Sometimes we men are a stubborn bunch. Especially when it comes to pain, a lot of us try to brush it off because we’re…well, men. We’re supposed to be strong and not moan about things, right?
When you grow up a bit you realize how stupid such preconceptions are. At a younger age, however, I fully believed in them.
Which almost cost me my well-being if I didn’t have someone to remind me I shouldn’t be the ‘tough guy’ I pretended to be.
Carpal tunnel: a sneaky beast
Before you know it, your wrist starts hurting. You think it’s just temporary and the pain will go away, but the problem worsens.
Carpal tunnel is sneaky. It’s sneaky because a lot of us work on a computer every day and fail to recognize the numerous things we do wrong while doing so.
We hunch a lot, our posture is like something that came out of a grotesque painting. We frequently forget to take breaks from staring at that hypnotic monitor in front of us.
And, especially if our job involves a lot of writing, we bend our wrists quite often when we’re typing.
The thing is, as busy as we are, we also tend to neglect the initial signals our body’s giving us. That’s what happened to me too.
Wake up to the pain
Before I realized it, I’d get frequent numbness and tingling whenever I’d need to use my right hand. I could feel my wrist pulsating even when resting.
You know what pride is?
A major culprit in people doing stupid things.
Of course my pride as a supposedly tough man didn’t allow me to think that something’s wrong. It was just temporary and it would pass, I assumed. I’d tough it out!
So despite getting the infamous pins and needles sensation, I continued with my way of life. Typing on my PC a lot, working out, the usual stuff. More and more pressure on a part of my body that screamed for help.
Until at one point things didn’t start getting serious.
Sobering up real quick
One afternoon, upon coming back from work I suddenly found myself not able to carry my laptop bag. Consider this: your average laptop weighs around 2.5kg.
And I couldn’t properly hold this.
My right arm – and specifically, my wrist, suddenly felt as if it belonged to someone else. It was powerless, a strange guest that wasn’t a part of my otherwise fit body.
The pain shot through my whole organism like a sudden wake up call for me to sober up and finally seek help.
A personal note: always, always go first to a medical professional. We’re so prone to self-diagnose ourselves nowadays that it’s disgusting.
My pride prevented me from seeking help earlier, but at least I know I’m unfamiliar with health matters. That’s why I scheduled an appointment asap without doing Google-Fu and trying to medicate myself.
The doctor was very nice and let me know that I actually suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. Luckily for me, it wasn’t in too much of an advanced stage. It could be fixed with the proper routine.
The number one thing I needed to do is get a wrist brace to wear when typing It would hold my wrist tight so it doesn’t bend when I do my job.
It looks so…basic, yet this is such an amazing invention:
An additional thing he recommended me are simple, yet effective exercises. I had to be careful not to overdo it – he noted many people try to overcompensate for their initial neglicence. Just the right amount of quick, careful exercises to stretch things a bit.
I ended sticking to these 3 very basic, but tremendously helpful exercises for carpal tunnel:
Paired with the wrist brace I have, they have done wonders.
Sure, it took a few weeks for my hand to finally get most of its strength back, and almost 2 months for it to regain its full power. But it did so in the end – and that’s what matters.
And the conclusion is…
I realize beating our pride can be a hard task. We can use it as a defense to cope with our living environment and live up to social expectations. This holds especially true when we’re still young and insecure.
But know where the line lies – the line between pride, and stupidity.
Health-related matters are a priority, no matter if you’d appear ‘weak’ to someone or not. One or two months more, and my negligence would’ve probably cost me a surgery.
It’s exactly this incident that made me realize how immature, how narrow of a view I had for myself. It taught me to tame my pride and stick to it only in situations where it makes sense, where it really helps me be a Man.
I’ve learned to leave it behind in those cases where it only hinders my progress or will actually harm me in some way.
Oh, and you can bet I’m still using my brace whenever I’m punching some words onto the keyboard. Like this post I’m writing right now, actually!