My New Normal – Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Wrist Splint
Having worked from home since March 20th, one could say that this in itself has become the new normal, trapped at my desk for hours on end with only the occasional rumble of the fridge whirring away to keep me company.

But it soon became apparent that I’m not ideally suited to this environment. Very quickly my lower-back told me in no uncertain terms to fuck right off, which is something that took a couple of weeks to completely resolve.

Having moved on from the agony of spending even just five minutes at the desk my back has now returned to its usual self of being completely unnoticeable. And there ends the woes of this crazy scenario I and thousands upon thousands of others find themselves in.

Or so I thought…

On Monday I woke up with a weird tingling sensation in my right middle-three fingertips. I initially presumed I had rolled over in the night and slept on my arm. Thus ensues the usual hilarity of trying to extricate yourself from the bed with an utterly non-functioning arm. A panicked beached shark, I think, is the best analogy.

Anyway, shower/breakfast/work continued until mid-morning when I realised the tingling sensation hadn’t abated.

I already knew what it was, my father suffered it in both his appendages, but Google was fired up for a non-medically qualified confirmation, followed by a video consult this morning with a GP for the medically qualified diagnosis.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is where the tiny opening between wrist and hand becomes inflammed and pressures the median nerve that passes through. Thus causing numbness, tingling, pins-and-needles in fingers and a heavy, achy and weak wrist and forearm.

Apparently it is often caused by repetitive strain, particularly with anything that vibrates – an affliction I presume jackhammer operators experience with frequency. In my case, it was sitting at my desk at an acute angle – something I’ve always done and even mentioned before – and perhaps using a mouse that is too small. The combination resulted in my wrist being flattened too much on the desk with a slightly odd weighting caused by my insistence to not sit squarely on. And when left like this for too long, well, something eventually gave way.

So, as way of warning before we all find ourselves with a variety of health issues resulting from this prolonged period of absence from proper offices, make sure to do all you can to perfect your positioning and posture. Because I have learned the hard way that the correct angle of the wrist is not what I thought it was.

A wrist splint is apparently the best way forward initially, in the hope that it will clear up on its own. Fingers crossed, or not if your fingers are too numb.

Further Reading