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Physical Problems Caused by Writing (and how I deal with them)

October 21, 2018

(image via wikimedia)

Some aspects of writing have become easier as I’ve gotten older.  It’s no problem to find topics to write about anymore.  The quality of my writing is a lot better than it was when I was younger.

The physical part of writing, however, is getting more difficult.  Sitting for too long makes my back hurt, even if I’m in my ergonomic(?) chair.  I get carpal tunnel type tingly hands and fingers.  My neck can get stiff.

When I first started having these problems years ago, my doctor said, “Stop writing.”  She might have been kidding.  She has that type of deadpan delivery that puzzles even me, an expert of deadpan delivery.

Despite my doctor’s advice, I haven’t stopped writing.  I haven’t even slowed down.  But I’ve had to make adjustments to the way I physically write over the years.  In the video below, I talk about some of the physical problems caused by writing and what I’ve done to solve these issues.

  1. As I got older my writing got less and less legible. I now use email on my computer most of the time. The only things I write by hand are signatures on birthday cards.
    Have you ever considered using voice-activated text? My husband has an i-phone and just talks to the phone instead of sending a text – very odd but seems to work.

    • “Have you ever considered using voice-activated text? My husband has an i-phone and just talks to the phone instead of sending a text – very odd but seems to work.”-

      That could work for texting, but I’m not so sure about the blogging or my works in progress. I do a lot of editing and moving words/phrases around. It might be easier just to bang on the keyboard for now.

  2. I get muscle spasms in my left hand sometimes. Lately because I’ve been doing most of my blogging and other writing on my phone. I just have to let go for a little bit to let my hand relax.

    • I’m jealous of people who can write on their phones. I don’t think I’ll ever quite get the hang of that.

      • It definitely takes some getting used to. I used to hold my phone the long way (landscape), but I had to switch to using it upright because my new phone was too long and my thumbs could hardly reach the keys.

  3. Thanks for the tips, they’ll come in handy. After years of sitting in front of a computer, I too, have developed a stiff and sore neck (which kicks in after a few hours of writing). This video will help with that.

    • I’m glad the advice might help out, but I have to comment… A few hours of writing?

      You do a few hours of writing at a time?

      I can go only about 30 minutes before I need to stand up and stretch everything out. Plus, my brain gets tired after 30 minutes.

      • Maybe the few hours of writing at a time is my problem… standing up and stretching periodically is probably a good idea!

  4. For your back buy and sit in a rocking chair, multiple vertical-flat slats. It does not work if the slats are round. Use no pillow. Lean back and massage your back. It is a treatment, not a cure, but you’re not using drugs, and you’re not going for medical treatment. I’ve had a bad back for 40 years, and rocking chairs for 35. NO BACK PAIN.
    The rocking chair helps with the neck, too, because much of back pain comes from the neck or from imperfections in the back.
    Carpel tunnel occurs when the muscles keeping the thumb on the inside of the hand weaken; the thump disappears underneath the hand. Give those muscles a little exercise. Isometrics. Put your hands before you like you are praying. Rotate the hands so your fingers point at your chin. Press your hands against one another, not for long but feel the balls of the thumbs, forcing the thumbs out, press against one another.

    • Thanks for the tips! The rocking chair sounds intriguing. And if the tingling starts coming back, I’ll try the thumb exercises. I like easy no-medication solutions.

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