Monday, June 23, 2008

It's Not Carpel Tunnel

For most of my adult life, I have been a bit on the intense side. A result of my “intense-ness” is called RSI in my wrist. RSI stands for repeated stress injury. I know that sounds rugged and tough like an avid rugby player’s condition, but it is actually a condition that comes from working on the computer…using the mouse and such. And after reading a book called ITS NOT CARPEL TUNNEL SYNDROME, I learned that a huge part of RSI is related to a personality that is more high strung, high stressed, and uptight. So my wrist hurt already…that made me feel even better. Thanks for the self-esteem book I paid $6.95 for. Plus shipping.

I took matters into my own hands. The stress part will have to be left up to God and this journal to figure out how to slow down, calm down, and live and more relaxed life-style. If there were a Barns and Nobel quick-pick called RELAXING FOR DUMMIES, I would be redeemed, healed, and set free. Unfortunately, nobody has thought of writing that book yet. Until they do, I had to consider the physical side of the problem. Too much typing, wrist moving, and mouse clicking.

I thought of getting one of those programs where you talk and it types while you talk. Unfortunately, that’s difficult to do when you work on music and the singer is singing the lyric, “Oh, baby baby, do it to me all night long.” So I moved on to tackle the wrist moving problem by doing a few things. First, I got TWO trackballs. I put a wrist guard on my right wrist to keep me from moving it. I put a make-shift pad on the wrist with an elastic band on the wrist so I can roll the trackball with the pad on my arm instead of my fingers. And the left trackball is to give my right wrist rest at times. The circular silver thing you see in the middle is for scrolling. In addition to that, I rigged a mouse on the floor for me to click with my foot. The mouse is embedded in a soft pad.

So at this point, you either think I’m a genius, a serious dork, or just plain freaky. That’s okay, either way, I can still keep working and I can patiently wait till that book comes out.

Until then, keep in touch with this blog. We’ve started tracking drums for the new album.


Becky said...

I have a suggestion for your RSI (not carpal tunnel, note spelling!). Did you ever think about the fact that in the old days of manual typewriters there was nothing ergonomically sensible about the conditions of the office pool. Yet you never heard about RSI or carpal tunnel syndrome then. Now that we have easy-touch keyboards, ergonomically divided keyboards, etc., people are getting these stress injuries. One theory is that the electromagnetic output from our machines interferes with our body's own electromagnetic output and makes us more susceptible to injury. One way to compensate is to wear a bipolar magnet when you're on the computer or electronic keyboard. Sound hokey? I thought so, too, but I tried it and it did reduce the forearm pain I used to get when I did a lot of computer work. The magnets are cheaper than the fancy gadgets you got, anyway. But I hope you get some relief. And thanks for the idea for the book. I'll put that in my idea file!

Future of Forestry said...

Hey becky. i HAVE read about that before but never met anyone who has taken action about it. that's rad you mentioned. my wife is always bugging me about that with computers and especially cell phones. i might need to give it a try.

doesn't sound hokey at all.

nate said...

hey eric,

i had some of the same problems too with RSI. here are some simple solutions in the studio that should help you relax and reduce the stress on your muscles:

1. chair - get one that meets these requirements:
- the bottom cushion of the chair is short enough that you can sit with your back resting fully. against the back of the seat.
- the chair has a separate height adjustment, lumbar support, and tilt adjustment features.
- you don't hit the frame of the chair when you push your finger into the foam.
- the chair is not too soft.

(you could also use one of those giant yoga exercise balls too because you're forced into finding and maintaining a good postural position. if you don't you'll fall off. doing this will also strengthen all the muscles of your body, increase circulation to your extremities, and improve your sense of balance)

exercise balls can be found here:

2. computer monitor - this will help maintain a RELAXED and correct posture. reduces strain on the muscles of your back, neck, and head.
- position the computer screen so that the center of the screen is at eye level. the monitor should always be directly in front of you, not off to one side.
- position the computer screen about 18-30" from your eyes.

3. keyboard - adjust the keyboard height so that your elbows are close to your body and your arms hang freely. your elbows should lie vertically under your shoulders.

4. mouse - check out this vertical mouse:, it'll help balance the flexor and extensor muscles of the arm.

other notes on why splints don't work:
- restricts motion and causes biomechanical imbalances.
- causes increased stress on other tissues, forcing them to work harder.
- causes the formation of more adhesions and restrictions in the muscles
- slows the healing process by restricting blood flow and oxygen to damaged tissues.

i have more information about this subject if you'd like to start a discussion on it. just send me an email!

i hope this helps!