T Nation

Weight Training and CTS

Has anyone found any information about if weight training in general or specific such as forearm exercises can help prevent or ruduce the chances of getting carpal tunnel sydrome? Also how many of you T-Mag readers work in the IT industry?

CTS is caused by repetitive movement…I have found my wrists ache a lot now after 8 hour of programming. Look at how you hold your hands while you type, then do exercises incorporating a different range of motion.(My Dr’s advice.) I ahve been doing ‘forearm curls’ with low weights - with my arms flat and on their sides. I also try to stretch my wrists whenever I get up to take a break. My mother had CTS surgery a year ago and it was horribly painful and has never returned to 100%…many times the corrective surgery fixes the CTS but causes other nerve damage. Be careful to avoid it!

i have cts. Try to stretch your hands back as many times a day as possible. Stay away from dumbell curls. Vioxx works well to alleviate pain.

Hi ems. There have been a couple of studies done by NIOSH that show a trend of poor outcomes from these kinds of exercises for people who already have CTS/RSI. If you already have problems like this, don’t do them. I’m an ergonomics consultant who does a bunch of clinical/lab work, and this kind of work-hardening therapy can be damaging even to people who don’t have acute symptoms.

If you are trying to avoid problems at the computer, the most important things to do are maintain correct alignment of the wrist, keep an erect seated posture, take plenty of breaks and drink lots of water, not fluids but plain ol’ water. Alignment of the wrist means no ulnar deviation and no hyperextension/dorsiflexion of the wrist. If you are having prioblems with the mouse or other pointing device, avoid grabbing it with you thumb and pinkie. You might also try to support the butt of the palm of your hand (not the soft part of the wrist past the crease) on a paperback book or a gel-filled pad placed directly behind the mouse.

I’ve worked in IT for the last 9 years. Never had CTS. I do a fare bit of forearm work a couple of times a week (hammers, rev bi curls, bench wrist curls and hanging wrist curls)

So, does that mean I could be CAUSING myself problems instead of protecting myself? My Dr told me to do the ‘curls’ for stretching, I added the weight because I figured I might as well build my forearms while I’m at it…

I don’t have CTS but I would like to make sure I don’t get it. The thing is that my left wrist is doing a cracking sound (more than usual). This cracking sound occurs more often than on my right wrist which also does it. I don’t think this is CTS but still wanted to find out about preventing it.

Just a bit of info for all of you with CTS or afraid of getting it - find an ART practitioner ASAP! The Doc I work with has healed many cases of CTS simply by releasing adhesions in the forearm! ART sessions can can also be benefical in reducing adhesions before they cause pain! Note that the sessions themselves may cause some acute pain and soreness, but the benefits far outway this minor discomfort.
I had severe pain in my wrist due to repetiive stress caused by pipeting samples all day long in the lab. ART took care of the pain when the conventional Docs wanted to give me cortisone injections or surgery! Just my $0.02 - Matt

Michelle, if you are already having actue symptoms, I would defintely lay off the weight training. I’ve seen lots of typists, mostly legal, the ones who go over 100 WPM for hours at a time, get problems not from typing but from doing wrist curls with a soup can, or some other ill considered exercise that was recommended by a doc or PT. Matt is right, run to find an ART practitioner if you are having problems. ART is the medical intervention par excellence for RSIs of the upper extremity. Traditional methods cannot help the condition at all by comparison, and several important clinical studies bear this out.

ems, as far as preventing CTS, the most important thing to do is watch your technique. The cause of RSIs at the computer boil down to poor technique first and environmental conditions a distant second. Have an HR specialist with an ergo certification check your workstation to make sure you've adjusted your chair, monitor and keyboard correctly. Always sit with an erect posture -- don't slouch. Change your posture every 30 minutes or so. Beyond that, the single most important thing you can do is not to misuse your wrist rest. DON'T rest your wrists on it while you type. This causes excessive dorsiflexion/ulnar deviation of the wrists and abduction of the fingers, all of which will cause problems over time. Unfortunately, there isn't a good book in print that adequately describes what a good typing technique is. I am finishing up a book on the ergonomics of typing technique right now, but it won't be out for a year.