Writing through Pain

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The past few weeks have been pain filled. I know I’m not alone in this. Writers spend a lot of time sitting. Some pain is expected. Getting up and moving around, taking breaks help. But that becomes a lot harder when your pain has a medical name.

Once it’s named following a  doctor’s visit, a sort of permanence settles in. That’s different from just a little back pain or wrist pain that leaves when you step away from the keyboard and do other things that exercise different muscles. Those minor pains can be lessened through new activities such as cleaning, taking long walks, even taking a short nap can set you back on track to write again.

After years of writing and doing data entry at my job, I’ve developed carpal tunnel and sciatica. Add to that a diagnosis of neuropathy several years ago, a simple change of activity doesn’t always set things to right.

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My right wrist gets over used at my job because my hand uses the mouse more than the keyboard. The sciatica makes it difficult to sit for long periods. And the neuropathy that has been dormant for years has suddenly ( I suspect with this particularly harsh winter) morphed into mega pain.

Combined with stresses in life, the pain can be unbelievable.

I’ve found some things that help me keep writing. Acupuncture did wonders to minimize carpal tunnel pain. The chiropractor also recommended hand exercises. Over time, I no longer needed a brace. Heat helps too.

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Heat and medications help my neuropathy and sciatica. Walking and stretches reduce the pain.

Fortunately, I am left-handed. So, I write long hand on a tablet while my right arm rests.

I take a few days off from typing and then resume. During my times away from the keyboard I take time to pray, read the Word, read things that inspire me. This energizes my soul and reduces my emotional stress.

I know when I retire form my job, it will be easier. At my office I sit in the same spot all day. Taking a few walking breaks.

At home I can move my laptop to a countertop and type standing. To a couch and put my feet up. And I have a desk that fits over my bed where I can place a heating pad on my legs and keep working. New positions relax my muscles.

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Some people use Dragon to dictate their stories onto the page. I need to learn that program. Some writers dictate to their spouses so they can rest their typing muscles. That might work because my hubby types much faster than I.

Being an author is a dream fulfilled.

Pain wants to rob that dream.

 I’ve shared the ways I work through my pain. I’d love to hear what others do.  Together we can encourage and help one another.

 

 

 

 

Arguing with Myself About the E Word

Tuesday I talked about how I use coloring to destress and reboot.

Today I want to talk about the dreaded E word.

You know (whispered tone) exercise. I’ll say it a little louder. Exercise!

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I am one of those who sighs and pray “God give me the diligence to exercise because I can think of many things I’d rather do.”

So, this post is me arguing with myself as I encourage us all to do the right thing.

The Fitbit rage has gotten people at least for a season of time to pay more attention to how much they move.

No, I don’t have one. Not yet, Maybe never.

The simple goal of 10,000 steps a day gets people out of their chairs for extended time each day. Writers like me who have day jobs at a computer move even less than the average person.

10,000 steps take too much thought even with a Fitbit. My mind is engaged elsewhere.

Exercise classes are available through the local park district.

I don’t want to take an exercise class where I feel like the waddling duck in a group of elegant swans. (Coordinated I am not.)

My sister is a cyclist and that keeps her very fit.

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If you like to peddle 60 miles a day.

My neighbor runs 10 k a day.

My poor knees wouldn’t survive 1K.

My co-worker took up weight lifting in her 50s and is faithful to go to the gym five or six days a week.

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I hurt myself once when I had a gym membership. Actually, it was several times.

I just need to find the one exercise I can enjoy.

Jerry Jenkins has a home gym he uses every day. He’d gained a huge amount of weight while developing his writing career. Now he is faithful to mix exercise in his daily schedule. He maintains a healthy weight.

Confession: I have a home gym. It’s in my basement squeezed behind the laundry area.

I look at myself in the mirror and I know I need to do something—again.

Maybe I’ll cover the mirror with a sheet or get dressed in the dark.

There is another secret exercise that no one really thinks about. Housework (I don’t hear any cheering.)

Vacuuming, scrubbing counters. (You know wax on wax off.) Housework exercises muscles that lay dormant while you sit at your desk. Perhaps you get your house in perfect order before you sit down to type. (Not me!) Probably more writers than will admit it don’t have housework as a high priority.

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I pulled a muscle this past Friday cleaning the kitchen. Don’t ask. I am still recovering from it a week later.

Whatever exercise you do stretch first. Loosen muscles like free writing loosens creativity. Stretching prepares us to move.

Probably should have stretched before I started cleaning.

When I am in the exercise zone I prefer to walk, use my treadmill or lumbar bike.

When spring comes I’ll start walking again. But until then I guess I’ll have to remove my daughter’s laundry from my treadmill and after stretching begin exercising.

Or maybe ….

How about you? What exercise do you enjoy when your away from the keyboard? I’d love to hear what you do. You might be the inspiration I need.J

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