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Six simple ways to reduce your wrist pain

Anyone who works with keyboards and mice is a candidate for repetitive stress injuries or carpal tunnel syndrome. Here are six practical, inexpensive techniques to keep your wrist pain in check.
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1 of 7 Photo: GraphicStock

Keep your pain in check

If you program, write or work with keyboards and mice, you're bound to wind up with painful wrists, often associated with repetitive stress injuries or carpal tunnel syndrome.

In this article, I outline six techniques I've used over the years to manage my wrists and keep my pain in check. Remember, though: I'm not a doctor.

If you have wrist pain, it's always a good idea to see your doctor.

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2 of 7 Image: Caleb Ekeroth

Walk away

By far, the single best thing you can do (and this has saved my wrists over the years) is to simply walk away.

As soon as you feel pain, stop using your keyboard and mouse and give your wrists and fingers a rest.

I know you can't always get away with just stopping (although it's probably your best defense) and that's what the rest of this gallery is for.

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3 of 7 Photo: Amazon

Wrist sweatbands for compression

These things are great. They're cheap (less than two bucks on Amazon) and they work. I'm using one now.

They simply apply a little compression to the wrist area, substantially reducing pain.

I have six of them (two at each work area). I keep two at each area because I almost always misplace one on a regular basis or wear it into another room and leave it there.

Vertical mouse
4 of 7 Photo: Anker

Vertical mouse

These things have been around for years. By changing your wrist position, you change the angle of pressure.

The difference now is that instead of being very expensive and wired, you can get a good, workable wireless vertical mouse for under $25.

I keep both this and my main mouse attached to my computer and whenever I start to feel a bit of pain, I simply switch mice.

A couple of our editors use them, and they really help.

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5 of 7 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

Ice packs

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is put it on ice. I have found that when my wrist really starts hurting, stopping and setting my wrist down on an ice pack can work wonders.

There are two medical schools of thought about this: ice and heat. Check with your doctor about which one is recommended for you.

Although almost everything will work (I've used bags of frozen peas on one rush project), I prefer the inexpensive, flexible ice packs like this set from Amazon. They're less than ten bucks.

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6 of 7 David Gewirtz

Work from a different position

After a while, working at my desk starts to get painful, both for my wrist and my back.

I have found that changing position and location helps a lot. My favorite alternate location is the couch, using a side-monitor, my laptop, or the 65" big screen HDTV as a computer screen.

A side benefit (as you can see from this picture) is Pixel is much happier when he can lounge around by my feet while I work.

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7 of 7 David Gewirtz

Rubber band stretches

This technique was taught to me by one of my personal trainers back in the day (and you definitely should run it by your doctor before you try it).

Simply wrap a rubber band around your fingers and stretch your fingers out and back, doing probably 10 to 20 reps. Don't force it.

Surprisingly enough, I've found it to help quite a lot, but only if I do it before my wrist hurts too much. Then, your only real choice is to stop and/or ice it.

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