Three years ago, during NaNoWriMo, I started to develop severe wrist pain. I got myself wrist supports, and started to alternate between my desktop computer and my laptop. These emergency measures did help—but the real answer for me lay in getting an ergonomic keyboard.
So if you often spend long periods at the computer, do consider this as an option for the future. Warning: it takes perseverance to get used to, and if you’re not a touch typist this may not work for you.
Here are some other suggestions to help you care for your hands:
- Keep a stress ball or apple-sized piece of foam rubber, close at hand. When you’re staring at a distant object out the window (following a tip from the last blog) squeeze and release the stress ball.
- Change the position of your fingers, hands and wrists as often as possible.
- If you normally use a mouse, stop using it for a while.
- If you use the finger pad on the laptop, try adding an external mouse.
- Whenever you pause, stretch your fingers as wide as you can, then roll them into a fist and squeeze them tight.
- Get the blood flowing. Every hour, get up from your computer and take a walk around your home or office. Hold your hands in the air, and revolve your wrists. Open and shut your fingers. Hang your hands down and shake them. (If you’re in an office, better warn your co-workers or they may call in the men in white coats.)
- Support your wrists as I suggest above. Use an official wrist support, or do a temporary job with a crepe bandage.
Don’t ignore sore wrists and hands in the hope they’ll get better. They won’t. Take care of them. You can’t write without them.