I was away from a desk. Not only that, but everybody I know did their work on computers. If carpal tunnel syndrome was such a big deal, I would know more people who had it or I would have read more stories about it online.
It was not until years later that I started to realize that the pain was not going away, and in fact, it was getting worse. What used to be a general soreness when I was typing on my computer became trouble in grabbing everyday objects like my coffee mug or the keys to my car. All of a sudden these minor symptoms were turning into a real problem — one that I would need to find a solution for, and fast.
After finally seeing a doctor about it, I was told that I had carpal tunnel syndrome and that I could have surgery to try and fix the issue. However, because of the idea of going under the knife when it was not absolutely necessary, along with scary stories I had heard of people who did not have a successful result after getting the surgery, I decided against it.
What I did instead was learn to manage my physical suffering and take steps to relieve some of the pressure and reduce some of the pain. First, I made it a habit to take breaks when typing for long periods of time at my computer. In addition, I got into the habit of icing my wrists several times a day to help reduce the swelling, sometimes even wearing a splint on my wrist at night to help keep it in a neutral position.
For some, this might not be the right decision, but luckily for me, just these small changes ended up helping immensely and I was able to solve my problem without the help of a major surgery.