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Ask HN: Dealing with ganglions/RSI
4 points by kfullert 1987 days ago | hide | past | web | 4 comments | favorite
Just been to to doctors after noticing small cysts on my left middle finger - diagnosis is ganglions[1] caused by RSI (the constant nature of typing has worn out the protective membrane in places around joints in my finger, allowing fluid to leak out and cause cysts)

It's not causing me any pain currently, though I have noticed slightly decreased mobility in the finger they're on.

Doctors advice was mainly to invest in speech recognition software (I work as a support analyst/developer during the day and am bootstrapping an idea in the off-time) so I wondered if anyone else on HN suffered similar, and had any suggestions for things that might help (I mentioned it in #startups and was told that change of posture and exercises would possibly help, something my doctor didn't mention)

I already take regular breaks from the keyboard (usuaully 5mins or so out of every 60 I step away completely during the work day)

Oh, and here's what mine look like for reference

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/730422/Photo%2010-05-2012%2011%2012%2051.jpg

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/730422/Photo%2010-05-2012%2011%2013%2010.jpg

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganglion_cyst




I inherited a predisposition to RSI and was headed for surgical intervention when I made a few minor life changes that cleared it up completely over the course of a few months.

1. I started taking huge doses of vitamin B6.

2. I moved my work space around a bit to allow for better typing and writing posture.

3. I switched to a good buckling-spring (mechanical) keyboard, like the IBM Model M or one of its successors from Unicomp[1].

4. I switched to the dvorak keyboard layout, which reduces the awkward twists/bends that qwerty forces on us.

5. I stopped writing with ballpoints, rollerballs, or any type of pen other than a fountain pen.

6. I purchased the book Write Now by Barbara Getty and Inga Dubay and learned their italic and cursive italic handwriting, which is much better for the hands than how most of us were taught to write in school.

7. I keep mousing (esp. use of "eraser mouse" or touchpad pointing devices on my laptop) to an absolute minimum.

...and that's it. I've been RSI-free for about a decade. The only caveat I have is that my RSI was in my wrists and the backs of my hands/third knuckles. It was not in my fingers at the second knuckle as your pictures show. I'm not sure that this makes a difference, but I'm not sure that it doesn't, either.

I still spend most of my typical day typing, and a lot of time writing longhand. I don't take any scheduled breaks from either (just the usual pause-to-think/snack/etc) or do exercises for it -- I tried both of those things and they did nothing for me.

Good luck, and feel free to contact me if you have any questions. RSI is not fun.

--Susan

[1]: http://pckeyboards.stores.yahoo.net/keyboards.html


Thanks, I've spoken to my boss about it (WFH today) and we're going to discuss when I'm next in the office, but I think a laptop stand/proper keyboard are things I'll be getting (I do all my work on a laptop, on a desk, using the laptop keyboard) plus I've got 4 days holiday starting tonight in which time I'm going to limit my keyboard usage severely and hopefully this will let them die down, and then start with the new ergonomics etc. next week and gauge what effect that has on them.

Good shout on the B6, I'll have to try that too!


Using a laptop is what started my RSI off in the first place. I would suggest at least plugging a proper ego keyboard in to it.


I had RSI to the point I could not longer work, happily I am now pretty much back to full health. What really helped for me was:

Take a week off, no computing (actually I had no choice) Physiotherapy for a month (once per week) 3M ergonomic mouse (it looks like a joystick) Being conscious of my body position, when working its easy to get in to a tense position to ease the pain. Stretching, having break to walk about Exercise Not using Apple keyboard or mouse, the Microsoft Ergo split keyboard is great, if only they did a small form version. Switching to Vim text editor (no mouse). Setting my Mac clock to speak the time every hour (so I know when to take a rest). The book, "Its not carpal tunnel syndrome", it talks about identifying the root causes not just addressing the symptoms. A herman miller chain, pretty expensive. Work less, 9-5, no evening or weekend work.

- Kris (teamcoding.com)




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