Physical problems--too much computer time
Thread poster: Sonya Gerisch

Sonya Gerisch  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:59
Member (2004)
German to English
Jul 20, 2004

Hello all,
I also am not sure if this is the correct forum to post at, so please let me know if I need to post somewhere else. Having marketed myself steadily for several years, I am now reaping the benefits. I have steady work, regularly turn down work, and am making a good living. Now along the lines of too-much-of-a-good-thing, I have been having intermittent tendonitis problems in my hands and arms. I had a short bout with it last year that I was able to get under control in a few weeks. Now I am having problems with the nerves underneath the arms in addition to the tendon on top. I am seeing an occupational therapist and I have also done the following: start using ergonomic mouse and keyboard, installed software on my computer that prompts regular stretching (great thing BTW, please contact me if you want more info), apply heat/cold depending on the acuteness, take regular breaks.
Does anyone have similar experience with or any suggestions for me? Please feel free to contact me directly as well. It seems a shame to give up on a career that I love and at which I worked so hard to be successful at this point. Thanks in advance,
Sonya


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xxxSaifa
Local time: 14:59
German to French
+ ...
Ergonomic furniture and sport Jul 21, 2004

Hi Sonya,

I know the problems you are describing here. I cannot say they have totally disappeared, but I have them under control.

Making breaks is certainly very important. But what about your chair and your desk, are there ergonomic too? It bought a (quite cheap) desk at Ikea which is adjustable for height (as I am a small person, the average high is too high so that I automatically do not sit properly). I bought a (quite expensive) chair without backrest which is called Swopper (you can have a look at www.swopper.de to see what I am talking about). I could try it 2-3 weeks before buying it. My husband does not like it, but for me, it is ideal: I feel like jogging while sitting.

But the most important thing was for me to do sport. I begun with taekwon-do 8 years ago (before, I was not doing any sport at all. Just swimming a bit in the summer, but in the winter: nothing: too cold, too far. I had always an excuse). It changed my life. Like other martial arts, if you are convinced, it is more than just a sport, it is a philosophy.
You get an iron will and strengthen your muscles (well, before, I had no muscles). Since then, the problem of tendonitis has almost disappeared.

If taekwon-do seems too hard tou you, just try tai-chi or anything else, but do it regularly (I use to go 3 times a week). If you think you have no time, take the time, at least 2 times a week (for ex. instead of watching tv).

If you need more informations about taekwon-do, just contact me privately.

Good luck!


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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:59
Member (2004)
German to English
Weight gain Jul 21, 2004

I can't talk about tendonitis - but I can definitely talk about gaining weight. Solution?? Eat better and exercise. The hardest things was starting but now I'm on a roll - 40 mins to 60 mins 5ish days a week.
We have to balance the disadvantages of freelancing from home - lack of exercise and isolation - by actively doing the opposite. It's the only way to go.


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Sonya Gerisch  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:59
Member (2004)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the info Jul 21, 2004

Thank you both for your replies. I have looked at ergonomic furniture and I do have an extension on my desk to support my right arm (mouse arm). I actually had "mouse" tendonitis last year, but this problem involves the nerves underneath the arms, mostly on the left side.

You are both definitely right about keeping fit and that may be related. I was fairly active doing aerobics 3x week and walking on other days, but I injured my back in Germany last January and it was a very long recovery with limited exercise (of course I kept eating the same amount even though I was exercising less, so that resulted in some weight gain). Then as I was getting better I had a bad horsebackriding accident with injuries to both hands, my right hip, and a bad concussion that set me back another two months.

I have been doing Tai Chi in the water and walking on other days, but I probably need to be doing more. I am already doing exercises specific for the hands and arms, but we really can't neglect the rest of the body.

Thanks again for your replies.
Sonya


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Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:59
German to Spanish
Sofware against tendonitis Jul 21, 2004

I use Dragon Naturally Speaking, it really works!
I work 1-2 hours with the Keyboard and 1-2 hours with Dragon. And to speak into the micro is a good way to "recreate" your sentences and meanwhile you can move!

Regards

Toledo
_____________________________________
...The only problem is that I use Trados and SDLX. I don't think you can interface with those.
_____________________________________

Yes It works with Trados too!

If a Keyboard can be used, than Dragon too.
And both simultaneously.


[Edited at 2004-07-21 12:44]

[Edited at 2004-07-21 12:47]

[Edited at 2004-07-21 14:18]


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Sonya Gerisch  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:59
Member (2004)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
More about Dragon Jul 21, 2004

Toledo wrote:

I use Dragon Naturally Speaking, it really works!
I work 1-2 hours with the Keyboard and 1-2 hours with Dragon. And to speak into the micro is a good way to "recreate" your sentences and meanwhile you can move!

