Keyboard Wrist Rests are a Lie

Since December I’ve been working with a physical therapist to help with some shoulder and neck pain that keeps recurring. After many hours of therapy including dry needling we’ve determined there’s nothing wrong with my back or neck and it must be posture-related. I’ve been constantly tweaking my standing desk setup to make sure I’m maintaining decent posture.

Floating Wrists

Part of the research took me into proper keyboard setup. I have a keyboard riser to put it at the proper height when standing at my desk. I discovered that the wrist rest is a complete lie and I was using the keyboard improperly. Resting your wrists while typing can compress the nerves in the wrist leading to carpal tunnel syndrome. Some experts say you can rest your palms instead to keep the angle of your wrists more neutral. I’ve found an even better approach – let your hands float over the keys & rest your hands when you’re not typing.

I place my keyboard at the edge of the riser so that there is no space available to rest my hands. When using the treadmill under the desk I found I was putting way too much weight on the rest to maintain balance. By forcing my hands to float above the keyboard I reduced the fatigue greatly and it made me more mindful of my overall posture.

The Wirecutter had a great article in March about ergonomic keyboards and typing ergonomics. While they don’t specifically mention the hand floating technique there are a lot of great tips on keyboards.

Detecting Atrial Fibrillation with your Smart Phone

I may have mentioned this before, but I have experienced atrial fibrillation (A-fib) in the past. A-fib is an irregular heart rhythm with rapid and/or irregular heart beating. Summed up its because the electrical system with my heart gets funky once in a while causing a short-circuit on the outside of the heart. The irregular rhythm isn’t the big risk – the risk is blood flow can get disrupted long enough in the heart to form blood clots.

I’ve been lucky that by losing 60lb+ since I was originally diagnosed and keeping a regular cardio health regimen I’ve improved. I was on medication (metoprolol and flecainide) for a couple years but I didn’t like my low heart rate and subsequent dizzy spells. My electrophysiologist and I have stopped the medication for now to see how well I’m doing without it. I needed my own electrocardiogram machine in order to prove the A-fib has stopped. The solution was a neat device made by AliveCor.

The AliveCor device connects with your iPhone or Android device and provides a FDA-cleared single-lead ECG readout. It can automatically detect A-Fib and provides the ability to export your results for your own doctor. You can also pay them for a review of your ECG by a technician within a 30-minute ($5) or 24-hour period ($2). It communicates with your device through its microphone. They claim is uses an ultrasonic sound that your phone has the ability to hear and it requires no pairing.

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I’ve only had the device a couple of days so I’ll report back after a couple months! So far, so good!