Friday, October 23, 2015

Taking care of yourself - writing-related ouchies.

Some writers find that after a number of years of doing what we do that we end up with repetitive motion issues, especially if involved with an "evil day job" that requires them to be on a computer all day long anyway.

My writing is my evil day job, but I also have fibromyalgia and arthritis to add to the mix.


I have a few things that have (so far) allowed me to keep the repetitive-motion pain to a minimum, as long as I stick to my routine.

I use IMAK arthritis gloves to start with. They're short-fingered gloves, and even though I have really long fingers, I take an extra-small in these because my hands are fine-boned. Check the sizing chart carefully and if you fall at the lower end of the measurement scale, think about taking a size smaller than you think you might. These gloves REALLY help me especially in winter when I cannot seem to keep my hands and fingers warm (even when it's warm outside). Product Link (Note that's for the x-small size, find the size that will work for you.)

The nice thing about them is I can wear them under the other wrist braces I use. And since I'm a touch-typist, I need gear that won't slow me down there.

I'm a righty, so on my left hand I use an IMAK universal computer glove (it's definitely large on me even though it's a "one size"). Product Link

On my right hand, I use the IMAK SmartGlove, size x-small. What I like about both of these is that they have the "beads" in the heel of the palm area to cushion and keep pressure off the nerves. This one is reversible. You take the soft splint out of it, flip it inside out, and it fits the other wrist. Product Link That's the link to the x-small, so again, check your size carefully.

So that's for while I'm working. I use sports braces a lot when I'm not working (they're difficult to type in). For that, I prefer the McDonald 454 wrist braces (they come in left-hand and right-hand, and they are NOT reversible, so be careful what you order). Product Link (That link is for a right-hand one.) They have a removable metal splint so you can hand-wash them. (I hand-wash all these things in the bathroom sink with some Woolite.) I have purchased these at Sports Authority before, so if you have one of those available, try that. If I'm fairly diligent about using them when I'm not writing, I can keep away the worst of the pain.

At night I use an Ace sleeping brace on my right hand only. Product Link Sometimes you can also find these in Walmart or Walgreens. I have used other Ace carpal tunnel wrist supports before, but I've kind of gotten away from those in lieu of what I'm currently using. So far, the current blend has really helped me a lot. Plus I have conductive gloves on order to use with my TENS unit, so I'm hoping that will help even more this winter. In addition to that, I have a small electric hand warmer I picked up at Target a couple of years ago during the Christmas season. It's basically a very small electric heating pad with a pocket in the cover. When it's really cold I keep that in my lap and tuck my hands into it on a regular basis.

That's not all. I also have handwarmers I've crocheted, which are basically fingerless gloves. They're large enough to fit over everything else, so that if I need the extra warmth, I've got it.

I don't wear the McDonald wrist braces all the time, only when I've been working a lot, or have a lot of pain, and sometimes not even on both hands if my left feels okay. I play it by ear.

I hope this is helpful information for anyone who is looking for non-surgical ways to help ease pain and prevent injuries.


  1. A very useful article. I am a writer too, and also suffer from arthritis and fibromyalgia, so I understand your pain. Another problem, other than hands, is sciatica, which I get when I have been sitting too long, crunched over my laptop. My doctor says I must get up and walk around at regular intervals, but not so easy to do when your character is at a particularly interesting part of the story! I guess the human body was not designed for long periods sitting and typing. My joints were affected before I started writing - when I was in my previous existence as a farmer, which is notorious for damage to the joints. I have already had one hip replaced, and am awaiting the other. Anyway, I will try the gloves and see if they help.

  2. Any advice on folding laundry with fibro/arthritis/chronic pain?