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Relaxation and Health 1996 / Health 1997 / Desk Exercises / Back to Free Stuff


Posted by Pat Lundquist on July 01, 1997 at 21:28:35:

I'm considering buying a new keyboard and would appreciate any comments from those who have purchased some of the "ergonomic" ones. Do any of you use the Kinesis? Microsoft Natural? Others? I'm sure my arms will thank you!

Posted by Judy Hinickle on July 03, 1997 at 00:32:26:

One of my employees loves the Floating Arms Keyboard. She was having trouble with her wrists and has none now. It took about 2 weeks before she felt fully adjusted, but since then is extremely comfortable all day long.

Posted by Carol Reese on July 02, 1997 at 06:48:43:

My first computer experience was with a Dell at my hospital in Texas where I worked for 8 years. That keyboard had a fantastic touch--even better than the identical one my boss had! When I moved and then finally had a chance to do some work at home, the keyboard on our old computer drove me batty. So we shopped and shopped for one with a lighter touch. Ended up with an Alps. At any rate, when we bought this fancy new computer last fall (and it is already out of date!), we got a Dell and I tried 2 of their keyboards. Got one I like. I, however, still use a standard keyboard. Have never had carpal tunnel trouble though I occasionally get tennis elbow if I type a lot and general aching in hands and wrists which is more arthritic. I guess pounding on manual typewriters years ago helped me. Have always held my hands in correct position. What you have to do here is check a bunch out and try the ones that seem best to you and go for what works for you. As someone said, keyboards of all types have gotten to be pretty reasonably priced, so it is not a major consideration. Besides, having a back-up in the house/office is not a bad idea.

Posted by Rebecca Ryan on July 02, 1997 at 01:39:52:

I have been using the Microsoft keyboard for two years and just bought a PC Concepts. I much prefer the PC Concepts after only two days on it, if that helps. Regular keyboards may contribute to carpal tunnel, and the p rice of keyboards has come down to where everyone considering the new ergonomics should be able to try one. I will never go back to the old style. The PC Concepts seems to have a much lighter touch requirement than the Microsoft keyboard, also. I trans cribe so much that I have had to change keyboards yearly (maybe that's why I'm still able to transcribe). Don't ever hesitate to get a new one - it's your body you are protecting.

Posted by Maria Stahl on July 02, 1997 at 00:34:36:

Mine's a FlexPro. It folds down like a normal keyboard so that it doesn't drive my husband crazy, or it splits in the middle and can be cranked up so that the middle is high and each half is slanted. I have very wide shoulders and when I just drop my hand s naturally in my lap, they're in the same position they are when I'm using this keyboard.

One problem is it is very fragile. I think I'm on keyboard #5 in about three years. They're very susceptible to getting bashed with a book or the phone handset or a child or something. The key caps go flying off and never snap back on securely. I found a good sale on them and bought a couple of spares which I am now hoarding. They started very expensive, about $400, but these last couple I bought were only $30 each.

Posted by Stacy Abraham on July 02, 1997 at 08:30:49:

Like Maria, I also have a FlexPro (split raised and angled keyboard). I've only been using it about a month, but I really like it (other than adjusting to the 6 being on the right side). It keeps my hands in a very natural position and is comfortable to use.

I tried my husband's MS Natural keyboard and couldn't use it; I found the hand range required was too much to be comfortable for me (example: the distance needed to stretch my pinky to reach the backspace key), and the key action was a little t oo soft for my taste (I prefer a "clickier" action).

If budget permitted, I'd love to get the Floating Arms keyboard; I think that would be sheer heaven! :)

If you can possibly try out a keyboard before purchasing it, I would recommend doing that, an d see what the vendor's return policy is. Sometimes there's no way to know if it's comfortable for you to use until you give it a good trial run.

Posted by Carol Reese on July 02, 1997 at 13:21:46:

I had forgotten about that one feature of the MS keyboard. I tried it in a store and it was very uncomfortable for me. The keys on one side (I think the right) are further apart than on the other side and my hands are small so I had trouble reaching wit h my pinky on that side. Return was even uncomfortable for me.

