Mouse Shoulder Break

Nerves_of_the_left_upper_extremityI call it mouse shoulder. Doctors and physical therapists  talk about ulnar nerves. Whatever the technical term, it means I’ve been spending way too much time at my computer than is good for my body. My little finger tingles all the time. My shoulder hurts.

The good news is that I caught this early and it’s treatable, but not with pills. Pills can help, but they aren’t the answer. If I just take pills and power on through, it will continue to get worse. The bad news is that along with exercises, massage, and so forth, the treatment involves severely curtailing my time at the keyboard. That means cutting way back on blogging, Facebook, Forums, email, and all those things that have come to seem such necessary aspects of daily life.

Sometimes, wise people tell us, our bodies send us signals when change is needed. Those wise people urge us to pull out pen and paper and begin to dialogue with our affected parts. Oddly enough, writing by hand on a lap desk is still okay. This seems a clear message to spend extra time with my journal.

It’s a good time to plan, to make lists, to outline and organize, to do the creative parts of writing that are easy to overlook. It’s time to get out of a rut that’s beginning to wear deep. Raking leaves is good therapy. Painting walls. Going to the gym. Reading books.

So I’m taking a break for a week or few, and shall return when the time and shoulder feel write. Please get in touch with questions. I will check comments and email now and then.

Write now: pull out your journal and spend twenty minutes or more writing, by hand, on paper, about some physical symptom that annoys you. Let your body dictate the words as they flow freely onto the page. You may shift into dialogue. But don’t try to talk down the messages. These are jewels, as powerful as dreams. Listen and heed.

Image credit: Gray’s Anatomy via Wikipedia.


Sherrey Meyer said...

Sharon, take as along as you need to heal that shoulder. We sit here typing and mousing away for minutes, even hours, on end not realizing the toll it takes on our bodies. I was in a slump yesterday feeling sorry for myself about the things I wasn't getting done other than related to writing when I realized I only need to take the time to step away for a while each day and do the things our home and we need to have done. Simple, yet hard!

Joan Z Rough said...

Sharon, I've been changing my habits after not being able to do much for about four weeks. My shoulder was really painful so I understand. I've been shortening my writing times and also got a new desk that raises and lowers. I write sitting for 30 minutes, take a few minutes to stretch and move around, then raise the desk and stand as I write for as long as I can. This is new for me so I'm still only standing for 15 or 20 minutes. Then I lower the desk and write for 30 more minutes.

My physical therapist says he'll never be without work because people are sitting for far too long. He also says he's beginning to see kids with the same problem.

Take time to heal and enjoy whatever you choose to do.

sherpeace said...

Sharon, all the things you mentioned are great to do for both your physical and mental health. Go for it!
I want to mention that I got a cortisone injection in my right wrist 4 mos. ago. The tingling was keeping me awake at night and we were on our way to TN to take my dad on a road trip. I didn't have time to ask a hundred people about it. Well, by the time nightfall came I was feeling much better. I had a great trip and my wrist hasn't bothered me since. In fact, even my shoulder quit hurting. My entire right side feels 10 times better. It even seems to have helped my left shoulder which had just started bothering me about a year ago.
When I got back and told my acu/chiro dr., she said she had gotten an injection 6 mos. earlier and felt better too. If I had known that, I wouldn't have been so concerned as I know she prefers going natural too.
What I have done since is all those little exercises for different parts of the body, including the ankles as I sprained my ankle a year ago. One of the most important exercises is to pull your elbows behind your head. That keeps the shoulders strong.
Well, good luck on this latest journey to health & wellness!

Sharon said...

Thanks for the suggestions Joan. I have tried using my laptop on a counter -- not idea, but a good change. A new keyboard that slopes down is probably also helpful, and the return of my "real" computer. But taking more breaks and stretching have got to be the best!

Sharon said...

Glad your wrist is all better. I know cortisone can help, but tend to be conservative about it. I've heard that you can only get so many shots in a joint before risk of bone damage kicks in, so I'm leery of using it too soon. Not quite there yet on this one.