Regards

Toledo


Thanks Toledo. I thought about that myself. The only problem is that I use Trados and SDLX. I don't think you can interface with those. Do you have any experience with this?
Sonya


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Sonya Gerisch  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:59
Member (2004)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
The stretch software Jul 21, 2004

Hello everyone,
Thanks for all your replies on and off the forum--especially for the speech recognition suggestion. I am already checking into that. If it can be used with Trados and SDLX, then my situation might be partially resolved.
I thought I would post the link for the stretching software here in the forum so everyone can take a look if they want to.
www.stretchware.com
You can configure the settings according to the type of work you do and according to the type of problem you are having. It has really helped me a lot.
Sonya


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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:59
English to Spanish
+ ...
links Jul 21, 2004

Here are some links on ergonomics I have been bookmarking over the past months. If you do a search for "ergonomic", you should find other threads dealing with this topic in several Proz forums...I know I once started one, will try to find it

http://www.3m.com/ergonomics
http://ergo.human.cornell.edu/ergoguide.html
http://www.kinesis-ergo.com
http://relaxtheback.com
http://www.zwanenberg-translations.com/takecare.html
http://www.computerfit.com
http://www.magnitude.com/main/about.html


Take great care, everyone!

Cheers,

Susana Galilea
Accredited Translator EUTI
sgalilea@ispwest.com
www.accentonspanish.com


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Marcus Malabad  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:59
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
carpal tunnel exercises Jul 22, 2004

Sonya,

I too suffer occasionally from carpal tunnel. Here are some exercised that I do to release tension at the beginning of each work day and after each break:

1) Extend and stretch both wrists and fingers acutely as if they are in a hand-stand position. Hold for a count of 5.

2) Straighten both wrists and relax fingers. Make a tight fist with both hands. Then bend both wrists down while keeping the fist. Hold for a count of 5.

3) Straighten both wrists and relax fingers, for a count of 5.

Repeat exercise 10 times, then hang arms loosely at side and shake them for a couple of seconds. Total exercise time: 5-10

HTH
Marcus


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:59
German to English
+ ...
Me too! :-( Jul 22, 2004

Hi Sonya!

I had these problems as well. Going to physical therapy took care of it - I found out that the problem was not actually in my arms or hands, but weak shoulder and back muscles. Sometimes people automatically assume carpal tunnel, but it seems RSIs are very complicated, as there could be tendons, muscles, nerves, etc. involved.

I also switched from a mouse to a trackball. After trying out various keyboards, including the Microsoft ergonomic one, I bought a Kinesis Ergo Contoured keyboard
http://www.kinesis-ergo.com/
It's expensive and took about two weeks or so to get used to, but it has helped immensely. One difference is that it relocates the Ctrl and Alt keys to where your (strong) thumbs are instead of where your (weak) pinkie fingers are - that makes it much more comfortable to use keyboard shortcuts, which was one factor in my hand problems, i.e. stretching my fingers at weird angles to do the shortcuts all the time.

Here are also some books that might be helpful:
Repetitive Strain Injury: A Computer User's Guide by Pascarelli and Quilter
It's Not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome! by Damany and Bellis
Conquering Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Other Repetitive Strain Injuries by Sharon Butler

Hope you get better soon!
Daina


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Sonya Gerisch  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:59
Member (2004)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone Jul 22, 2004

Daina Jauntirans wrote:


I also switched from a mouse to a trackball. After trying out various keyboards, including the Microsoft ergonomic one, I bought a Kinesis Ergo Contoured keyboard
http://www.kinesis-ergo.com/


Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I am looking into all of them, including this contoured keyboard. I am currently using the Microsoft ergonomic keyboard as you were previously, but this Kinesis keyboard might be another piece in solving this puzzle. I just talked to them and I might get that contoured keyboard.
Sonya


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Stefanie Sendelbach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:59
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
A few links Jul 23, 2004

Dear Sonya,

I know what you are talking about and I also find it very sad that our otherwise so wonderful profession hurts our bodies and makes us feel pain.

I guess as someone who works with computers most of the time, we simply have to bring up some self-discipline and take breaks, do sports, plan our nutrition and even make sure we meet with friends once in a while just to get away from the screen, keyboard and mouse...

Here is another forum link related to this topic: http://www.proz.com/post/127278

This one is about slowing down. It does not really fit this topic here but is still worth reading: http://www.proz.com/post/36655

And another one on breathing exercises: http://www.proz.com/post/85111

Good luck,
Stefanie


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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:59
English to Spanish
+ ...
one more link Jul 23, 2004

Here is the thread I mentioned above: http://www.proz.com/post/62256

Cheers,

S.G.


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:59
German to English
+ ...
Number pad - forgot to mention this Jul 24, 2004

I forgot to mention that the only thing I don't like about the Kinesis keyboard is that it has no separate number pad, just the number keys above the alphabet keys. I am thinking about getting a separate number pad, but I'm so happy with the keyboard that I wouldn't think of giving it up for that reason.

For some reason, the regular shortcuts for German characters in Word did not work, but the function keys are programmable, so I programmed them with the accented German characters. If you do German regularly for entire jobs, though, you might want to switch to a German keyboard for that. The function keys are OK for me, because I only write e-mails in German.


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Sonya Gerisch  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:59
Member (2004)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Follow-up on repetitive injury info Aug 3, 2004

Hello everyone.
I just wanted to say thank you to you all who provided me with such great suggestions. I am so busy that I don't have time to read the Proz forums very often. However, it is nice to know it is there if I need it.
I have taken you up on some of the suggestions including getting voice recognition software. Thanks to your suggestions and the occupational therapist--and some much needed reduction in work load--my problems are under control at the moment.
Thanks again,
Sonya


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