Where is Your Writers Pain?
If you’ve spent as much time writing over the years as I have, you are probably experiencing at least occasional pain of the repetitious sort. This is especially true if you sit at the computer for as many hours per day as I do.
So where is your pain? In the wrists? Neck? Back? Knees? Hands? What’s your remedy? Do you actually give your joints and muscles a break at regular intervals like you should? Do you exercise every day? Have you found new positions that help relieve the pain? New equipment that helps? Or do you self-medicate?
We had a chiropractor speak to our writers group years ago and he told us horror stories from the corporate world where typists were required to sit sideways with their typewriter or keyboard on a filing cabinet all day typing. He taught us the importance of ones posture while typing and the value of placing the monitor at the proper eye-level so you’re not stressing your neck.
We’ve all known people who’ve needed surgery for various injuries or stress due to repetitive motion in their jobs. And many writers—if not most—have a favorite chiropractor or massage therapist or have learned to compensate in some way to relieve areas of pain.
I was having wrist pain until I began using an ergonomic keyboard. What a huge difference. I know people who balance on a large ball while typing in order to strengthen their back muscles. One woman I know stands at her computer all day long. She loves the results.
I once saw an ergonomic chair demonstrated. That seemed like a good idea—rather like one of those electric beds you see advertised as there are adjustments for every part of your body.
My chiropractor says I should get up from my computer every hour and move around. My doctor maintains the value of daily exercise—walk, ride a bike, garden, etc. And I try to do it all. I don’t want to lose any muscle or joint function that would prevent me from writing. Although, I know that you can write from other positions. I wrote my first book from my bed while recovering from a back injury. I’d hand-write a chapter, then and type that up on a portable typewriter–yes, in the bed. Of course, now we have the laptop and the iPad, making it quite easy to write in any position and from any location.
As you work on that next bestseller, you must realize that bodies don’t last forever and repetitive motion, particularly if it goes against the normal and healthy movement of our joints and muscles, can and will eventually protest. And what aboutyour eyes—can they take the constant strain we put on them to stare into the screen and focus on the small characters that appear? I think where I notice the most stress is when I overwork my brain. So what are you doing to protect your body? Are you being kind to yourself as you scramble to finish writing a book or to add another book to your series? I believe that a huge part of taking care of ourselves is to listen carefully to our body. Pay attention and you’ll know when it is time to take a break, change position, bring in a piece of ergonomic equipment, quit for the day, or take a few days off. Yeah, yeah, you may know at an intellectual level that it’s time to quit or make a change, but do you do it? Or do you continue stressing your body or your brain trying to work through it? You know that your work is better when you’re fresh and pain-free.
Sites you might want to visit for additional information: https://tobiasmastgrave.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/writers-take-care-of-your-body/