Wrist pain eliminated with keyboard and massage
Posted by David Chandler on October 5, 2009
About three years ago while working on a crunch project and finishing a document on my laptop on the plane, I experienced such wrist pain that I had to hold one hand by the wrist with my other hand and type one finger at a time. That prompted me to do two things:
- Start seeing a myofascial massage therapist every 2-4 weeks. This was tremendously beneficial in clearing up the acute pain in my wrists at the time, and has remained beneficial. Every now and then, I just need to get the tension in my arms cleared out completely, and only myofascial massage has been able to do that.
- On the recommendation of programmer friends, I started using the Kinesis Advantage Pro keyboard. It took about a week to become really comfortable with it, but I noticed an immediate and lasting difference. I still experience some forearm irritation (mostly itching), but no more wrist pain. A side benefit of the Kinesisis is that I can type faster than ever before, and much prefer the two-handed Ctrl and Alt key combinations to the dangerous single-handled operations like Ctrl+Tab which I commonly used before.
I of course have a proper chair and sturdy under-desk keyboard tray (the 3M AKT100N). To address shoulder issues, I began switching my mouse from my right to left hand years ago, and now switch mouse hands every day. I use a Kensington Expert Mouse trackball, which I find less likely to cause my wrists to become stiff, and I really like the scroll ring. With the 3M keyboard tray, I can easily switch the mouse tray from one side to the other.
But the main benefit early on came from the Kinesis and massage, and I have thankfully never had a repeat of the acute wrist injury I experienced in 2006. A friend with Liferay told me that the company’s founder bought the Kinesis for all of his employees after the keyboard had saved his own coding career. If you don’t yet have wrist / hand issues but think you might be prone, you should definitely check it out.
I am hopeful that I will eventually be able to eliminate the forearm tension / itching, as well. I exercise 5 minutes with the Flextend glove on an almost-daily basis, and am thereby able to extend the length of time between massage visits.
Yours for perpetual coding,