Writer's Disease - Avoiding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

My son was making his case for all the reasons he needed a motorcycle. Gas savings, easier parking options, lower maintenance. All true, but Momma Bear wasn't buying it. It didn't help at all when my uncle called to talk with me on the issue one day. A long-time Harley rider---who had almost died about three years ago in an accident not of his making--he made the following statement, "Karen, there are two kinds of motorcycle riders, those who have laid it down and those who will lay it down." (Clarification he didn't mean "laying it down" as in walking away from riding it.  Nope, as most of you know, he meant laying it down in a slide to avoid an accident, due to an accident or just operator error.)
 
Well, on the same note, I have found there are two kinds of writers. Those who fight Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and those who will fight it sometime in their writing career. I'm there now. So I have to say I hope you currently don't need this post. But save it. Trust me. If you type for untold hours a day, every day, you have to compensate to avoid the inevitable pain that will follow if you don't take steps avoid it.
 
Here are some tips I can share from my own journey:
 
Preventative:
 
1.  Five pound weights. Hold them out in front of you and lift with your forearm and wrist in small motions. You only need to do about ten to twenty repetitions a day to build up those muscles to try to avoid injury or maintain muscle tone to avoid Carpal Tunnel.
 
2.  Place your computer in a location that your forearms can rest on a desk or table rather than reaching up toward the keyboard. This reduces strain.
 
3.  Wrist support braces are available at most stores since this is becoming a common issue. These are very helpful for some people who strap them on before heading to the computer.
 
Restorative:
 
1.  Once you begin to experience Carpal Tunnel pain, you are in an uphill climb. Let me just say, NIP IT IN THE BUD. Don't let it continue to build without addressing it. It won't get better on its own.
 
2.  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome involves inflammation of the muscles and tissues. You have to get rid of the inflammation to get rid of the pain. (At one point I couldn't even pick up a pencil without severe pain shooting up my arms. Yeah, you don't want to go there.)
 
Ice is the key, not heat. Routinely place ice packs on the affected forearm muscles. 10-20 minutes on, and 45 minutes off. Then repeat. Don't go longer than 10-20 minutes or you can actually cause further damage. Less is more in this instance.
 
3.  There are certain foods with anti-inflammatory benefits. I'm all about healing through nutrition when possible, so for me this was a no-brainer. Some of the best foods include:
 
Raisins, kale, tea (green, white and black all work), walnuts, cherries, ginger, sweet potatoes, basil, salmon, soy beans, kelp, blueberries & papaya.  For additional information on anti-inflammatory foods click here.
 
4.  There are two nutritional supplements that have really helped. Liga-tend by Country Life and Ultra Inflam Actin by Nature's Plus. I'm sure there are plenty more, but these are what I have used.
 
5.  Do all of the preventative tips listed above. They are necessary as you work to get out of this syndrome and then maintain them forever. Yeah I said it. Forever.
 
6.  Finally, for days that you can't get on top of the pain? Advil. Yes, I realize this only masks the pain, but some days that is what is required. However, this is not a solution. You have to rebuild and heal those muscles or eventually you will have to stop writing. Masking the pain only gets you through the day. It heals nothing. However, it is helpful for writers, who like me find themselves in the uphill climb, but can't just take a few months off from writing.
 
Writing is what we do. For me, it is not only part of my livelihood; it is what makes me tick. It is where I derive joy. I HAVE to write. If you are truly a writer, you get that statement. The advice to "just let your muscles rest" wasn't a feasible option in my case. Probably not in yours either. But thankfully, healing can come even as you continue writing, if you will follow the steps above. It just takes consistency and a little longer to see results.
 
Again, I hope you don't need this post at this time. But as a writer, one day you probably will.

Note: Information provided with this post is not designed or intended to constitute medical advice or to be used for diagnosis.
 
Also, please note no writers or animals were harmed in this process. :)