Posted by Kathy on July 02, 1997 at 00:08:39:

After a stint with carpal tunnel symptoms, I requested that my hospital purchase for me the Microsoft Natural Keyboard. That was three years ago. Although I have worn it out and now need a new one (three years of continuous use wears one out, it seems), I would highly recommend this keyboard. With the keyboard and a few other adjustments to my workstation, I have had no further problems with carpal tunnel symptoms.

Posted by Cherry on July 01, 1997 at 23:25:15:

I love the ergonomic style. Mine is a PC Concepts and I've been using it for about a year. I tried typing on a regular keyboard not long ago, and I felt like my hands were on top of each other. It doesn't take very long to get used to, and it's definte ly worth the trouble. The "6" on this keyboard is on the right side, so that's not a problem.

Give it a try -- I think you'll like it. The PC Concepts keyboard only costs about $40 at CompUSA.

Posted by Karen Boyd on July 01, 1997 at 22:11:05:

A couple of weeks ago, my old faithful keyboard (which had lasted through several computers) finally 'died', and the only one I could find in my area on a Saturday afternoon was the Microsoft Natural. I was skeptical, but it is really less tiring for my wrists and arms, and took only a short while for me to get used to. Still the worst part is the 6 and the B which are now typed with the left index finger. Still occasionally stumble, but that was it. :) Hope this helps in your decision making. I would recommend the ergonomic style.

Foot and Leg Comfort

Posted by Jeannine Bartley on June 18, 1997 at 23:26:54:

Hi! I was wondering if anyone else out there has problems with their ankles/feet/legs swelling while they sit and use the foot pedal all day. If so, I am wondering if there are any special ways to sit, to press the pedal, or chairs to use? I would appreciate any ideas on this. Thanks!

Posted by Mary Morken on June 18, 1997 at 23:39:56:

Yes, in the warm weather, My feet swell too. A doctor once told me that the foot pedal protects us from developing blood clots in the calves. Push that pedal hard and switch feet often. I found a rare transcriber with a thumb bar that fits beneath the space bar and is just as easy to use. Got it from Dicta-Wire but he hadn't seen another one in a long time. The person using it has a very bad varicose vein, so she can keep her legs up. Burt Danet has a chair that enables him to tape the foot pedal to his desk and work supine! I have a hydraulic-lift table so I can stand up and work some of the time.

Posted by Dena on June 20, 1997 at 04:34:30:

I heard of those things YEARS ago when I first got started and thought they were a thing of the past. I'm glad to know they are available...I may try that one of these days.

Posted by Rebecca Ryan on June 19, 1997 at 02:12:16:

The thumb pedals should still be available somewhere; I knew of a lady using them about 25 years ago as she was paraplegic. However, after a period of time, her thumbs started to "wear out," so be careful. Regarding the swelling, it cannot be emphasized enough that it may be time to break and walk, cycle, stair-step, whatever. I used to sit for hours at a time and can no longer do that, nor should any of us do that anymore. Good luck.

Posted by Lora Morken Payne on June 19, 1997 at 09:24:51:

I have a thumb pedal, which is really for the heel of your hand, not your thumb. I do have to shove a book under the ketboard since it was designed for an old typewriter. I can't sit still at the best of times, so between my awful leg and my bouncing around, I love the thumb pedal! I sit all over the place with my legs any old which way and am glad I never even messed with the foot pedal. However, I am new at this and so don't have any long-term side effects to report yet. Good luck!

Posted by Diane Heath, CMT on June 19, 1997 at 11:57:51:

A lot of the problems with swelling of the feet may be because your thighs are pressing down on your chair. I purchased a tilting foot rest at the Relax-the-Back store. You can put the pedal right on the stool. If you have a handyman around, you might as k him to construct a stool for you. It helps your back as well, as it sort of rocks you back in your chair so that your lower back is well supported. I think we all tend to scoot forward in our chairs when we get really intense with our transcription. I h ave a lot of back problems, mostly due to a half dozen pregnancies and an enlarging panniculus. One of my co-workers brought her Health Rider to the office, and it is wonderful for stretching out the back muscles without putting strain on them. I think I' m going to get one for myself. No matter what we do, however, this is a physically stressful profession!

