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It's all in the wrist

Friday, I rather cryptically alluded to some "health" and "financial" concerns that were conspiring to thwart my blogging. They haven't eased up much, but I figured I owed folks a little bit of explanation.

First up, the health issue. For the last few weeks, I've been getting more and more pain in my right wrist. It's gotten to the point where writing my stereotypical long-winded pieces is uncomfortable to downright painful. I'm hoping that it's just poor support for my mouse hand and plan to invest in a new mousepad with a wrist rest, but I'm worried it could be carpal tunnel syndrome. I'm seeing my doctor next week, and that will be high on my agenda.

Secondly, the financial one. I had several hefty bills all hit me at once (including some for my beloved Shaggin' Wagon), and at the same time the opportunity to work some extra hours at The Day job arose. Since the wrist pain doesn't interfere much with that work, I took it.

Between the two, blogging had to take a back seat. I still have the ideas and the words and the desire, but circumstances are not cooperating. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is proving weak again.

I'm working on a couple right now, and one of them might turn out to be so long I'll have to split it in two, but I don't know just when I'll get them finished and published.

As I said Friday, this is NOT a sign of burnout, and I have NO interest in quitting blogging -- even temporarily. I just have to figure out how to work around yet another way my decades of neglecting my body and health are coming back and biting me on the ass.

(Update: I should have been clearer: I meant that my wrist problem very well could be a consequence of ignoring early warning signs, something I've done with several other physical problems over the years to my detriment. I've also semi-retired my wireless keyboard and dragged my wired ergonomic keyboard out of storage, and am using that at home. With luck, that'll help.)

Comments (17)

Jay Tea - try left hand mou... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea - try left hand mousing for a bit - worked for me a coupl eof years ago when I was ctaching the first signs of carp-in-the-tunnel (which it woudl appear the 'Big Dig' is on its way to seeing too! ; -) - anonymous "Bob"

Jay,Decades of neg... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:


Decades of neglecting your body and health don’t have much to do with a repetitive motion injury, as the part of you so afflicted is getting too much exercise. There are two main causes for computer related repetitive motion injuries. Improper workstation ergonomics and excessively intense movements too often and for too long. The solution is to first make sure your workstation is as ergonomic as practical and this may require new computer furniture and hardware. Then you have to learn to slow down a bit. Most sites dealing with repetitive motion injury say you should have the mouse level with the keyboard and use a wrist pad. The key is that the wrists must not be bent in order to type or use the mouse. I use an elevated mouse with an elbow pad that takes all the weight off the wrist. It’s not as quick as having a mouse right next to the keyboard, but part of the cure is to slow down so that tendons don’t become inflamed. You can do the same amount of work, but it just takes a bit longer.

We guys have a tendency to ... (Below threshold)

We guys have a tendency to ignore early warning signs for some reasons.

I wish you well and hope the advice MacLorry gave, and the news your doctor provides, helps solve your ailment.

As for the financial, trust me, we all understand. Do what you must to remedy that as well. We'll still be here waiting for your next post. In the meantime, you have a great support team. They can carry the load while you take care of business.

Good luck and good health to you, Jay.

JayI also had pain... (Below threshold)


I also had pain starting to crop up in my right wrist from clicking so much. I too as the person above suggested, switched to my left hand and it really did work. After a month, I was good to go back to the right hand. I now alternate monthly and it keeps the wrists fresh. Also another thing that helps is going wrist curls with a weight bar, regular and reverse.

4get the mouse pad JT. Just... (Below threshold)

4get the mouse pad JT. Just buy yoursef a trackball ( I prefer Trackman Marble if they still make them). I got tired of chasing mice around my desk, dirty balls, etc. a few years ago and switched, I've never looked back. I have one at work too doing 3d modeling in ten hour stints with no ill effects...

Jay,Assuming you b... (Below threshold)


Assuming you both type and mouse with your right hand/wrist, I can say: Been there, done that. One word: TRACKBALL.

Replacing my mouse with a trackball at work was the single biggest improvement I made to minimize wrist pain and carpal tunnel issues. Don't get one with a small ball, get a big ball. Then, setup the software to make sure you get the cursor to move as quickly and as far as possible for a given movement of the trackball. You'll get used to it quick enough, and it really is a wrist saver. ('course, if you're a laptop/mobile user, this may not be a very helpful suggestion, but heh. I tried!)

