Writing can take a toll on your body. Your greatest assets are your wrists, hands, fingers, elbows, and back. Sitting all day can also affect your heart, nervous system, while staring at a computer screen can damage your eyesight. Not to mention, depression or mood swings that can punch you in the gut when things aren't going your way.
It's good for the body, mind, and soul to prevent as many of these as possible. Repetitive Stress Injury, RSI, affects over 1.8 million workers each year according to studies done by the Occupational Safety and Heath Administration, OSHA. As a writer, you have a higher chance of RSI. Some of the common RSI ailments include; Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tennis Elbow, and Trigger Finger.
I recently experienced RSI with one my wrists. Years before, I had suffered through Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which was extremely painful and caused a two year vacation from my writing career. I've made a few adjustments that have helped and keep me aware. Hopefully these will save someone from the same painful vacation I took before I realized my poor work habits.
- Keyboards are important: What type you use, how your hands flow over the keyboard, and how long you spend typing at one time are all factors to consider.
- Taking breaks and getting out of your sitting/typing position every thirty minuets is crucial to maintaining a healthy blood flow and recess from the repetitive movement that causes injury.
- Posture Counts: Are both feet flat on the floor? Does your chair complement your back and neck or cause you to strain?
I've made the switch to an ergonomics keyboard which has a very easy and soft touch. It's slightly different than a regular keyboard but hasn't taken that long to get use to. Next on my list is an ergonomic chair. There are many different types and brands on the market, I did some research and read reviews before I chose mine. I also use an ergonomics wrist pad and gloves to help with the pressure and tension placed on my hands during busier days. A few of my picks are:
A few reminders to help prevent RSI in your wrists include:
- Don't type for over 30 minutes without taking at least a 5 minute break.
- Don't bend your hands at the wrists, even if you have a wrist pad rest.
- Keep your hands and wrist at a lower angle so that your elbows and shoulders are relaxed.
- Stretch your arms and get the circulation going. See examples of stretches here.
- Invest in a voice activated typing software such as Dragon Dictate. See more reviews here,
- Purchase the necessary tools: Keyboard, chair, gloves, etc.
- Practice this simple preventive exercise:
Preventative health is the best type of health, but if you are already suffering from RSI or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, do your research and don't let it stop you from doing what you love.
Thanks for stopping by!
How have you overcome a health situation that effected your job?