[Air-L] have I discovered a new disease?

Jerom Janssen jfjanssen at gmail.com
Sun Jan 20 03:31:58 PST 2008


I think your Thinkpad is not in any way to blame; its the fact that your
hands haven't had enough rest (resting on something, yes, but actual rest,
no) while typing up your papers. When I was working on my Master's thesis, I
had a lot of data entry to do, and I thought that the quickest way to do
this was to just get it over with was to go at it for hours at the time.

When I developed some initial signs of irritation (the right part of my hand
was tingling a bit) I started using a wonderful program called Workrave (
http://www.workrave.org/) This program (or others like it) will help in two
ways. The first is that it will tell you at regular intervals when you
should take a break (of either a few minutes, or a longer break if it is
due) and secondly it will show you (graphically) some exercises you can do
to take care of your hands/arms to avoid long term damage.

Its this long term damage that I think everybody should be worried about.
I've come close, but I've escaped and everything is fine again (thanks to
"workrave", I think). Do an Internet search and read some of the unpleasant
stories you can find on Repetitive Strain Injury & Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
One of the interesting things I've read is that it takes about as long to
get rid of symptoms like constant pain (or pain just at night when your body
finally relaxes) than it takes to develop these symptoms. So if your
symptoms developed out typing habits that you've had for years, you could be
stuck with it for a long time to come.

Take your body and its signals seriously, search the internet to learn about
this kind of overstressing your body and act on what you learn. For you,
that might well be to install Workrave or other software. There is more
software out there, but I found Workrave to be good and free.

Hopefully, I'll get to type up my PhD thesis within 1.5 years. I know that I
won't be doing that without running Workrave.

So again, take your body and its signals seriously; you'll have to use it
for the rest of your life. And if you do decide to use a program to change
your habits but your irritations don't subside, consult a physician!


On Jan 20, 2008 1:00 AM, nsenga at mediom.qc.ca <nsenga at mediom.qc.ca> wrote:

> ""
> Recently I have noticed that both heels of my outer palms have become
> uncomfortably irritated -- the result I am sure of having them on the
> keyboard's palm rests for 10 hours at a time.
> The solution: I am trying to lift my wrists up so that only my fingers
> touch the keyboard. And I will be taking a break at the Social Network
> conference, this Tuesday thru Sunday.
> But I am wondering if this is a new phenomenon, or others on this list
> have experienced it. I do like Thinkpads for reliability and keyboard
> feel, but I notice that their palm rests are a bit rough.
>  Barry Wellman
> ""
> This precisely is the sense of my query a while ago, whether some of you
> on the list may also be investigating the encounter of (internet) hardware
> with users.
> Is there any research work currently being undertaken on this topic?
> Francois
> Montreal
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