I know the wrist thing can be very painful. Good luck.

Steve C.
Cincinnati, OH, USA

[email protected] Jay Tea</p... (Below threshold)


@ Jay Tea

1. Buy an egg or kitchen timer.

2. Set it for 15 minutes and start blogging.

3. When the bell rings, set it for 5 minutes and do something other than blogging.

4. Repeat #2-#4.

The key is to give your wrists some rest time on a regular basis. Plus if you get up, walk around, make some decaf tea or what have you, you'll be much healthier over the long term.

As long as you don't take this time to go and eat snack foods.

Jay, you have to take care ... (Below threshold)

Jay, you have to take care of your body. At the end of the day, it's the most important possession you have my man. So I hope you feel better soon, and get back to being 100%.


Damn, there goes half your ... (Below threshold)

Damn, there goes half your love life…..

Sorry, I can’t resist kicking a man while he’s down.

But seriously, BTDT too.

I suffered various minor maladies ranging from wrist pain, stiff neck, and headaches, to varicose veins in my legs. On my Drs advice, I set Outlook to prompt me every 30 minutes to get up from my desk and walk around. In a few weeks, I felt like a new person!

That success prompted me to begin a real exercise program, and I think I have mentioned in the past how life altering that has been. Sometimes it’s amazing what a few little lifestyle tweaks can do for your quality of life.

Hey, I just found your blog... (Below threshold)

Hey, I just found your blog from a link on blonde sagacity. I had a problem with the whole wrist thing for a while, too. I thought for sure there would be surgery in my future. Instead, I iced it down for about a half hour every day and slept with a wrist brace on. It worked wonders.

Good luck!

Jay, ane you considered spe... (Below threshold)

Jay, ane you considered speech to text software to get the bulk of the writing down? Dragon Naturally Speaking works pretty well, and then you'd only have to type to clean it up and post it.

Jay,I was having s... (Below threshold)


I was having similar wrist pain about two months ago and went to my Doctor. She did x-rays, etc., but thought it might be a compression injury and sent me to a Chiropractor to do wrist manipulation and realign the wrist. I thought it was Carpal Tunnel and it scared the hell out of me, but about 10 visits later, the pain is gone.

BTW, also switched to a trackball and it helped too. I thought I was going to have to give up my second favorite pasttime of computer work or even my favorite or typing one handed.

Try some LIGA-TEND. I know... (Below threshold)

Try some LIGA-TEND. I know it's a goofy sounding product name but is solved computer related wrist pain problems for both myself and a friend.

You can buy it at many heath-food stores. Here is a link as an example:


I am in no way affiliated with the product or the above web store.

Wish you well!

I'm going to combine ed's a... (Below threshold)

I'm going to combine ed's and Justin B's suggestions and recommend the Kensington Expert Mouse. It's actually a trackball and the Mouseworks software (which you can download without buying their product) has a built-in rest reminder. I am a software developer and I use my keyboard and mouse for somewhere between 8 and 10 hours a day. Kensington'sl large trackball and large buttons has done wonders for my wrist.

I know you weren't necessarily soliciting suggestions, but the Expert Mouse is one of those things that you can't help sharing with everyone who could use it. I know the price is a bit steep, but your wrist is worth it.

Hey Jay...I had similar iss... (Below threshold)

Hey Jay...I had similar issues a few months back and what helped me, besides a more ergonomic workstation, was wrapping my hands and wrists with ace bandages, especially when sleeping or driving. Kept 'em in a more neutral position and helped 'em recover.

I was surprised when researching carpal tunnel, that often symptoms are worse in the morning, after sleeping. Seems many people flex their wrists in their sleep. Who knew?

Hmmmm.Frankly I pr... (Below threshold)


Frankly I prefer the "15 minutes & then rest for 5" method because:

1. It gives my wrists some valuable rest time
2. It gets me off my rear end and moving around
3. It forces to me to take time and really think about what I'm doing. Whether blogging a comment or writing programming code, that 5 minutes of time set aside does in fact help.

*shrug* but each person has their own preferred methods.

Hi Jay,here are my... (Below threshold)

Hi Jay,

here are my three quick steps to a healthy workplace:

Get better!






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