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"Engineering Principles,
General Health and
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome"

by Dennis Denlinger
Copyright 2008 by Dennis Denlinger
    Skyscrapers, houses, cars, trains, submarines...and the human body...respond to the same principles of gravity, physics and engineering. We'll take an overall look at the development of a new discovery which successfully applied engineering principles to human body problems. As a finale we'll zoom in on pain I had at the base of my thumbs, which doctors call carpal tunnel syndrome, how I did and how you could use this new knowledge.

    Decades ago I developed an ingrown toenail caused by pointy shoes which pressed against the side of my big toe. To reduce the pressure on the big toe I got a pair of the then popular Earth Shoes, which were very wide in the toe. It helped the ingrown toenail, but it didn't help my flat feet. Those Earth Shoes had a little bump on the sole just in front of the heel forcing a good arch. I had read in several magazine articles that many people loved those Earth Shoes, but some hated them. I was one who hated them. But, I reasoned, if many loved them and I hated them, I was doing something wrong. It took me three months of limping in those Earth Shoes to spot whet I was doing wrong, more months to get the muscles working right to get rid of the pain and a couple years to get the muscles trained to operate that way all the time. Now I have beautiful arches and no more flat foot pain.

    Then my headaches became so terrible I couldn't hold down a job. A chiropractor adjusted the top vertebra in my neck and ten minutes later, as I was driving away from his office, I could feel that top vertebra twist out of place - again and again. One day the doctor showed me a drawing of the neck's muscles and bones. Immediately I spotted what I call the Neck Spring Muscle and recognized that mine was not working. Within several weeks I got it to working correctly and the headaches felt a bit better. Next I got a copy of the Doctor's Bible, "Gray's Anatomy" and looked at the pictures of the muscles connected to the top vertebra. I found one which would pull that bone into place, tried it and found it would work. Two minutes later that muscle became exhausted and stopped working. Within three months I had it working ten hours a day. That handled half the headaches. Then I found fifteen other muscles or groups of muscles in my neck which weren't working when they should, were working when they shouldn't or were paralyzed. I got them working somewhat correctly and the headaches totally disappeared. I also researched the back, shoulders and other parts, making more discoveries of how the human body could be improved by using the voluntary muscles correctly.

    Then I realized that I was applying engineering principles which I had studied as part of earning an Architectural Degree at Carnegie-Mellon University. WOW!

    Years later I was sitting at the keyboard typing hours a day. Pain developed at the base of my thumb. It got worse and worst. I looked and looked at the problem. Eventually I recognized that it was similar to the problem with the feet in that I was allowing ligaments to stretch by not using voluntary muscles correctly. I changed the way I was using the keyboard and the pain went away. Here is the theory and how you can use it to handle similar pains.

    The engineering principle we are looking at here is the backup system. When you have an important system you always have a backup in case it fails. The backup can be done by making parts many times stronger than needed, by making two duplicate systems which are redundant or by making an entirely different system to handle part of the job. In the human body an engineer would use the ligaments to hold the bones together at the joints when the muscles are not working, such as at night when you are asleep. Without the ligaments you could wake up in the morning with your toes mixed in with your ribs. When the main system is off line and the backup system is in use and overloaded, an engineer would install loud bells and flashing red lights to let the operator know something is wrong. For instance, on the dashboard of your car there is a bright red light for when one of your brake systems fails. In the human body the red lights and loud bells are pain.

    Now a demonstration: hold your arm out straight in front of you with the palm down. Bend the elbow so the hand is near your chest. Relax the forearm muscles so the wrist goes limp and the hand flops. GENTLY press your other hand against the back of the flopped hand until you feel some pain in the bent wrist. Here you are stretching ligaments. Stop pressing. Using the muscles in the forearm with the bent wrist, pull your wrist straight. Using the other hand, press against the back of the formerly flopped hand; using the muscles in that forearm, do not let that wrist bend. Notice: no matter how hard you press, the straight wrist does not hurt. The main system, the muscles, are working correctly and the ligaments are off line, so they do not hurt.

    Look at your fingers and thumbs. Notice that the first two joints are hinge joints, like a door hinge, which only bend back and forth, not side to side. If you try to bend those joints side to side the ligaments will stretch because there are no muscles or tendons across those joints to carry the load. To handle this, only press against the pad of the fingers or thumbs which do have tendons to carry the load. At the third joint there are muscles which move the fingers and thumbs side to side and can carry the load. However, it is possible to move the thumb down against the space bar without using the muscle across the third joint to carry the load - thus stretching that ligament. The method I used to handle the pain at the base of my thumb when I was doing a lot of typing was to raise my hands higher above the computer keyboard so the pads of my thumbs, rather than the sides, would hit the space bar. That totally handled the pain at the base of my thumbs which is where carpal tunnel syndrome makes itself felt. You could do this, too. Good luck.

    --- Denlinger studied engineering as part of earning an architectural degree at Carnegie-Mellon University. Later in life he made Denlinger's Discovery™ by using engineering basics to handle otherwise untreatable severe pains in his own body. Here are web sites for more information and his books: http://www.NeckBackFootPain.com and http://www.FootArch.com

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