Thursday, May 9, 2013

Writing 101: Wrist Health

I've always used the computer mouse with my right hand. It's a little weird, because I'm left-handed, but I guess I was just confronted by two many computers with the mouse on the wrong side. So now I always use my right hand. Because I practice good wrist health, I always can. But if you don't, you're going to find yourself in a diner pressing a hot coffee cup against your hand at the age of 20. I know, because it happened to me.

Carpaling a Tunnel

Yes it's true. I used to order coffee, half-full, while hanging out with my friends in restaurants. I did not really drink the coffee; I pressed the back of my right wrist against it. As it cooled off, I instructed the waitress to pour just a little more in there to heat it back up. This is why I had to order it half-full, you see. I did this for a few months before I finally learned a few things about good wrist health...and carpal tunnel.

Everyone has a carpal canal, a small passageway inside the wrist that connects the palm to the arm. It's filled with connective tissues and nerves, not to mention a few tendons. When your wrist is habitually bent at an angle, this tunnel may narrow in size. The tiny bones in the wrist, the carpals, begin to move and shift. As a result, the main median nerve might become trapped in the tunnel. This causes terrible pain.

That said, it is possible to overcome the pain. I successfully manage mine. The secret? Good wrist health.

No Limp Wrists Here

If you're a writer, and you live in the modern age, you're going to be typing...a lot. This makes it highly likely that your wrists are going to be bent, instead of straight. If you want to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome, and the pain associated therein, you want to keep your wrists straight. 

But you're typing, so it's just not always feasible to keep them straight during your waking hours. So do what I do. Make sure they stay straight while you sleep. If your wrists are habitually bent during the day, it's not at all unlikely that when you sleep they resume this same hunched position. You want to keep them straight and flat instead, all night long whenever possible. This can be done with a special brace, but it can also be done by shoving your hands beneath the pillow. Remember you want your fingers out and splayed, and your wrists straight and flat. Make it a habit to sleep in this position. Otherwise, your fingers may curl inward automatically as you sleep and exacerbate carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Please note that I am not a doctor nor a medical professional. If you believe you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you should seek professional help.

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