Posted by: ugleepen | August 12, 2009

Is Writing Pain a Problem for You?

If you are experiencing writing pain on a regular basis, you are not alone. Many people experience these challenges due to excessive writing for school or work, or because they are not taking into consideration proper ergonomics. If you are currently suffering from writing pain, try implementing these tips and suggestions.

  • Relax:
    Hold your hand in a neutral and relaxed position. Keep your wrist straight and make every attempt not to bend it while writing. If you are at an awkward angle and feel as if you are reaching or straining, move your work closer to you or adjust your seating arrangement. Between thoughts, when you are not writing, set your pen down and take that time to consciously relax your mind and body.
  • Posture:
    Practice good posture. Excessive leaning or slumping the neck and shoulders will make your arms tire faster, as will a lack of arm support. If you plan to write for extensive periods of time, vary your sitting posture in your chair. Make sure your desk is ergonomically suited to fit you at the correct height for writing.
  • Take Breaks:
    Make it a point to leave your desk every hour or so give your arm a rest. Set a timer if needed. If possible, take your time when writing and limit the total time per day. While on the break, do some stretches. Hold one arm out straight, put your hand up, fingertips up, (like you are motioning someone to stop) and pull your fingers back gently toward you. After that stretch, point your fingertips down, again gently pulling the fingers toward you. Repeat with the other arm. You can also open and close your hand for a nice finger stretch.
  • Find the Right Pen:
    You want a pen that offers a cushioned grip and a wider barrel. Make sure the pen writes with smooth ink so it glides along the paper. Grasp the pen loosely. With a good pen, you don’t have to hold it tightly, it should almost grip you. The weight of the pen is also important; the lighter the better. An ergonomic comfort pen is what you are looking for.

If you’ve followed all these suggestions and your hand continues to ache, consider ending your writing activity for the day. You could also try a variation of your routine: write with your hand, then do a non-writing activity, and finally using your computer to continue writing. An ergonomic evaluation from an expert may help provide additional suggestions regarding how to optimize your work space and writing habits. Talk to your doctor if your pain is chronic or excessive or if it does not respond to measures you can take yourself.

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