Sunday, December 9, 2012

Senior Health, Part Six

My wrists hurt and fingers can tingle and are worse with bending. Think of all the times you bend your wrists! My wrist braces help me not bend my wrists. I have carpal tunnel syndrome for the second time in my life.

The first time I got it was in the 1990s. I had the wrong angle on the computer and would type on the computer many evenings. I was a widow then and this is how I would pass my time--on the computer--not organizing clutter! My old Apple computer was up high on an old oak desk--wrong angle. At that time I researched alternatives and used MSM from a health food store to help with the carpal tunnel. I wore braces all the time for about a year. I declined the surgery which I heard was not always effective. I am taking MSM again and it has a lot of other benefits maybe even for Alzheimer's, but I do not know about research on MSM. See here. There are a lot of sites about this syndrome that you can Google. I got the graphic on this post here.

When my carpal tunnel returned last summer, I was taking class notes on my notebook computer in a seminary counseling class. My wrists were too high up. Very suddenly, as in the 1990s when I got this condition for the first time, my wrists hurt--both of them. The right one is worst and I jokingly say that getting into Pinterest did it.

What is the correct placement of the wrists when you are on the computer so you don't get carpal tunnel syndrome? 45 degrees. I also have a pad for the wrist by the mouse on my home computer and now place my notebook computer more carefully when I take notes on it. My home keyboard is slightly slanted, but one can get ergonomically correct keyboards that are slanted more. 

I resisted getting a smart phone, until I crashed my five year old cell phone and was due for an upgrade with Sprint. An iPhone or any smart phone helps with the carpal tunnel. With my iPhone I can use the speaker phone and not have to hold the cell up to my ears, stressing my wrists. I can use a stylus with my left hand to delete e-mail on the iPhone. I can easily play Words With Friends on the iPhone with a stylus rather than on the computer. I probably can blog on that iPhone, but haven't tried yet.

One difference with this round of carpal tunnel is that I went to chiropractors.  They are great and I pay for the visits as my health insurance doesn't cover that office because it is so worth it--much less pain than when I had carpal years ago and the wrists are getting better faster. I mainly wear my braces when I sleep now.  (This chiropractic office also restored my hands and back after the crash we had two years ago that I wrote about on this blog.)

I have lost weight this year through Weight Watchers--very slowly--tremendous health benefits come with this exellent program. But my wrists and my hearing are now my Achilles' Heel, healthwise, so to speak. Both situations do hurt my caregiving and working part-time outside the home and in the home. Both handicaps may qualify me for Vocational Rehabilitation help from our goverment in getting expensive hearing aids--an application has been submitted last week and it may take several months to find out. Often I cannot hear students when I teach part-time or hear what my husband is saying at the house. Organizing, de-cluttering and having to do everything around the house mean stress on my wrists. I cannot lift heavy items any more. Working out with weights is also out of the picture. Brisk walking is my best exercise and I enjoy working that in with our wonderful Florida weather.

Nonetheless I do thank the LORD for the health I do have at this point and for all the help I do receive from others. For example, our friend Jake on Friday did a tremendous job of weeding our yard while Sally and I substituted in public schools.

There are five bags of clippings now! I spent three hours putting the clippings in a bag in a tash can on Saturday with my wrist brakes on (great exercise) and then wheeled that trash can to the curb and dumped out each bag. I do not understand why those five bags are still out at the curb now after Saturday's trash and garbage pick up, but that is another issue. Maybe they have to be hauled to the dumb. Oh my aching wrists! Monday I am calling the trash collectors!

Another thing I have to be thankful for is Sunday mornings. Our church is meeting in the afternoons now, and Sunday is truly a day of rest as it should be. This morning I enjoyed my devotions and my two mile walk listening to hymns. Now I best get off the computer to rest my wrists!


  1. Sounds really painful! I hope it goes away as quickly as it came!

  2. I am so sorry you have to deal with the pain, but congrats on the Weight Watchers success! I had a hard time with the math. At least that's the story I'm stickin' with.

  3. You'll probably think this is very strange (my husband does) but I have carpal tunnel problems only when I eat dairy products. :-)

  4. Living on Less, that is so strange about dairy. I do know that sometimes people get carpal tunnel during pregnancy and then it goes away after the birth.

    Marianne, you are always so funny--I take it you mean the Math with Weight Watchers. You wouldn't be a product of public schools would you!!!