I suffer from carpal tunnel. It’s something that I’ve had for a long time, although it started off as just weak tendons that played up now and then. When I get a flare up now, it can be excruciating. The pain will shoot into my elbows and sometimes into my shoulders. I can’t do anything.
As a writer, minimizing carpal tunnel is essential. When I get flare ups, I can’t write at all. Sometimes I have to find ways to power through the pain, but that just makes the flare up worse. So, as part of my writer health tips, I want to cover my tips for dealing with it and minimizing carpal tunnel as a writer. After all, I’m not going to be the only writer with it.
Take Regular Breaks from Writing
My number one tip is to take breaks from writing. This is essential for every part of your health, but definitely for your wrists.
When I started as a writer, I made so many business mistakes. I would write every single day of the week and barely take a break during my working day. It’s really no surprise that carpal tunnel became such a major problem.
Now I make sure I get away from writing during the day. I step away from the computer for an hour for lunch and take 5-10 minute breaks every hour.
Rather than get a flare up every month, the carpal tunnel will affect me every three months or so and only for a day. It used to last three or four days. I can even ease off the pain quickly with some anti-inflammatory medicine and a hot water bottle to help reduce the swelling.
Definitely start taking breaks if you don’t already! It will even boost your productivity as a writer.
Don’t Forget Your Wrist Exercises
One of the desk workouts that I suggested last week was to do some wrist exercises. This wasn’t just to improve the strength of your arms but to get the blood flowing better in your wrists.
Circling and stretching the wrists helps to take some of the pressure off them. We just spend far too long with our wrists in one position while typing. And typing on our laps or somewhere not set up to help our posture isn’t doing us any favors either (even though the change of scenery can be nice).
Do the wrist exercises two or three times a day. I like to do them before I start, during lunch, and then at the end of the day. I’ll also have a stress ball, so while I’m thinking I can build the muscles around my wrists and forearms and keep the blood flowing.
Wear a Splint
I hear that this is something to do on a night all the time, but I really don’t like it. Instead, I wear a splint when my wrist shows niggling signs. There are days and days that I go forgetting that I can even have wrist problems. Then there are days that there’s a slight twinge. This is a sign that if I don’t take care of it now then it will become a major problem.
Some type of support for your wrist is excellent for keeping it positioned correctly. Bending often makes the pain worse.
You can also try some support bandages for during the day. Just normal white, elasticized bandages are perfect for when you’re trying to write. We called them tubi-grips at college, but I’m not sure what the actual name for them is elsewhere! Sporting supports are also beneficial.
Raise Your Writing Rates
This is one of the best ways to improve your carpal tunnel and avoid it occurring. Raising your rates means that you get paid more for the work that you do. You get to spend more time off the computer, so you don’t go through the exact same tasks hour after hour.
You could also look at residual income. This takes time to develop, but it is possible to increase your monthly income and get to the point where you don’t need to write for clients.
Raising my rates was the first thing I did when I realized that I needed time off. I wasn’t worried so much about a day off here and there, because I knew the raise in rates would pay for it.
Move Out of Daily Writing
Something else that I’ve started doing is moving out of writing on a daily basis. It’s something that I continue to do to make sure I can get away from the reasons behind the carpal tunnel.
Could you set up courses? Maybe you can do more videos to create content for your business. Another option is to set up a PLR shop—you write the content once and different people buy the same item giving you recurring income.
All the options to move out of daily writing will take some time to set up. You’ll also need to market your new offerings. They’re just ideas to get you started.
These are all steps that I’ve taken to deal with carpel tunnel. My writer health tips are tried and tested by me and help to improve my life as a writer. Now it’s time for you to improve your writer life!
Would you like to improve your writing income and change the way you work? Why not sign up to be one of my writing students to learn how to be more productive and make more money as a writer?