Posted by Diane Heath, CMT on June 20, 1997 at 20:10:34:

Transcribing on a Health Rider would certainly employ more muscles than I have encountered in my years in this profession, but it would indeed be fun to watch. No, it just sits waiting in the corner of her office until one of us decides to get our daily 3 0 seconds of exercise. (We are a health-conscious office, you see!)

Posted by Rebecca Ryan on June 20, 1997 at 23:34:55:

Now, remember those old treadle sewing machines in the museums! Should we bring the concept back in generator form for our transcribers/C-phones/VDIs, etc.? Actually, from a health and an ecological standpoint...

Posted by Jeannine Bartley on June 22, 1997 at 09:32:20:

Thanks to everyone for their input. I have been trying the gravity-thing where I use gravity to help me push down on the pedal and more muscles to take my foot up, and that seems to have helped a lot. Thanks again!

Posted by Mary Morken on June 23, 1997:

Bruce Stockwell of BVP Computers can custom make hand pedals out of foot pedals for tape or digital transcribers. His phone number is 413, 634-2187. He also has a web site at

Wrist Protection

Posted by Rose on June 12, 1997 at 19:56:55:

I'm doing wrist curls, I'm taking potassium, extra B-complex and B-6 and, while my speed is increasing, my wrists are really sore. Any other home remedies or solutions to share? Or, do I just need to wait and let my remedies catch up to my speedier hands?

Posted by Mary Morken on June 12, 1997 at 19:59:22:

I used elastic wrist braces for a couple weeks when I had a problem. Take Advil and go to bed. :)

Posted by Patricia Caliguire on June 12, 1997 at 21:35:05:

Sounds like you're doing some good things there--how much weight are you using for your wrist curls? An 8 to 10 lb. dumbbell works well.

Also, things improved for me when I took Peggy LaChance's suggestion and got Cortez Peters' book "Championship Keyboarding, Skillbuilding and Applications" and began doing the exercises there to increase finger strength. Also, using the "scratch" position of the hands that he recommends is a wrist reliever. Try one of those hand grip ball-like thin gs to squeeze to increase forearm and wrist strength. THAT has helped me more than anything else. One last thing is an ergonomic keyboard, elevated at the front so that your hands/wrists can be perfectly straight.

Posted by Carol Reese on June 13, 1997 at 06:44:26:

You may need to take an anti-inflammatory (such as ibuprofen as Mary suggested) for a couple of weeks and also maybe REST the wrists for a few days, possibly just over a weekend. I'v been doing this a long time and have never had much wrist trouble. Som etimes get "tennis elbow" and it usually takes a few days of anti-inflammatory to stop it. The idea is to get the inflammation and swelling to go away cause once it starts it sort of feeds on itself.

Posted by Judy Hinickle on June 16, 1997 at 01:37:55:

Someone in our office found Floating Keyboad Arms from Workplace Design completely relieved her wrist problems. It took a few weeks for her to adjust, but loves it. Sorry I don't have the phone number handy, but they do have a web site, I think it might be or org

Posted by Rebecca Ryan on June 16, 1997 at 23:09:08:

In 1992, I discovered that certain types of fat (mostly animal fat) aggravated my wrists and hands so badly that I was putting them in actual icewater as nothing else would relieve the pain. Stay with a 20-30 g fat diet, as we all should, avoiding animal fat entirely, and see if things do not improve. My sister-in-law has also found that this helps; she is a legal secretary. Also, see if NOT doing wrist curls and just working Nautilus or any kind of equipment for upper arms and shoulders does more good . These caused a 20% improvement in my production and improved alertness. The wrist curls can aggravate the problems, I heard somewhere long ago.

Posted by Betty Young on June 17, 1997 at 22:51:55:

I find that massage therapy for upper back, shoulders and arms really helps, especially if you can have it done on a regular basis. Keeping the shoulders back as much as possible while typing (and while doing anything else) keeps the pressure off of nerv es in the thoracic inlet. Also, soaking my elbows, forearms and hands in warm water with apple cider vinegar helps to draw out any toxins/impurities in the muscles. In fact, I even sometimes put apple cider vinegar in my bath water and just soak, soak, soak. May be psychological, but I think it works well. I have a lot of problems with my arms/wrists/hands and also have fibromyalgia. Shark cartilage (from health food store, etc) also helps some.

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