I, like so many, use the computer on a regular basis. My current job is 100% computer, and my previous job, was 90% computer. This doesn’t count the fact that my major in college was computer information systems. So imagine my dismay when in the spring of 2007, only a few months into my new job, which I loved, I started to experience forearm and wrist pain.
Obviously this made me nervous, I had heard about CTS/RSI, but I was only 22! So I did what any young person would do, I ignored it. I figured it would go away. It didn’t. I knew what it was, no sense in going to the doctors though, they always tell you what you already know. So I tried to modify my work station. New Keyboard, several new mice, new chair, I tried it all, still nothing.
Finally, after a long vacation in winter 2007/2008 didn’t help, I gave in. I went to the doctor. I told her the symptoms, she told me what I already knew (without so much as coming near me to poke or prod btw) CTS/RSI. She thought maybe arthritis, but I thought that was ridiculous because I didn’t have the symptoms she said were normally associated with arthritis. So she filled out a prescription for a pain reliever, which I didn’t take, I’m not sold on drugs as an answer to any problem, and assigned some physical therapy which I did take.
The physical therapy was for a few weeks, and it did help a little bit. It was mostly muscle strengthening exercises as well as some stretching. I’m not sure if the PT helped or the fact that we were slow at work was the cause of decreased pain because once we got more work in, I started to feel more pain, and I wasn’t going back to the doctor.
I finally found my answer. I knew if I wanted to continue to work with computers that I needed to find something to ease the pain. I knew it wasn’t severe pain but if left lingering it could cause damage. I finally found one that solved my issue in May of 2008. Zero Tension Mouse. I read a review about it and decided to give it a try. I found one on Ebay for $60, so I bought it. It’s a vertical mouse so it took some time to get used to. After a while though I started to feel relief. My wrist hurt less and less until now I sit here today with no pain at all.
Note to Others
I think CTS/RSI is far more prevalent than statistics show due to the same attitude I showed. It sucks, and it’s scary. But it needs to be addressed. People walking by my desk always wondered why I switched mice, I tried 2 before ZTM. I said it was because I liked gadgets. I lied. Partially because I don’t want to share my personal issues, but also because it’s tough to explain to others how a 22 year old could have CTS/RSI. There should be more open and honest discussion about the issue. I’m grateful I have found a solution that works for me. If you have CTS/RSI, try a vertical mouse, ZTM is hard to find as you can see by their website, but check ebay periodically it shows up occasionally. Or you can search for other vertical mice, which there are plenty.
Do you have a CTS/RSI story to share?