During my tenure working at Delta Airlines call center as a reservation agent in Tampa, Florida, from 1998 to 1999, I started developing occasional numbness in my lower right arm. This all began in the spring of 1999. At first I thought this numbness was merely a temporary pain due to working with a computer mouse. This was a new phenomenon for me at the time in the workplace. My wrist was always bent down resting on a plain mouse pad, while my hand was constantly upward in motion with repetitive point and click motions switching screens and looking up information for the caller.
One fine day I took a day trip to Atlanta to check out the sights, since that is the headquarters for Delta. During a tour of the CNN studios, up in the skybox where we could see the people working in the newsroom, is when I started developing a sharp pain in my lower right arm around the wrist. There were times it was so bad I almost left the tour group. However, I noticed when I massaged the afflicted area I got some relief. Thankfully I was able to stay in Atlanta until the evening when it was time to go back to Tampa.
The following day I was able to make an appointment to see a doctor. I had a feeling it may be carpal tunnel syndrome, but I wasn’t completely sure. I still had the off and on numbing spells with bouts of pain. When I saw the doctor I informed them of the shooting pain I experienced while in Atlanta. After a series of health questions and an examination, it was determined I did in fact have carpal tunnel syndrome.
She gave me some medication, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and strongly suggested I purchase a wrist splint at any drugstore to wear for a couple of weeks, even while sleeping. I followed her instructions and the numbness and pain went away. While at work I found a way to have my wrist rest on something while moving the computer mouse on the pad.
Shortly after leaving Delta in the latter part of 1999, due to my father’s illness, I got my own personal computer. I made sure to have a gel wrist rest pad for the keyboard and one for the mouse pad. I still have these valuable ergonomic tools at my own workstation. After all these years I have not had any problems with carpal tunnel syndrome.
My advice for anyone who may have this ailment is of course making an appointment to see a doctor first and foremost. In the meantime, you can do some in-home remedies like ice the inflicted wrist for 10-15 minutes for 1 or 2 hours. Sleep with a wrist splint at night which helps take off some pressure. Stop whatever activity that is causing the numbness and pain, if possible. Finally, take ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, or Nuprin) to help relieve pain and swelling.