Do you ever get pain in your fingers, hand, arm, shoulder or neck when you write for extended periods of time? Join the club.
Here are a few effective ways of preventing or easing that pain:
- Instruments. Use a thick, rough, soft pen with smoothly flowing ink. These things prevent your muscles from having to grip the pen too hard.
- Relax. Don’t grip anything too tightly. This includes your pen, the edge of your desk, or the arm of your writing partner when you are writing that particularly scary scene.
- Muscles. Try to move your whole arm to shape the letters rather than your wrist, hand or fingers. This protects the small, delicate muscles in your body that are more vulnerable to damage.
- Shake. Stop after a few minutes and rub, shake or otherwise ease any muscle that you feel has stiffened during the process of writing. This gives the affected areas the opportunity to relax and enjoy the sunshine.
- Mind. If you really must continue to write through the pain due to an unavoidable deadline, which is more important than your health, then concentrate on your other hand. This also works for pins and needles, cramp and other one-sided discomforts. Putting your focus on the non-affected hand tricks the brain into thinking that all is well and gives you the opportunity to carry on torturing your body.
- Nerves. Gently but firmly massage the nerves bundle at the top of your spine, just below your neck, with the tips of your fingers. This works like a magic spell, but I have no idea how or why. Nerves are a big mystery to me. Let me know if you know.
- Stretch. Raise both arms as high as you can above your head, then out to the side and then behind your back (be imaginative). This stretches out your muscles, gets your blood flowing and eases that mysterious nerve nexus at the top of your spine.
- Water. When you get dehydrated, your muscles don’t work as effectively. In fact – none of you works as effectively so make sure you drink enough water. Just don’t drink so much that you’re running to the toilet every five minutes. Unless you have a really nice toilet, of course. Or if this is part of your regular exercise routine.
- Switch. Try a dose of ambidexterity and use your other hand. I’d give my right arm to be ambidextrous, which is a joke because if I gave my right arm then I would not actually have the use of both my arms for writing. Ha-ha!
What is your favourite method of preventing writer’s cramp or similar conditions?