Opinion » Cybernaut


Ergo I am



I’ve been in the professional writing game for about eight years now, including a year and a half as a copywriter for a marketing company in Toronto, and recently it’s started to hurt.

Typically I come home from a long day of typing, sometimes thousands of words in a day, plop myself down on the couch and pick up my guitar to unwind for a while.

But lately my fingers, hands and wrists were too sore to play much guitar. They were too sore to even type properly, and I started to notice type-o after type-o in my work – or more than usual let’s say. Somewhere along the line I lost the dexterity to hit the right keys in the right order.

I did a little online research to see what the problem might be and came up with a few possible answers.

The simplest might just be overuse, meaning my wrists and fingers were sore because of a repetitive use. Doing the same motion over and over can result in swelling, soreness, and sometimes even more serious damage.

I could also have a touch of arthritis, which basically means an inflammation and stiffening of the joints. It’s believed that repetitive motion injuries can lead to arthritis over time, but there are a lot of other factors involved, including my obviously inferior family genetics.

The most interesting explanation was carpal tunnel syndrome. Once thought to be a made-up ailment that mentally unbalanced whiners latch on to in order to avoid doing work, doctors now understand that the median nerve bundle connecting your wrists to your hands can sometimes compress in its narrow channel – especially when your wrists are bent in an unnatural position all day while your fingers tap away at a computer keyboard.

What makes me think that I might have a tad CTS is the fact that the pain eases significantly when I hold my wrists straight in relation to my hands while I’m typing.

To fix the problem I recently ordered an ergonomic keyboard, the kind with the built-in hand rest and the split keypad where the keys are angled to allow for straighter arm and wrist position. The keys are also a lot more supple than the ones on the keyboard that came with my iMac – probably the stiffest keyboard I’ve ever used and quite possibly the cause of my injury.

In less than a week using the new keyboard I’ve already noticed a huge difference. It took a while to get used to, and it’s crazy trying to go back to my regular keyboard at home, but my wrists, hands and fingers are not nearly as sore and I’m back to plucking away at my guitar every night.