Monthly Archives: October 2013

Non Surgical Alternative Treatments For Carpal Tunnel

Carpel tunnel syndrome is not fun, and of course for many doctors the “go-to” solution is surgery. I’m a web developer, SEO and copywriter by day; a tennis player- Yogi by night. OK, OK, that’s just a little joke, but I do play tennis two evenings a week and I do practice yoga on three other nights; both of which are a tremendous relief for my stress level, but were not so great for my carpel tunnel situation, given the strain each activity puts on my wrists.

I developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome about 8 years into my freelance career as a copywriter, and
tried to self medicate with over the counter pain relievers. When that didn’t work, I went to see my doctor, who, almost without taking a breath, immediately recommended surgery, as he reached for his appointment book to schedule. Now, I’m not a big “surgery-phoebe”, but I’m still appreciative of the significance of the whole matter, so I decided to go for a second opinion. That doc parroted the first.

When the first signs of carpel tunnel began in the pinky finger of my right hand, then spread to my fourth finger and then the third, I started to think I had something serious I needed to deal with; when pain started to shoot down my arm, I was sure of it. Nevertheless, having always been keen on the natural approach to things, I was eager to find an alternative to hospital or even outpatient time. I wanted to give my healing a gentler path.

Being a writer, and no stranger to research, it was a given that I would hit the search engines for answers. I read (maybe too many) articles online about the subject; some of it, I’m afraid, a bit on the dry side, but I learned quite a lot about my symptoms, my prognosis, and the possible treatment options.

I learned about how the “nerve bundle” becomes more vulnerable to injury once the carpel tunnel plate is removed. That sounded like so many other treatments that end up causing a whole new set of issues once the targeted problem is “fixed”; it didn’t sound good.

I knew there had to be a better answer. There had to be a more natural one that didn’t mean long-term side effects. I discovered that there are a number of “alternative” natural treatments that one can try which include wrist restraints, supports, and supplements such as vitamin B6 that can all go along way toward healing carpel tunnel. I decided to give it a shot; after all, what did I have to lose? Not my “carpel tunnel plate” or the strength of my “nerve bundle”, that’s for sure.

I started taking daily doses of vitamin B6 and I picked some elastic wrist supports that acted as
restraints for my wrists at a drug store. They were elastic sleeves with embedded metal plates that I wore over my wrists to restrict movement and give those muscles a chance to rest. In addition to that, I lowered my desk height by investing in an ergonomic desk and chair, positioned my computer screen optimally, and also got a wrist support for my keyboard and mouse so I wasn’t “resting” my wrists on the edge of the desk.

These remedies were so effective that within six weeks I saw monumental improvement in my symptoms. I decided not to mess with a good thing, and continued to use these remedies and new posture habits to support my healing.

Within two months my carpel tunnel symptoms were completely gone. I was able to stop using the wrist braces during the day while working, but continued to use them at night for another few months, especially for yoga; I did give up tennis during that time as, needless to say, it was a bit of a challenge to play with the restraints. Of course, the changes to my workstation went a long way toward my healing and to this day remain in place, but I am happy to report that my carpel tunnel has seemingly resolved itself, and I am contentedly playing tennis again, wrist-brace free.

It has now been over five years since my successful experiment in surgery-free carpel tunnel treatment and I am happy to say that I have not had any CTS problems since.


Author Byline

Karen Burke is the President and Founder of Kare Products. Karen has over 30 years of expertise creating ergonomic furniture that helps avoid injury and promotes health for all types of discomfort and body sizes.

Taking Initiative – Coaching Workers to Better Performance

Improving employee performance through coaching is becoming the golden standard in the realm of business. Considered an effective business practice, coaching in workplace settings is a process for both the employer and the employee. The goal is to motivate rather than denigrate and inspire employees to set professional goals and develop the skills needed to achieve them. In contrast to more traditional supervisory approaches, the role of the employer or coach is not to direct or to criticize but rather to help employees become more self-aware and inspire them to take responsibility for their own development.

The principles of performance coaching include:

  • Workers respond better to positive reinforcement and support than to critique, punishment, or control
  • A good coach is able to help workers identify goals, obstacles (weaknesses), and solutions as opposed to handing out directives
  • Coaching is a collaborative approach
  • Coaching is an interactive process involving observation and reflection
  • Coaching is a process which occurs over time with the goal of employees acting independently and thoughtfully

How does performance coaching in the workplace settings work? First, coaching takes place
during one-on-one sessions between employers/supervisors and employees. The format can include informal discussions about work progress, goal setting, problem solving, coaching incentives/inspiration, formal performance reviews, and feedback. More specifically, during coaching sessions the coaching relationship is first defined and desired outcomes clarified. Next, in a collaborative process, employers and employees identify strategies for improvement and how progress will be measured. Through self-observation on the part of the worker and first-hand observation on the part of the coach, data is then gathered about employee performance. The next phase involves recognizing strengths and weaknesses through observation and reflection and setting goals for improvement. Finally, performance coaching includes evaluation of progress made, including both developmental and evaluative feedback.

Throughout the entire process, the coach may use techniques such as motivational coaching, Socratic questioning, modeling, guided practice, demonstration, analysis of the coaching relationship, encouragement, positive feedback, comparison of stated goals versus actual results – all with the overall goal of coaching employees to better performance. And through the process, the employer refines their coaching skills as well.

To be an effective coach, it would be helpful for employers to hone this skill set:

  • Balanced
  • Objective
  • Encouraging/Supportive
  • Active Listener
  • Ability to summarize, clarify, and reflect
  • Ability to ask thought-provoking, open-ended, non-threatening questions
  • Ability to help clarify goals and identify actions necessary to achieve these goals
  • Ability to create a feasible and clear plan for change
  • Able to identify strengths and give praise
  • Ability to provide positive, constructive feedback

Whether the goal is to increase productivity and effectiveness, improve business management skills, or enhance people/relationship skills, one thing is for certain: Coaching employees to better performance is a strategy that works, creating a win-win situation for employers, employees, and businesses.

Stuffed bear at work.

Working Hard for Your Money

Author Byline

Karen Burke is the President and Founder of Kare Products. Karen has over 30 years of expertise creating ergonomic furniture that helps avoid injury and promotes health for all types of discomfort and body sizes.