It’s All in the Wrist:  How I Avoid Hand and Wrist Pain as a Writer

Two hands typing on a mechanical keyboard. The right hand is covered in a wrist guard.
Two hands typing on a mechanical keyboard. The right hand is covered in a wrist guard.

I have been typing and writing on a keyboard for as long as I can remember. It all started in the 9th grade when I took a high school typing class. It was on one of those old-fashioned Smith Corona  typewriters. Then I moved on to a computer using word processing software. My very first job I was a clerk typist  and crafted memos, letters  and other correspondence. Eventually I moved to using a mouse  giving my hands, fingers and wrist a break. But only to return to the keyboard after losing my vision. So, when I look back that is a lot of years banging  and clanging on a keyboard. And you know there has got to be some wear and tear after all this time.

Vintage typewriter on a wooden desk

These days I am feeling pain. It all started with  a small but consistent throb across the top of my right hand. Now it has moved to the bottom of my left wrist. I have not received a medical diagnosis however I am told this  is all symptoms of Carpal tunnel. This is probably true. As a personal and professional writer what am I to do? How do I keep enjoying the thing I love  the most and  avoid pain? Here’s how I do it and you probably can too.

Use Wrist Guards

When I first noticed the pain, I ignored it like most people. I was thinking over time it would just naturally go away. I told myself just take more breaks and you’ll be fine. But we all know  that is not how it works. When the pain got to be so bad my hands were throbbing at night disrupting my sleep, I got up and did something about it.

I purchased  a right hand wrist guard. It covers the top of my hand  to the middle of my arm. It decreases the pain exactly where the throbbing is located. It also  covers my wrist keeping it stable. At first it was awkward and clunky to type with  but over time things improved.

I noticed a change pretty quickly  and could have kicked myself for not doing it sooner. So when the pain transferred to my left wrist I didn’t wait around. I got a wrist guard for my left  and use that one too.

Exercising with Weights

During the pandemic I had a physical therapist come to my home to help with my right knee  pain. She gave me exercises to alleviate the pain and also help with balancing and strength. I shared with her about my hand and wrist pain and she gave suggestions  on what to do. She specifically told me to watch my movements  to see why I was in pain and then adjust myself.

Empish doing arm exercises with hand weights

So, I began to notice How I used my hands and wrist a lot to pull up from a chair  or to brace myself on a countertop. I began to stop doing that and the pain decreased. Sometimes to avoid pain it is about reviewing how your body moves and observing and correcting your posture.

Yesterday, April 18 was National Exercise Day. However, I exercise  all the time, several days a week. One type of exercise I do is lifting weights. Now, I am not trying to be a body builder  so I use small and light hand weights. I have noticed when I lift weights regularly  my hand wrist and even elbows  feel much better. I typically do a set of bicep curls. A variation of arm lifts, holding a weight in each hand and raising them above my head, then to the side, to the front and lastly to the back. I also do hand and finger strengthening exercises. I will stretch wide each finger and thumb. I will ball my hand in a fist and then gently release it and then I do a set of wrist  rolls, turning clockwise  and reverse to counterclockwise. All of these exercises keep the circulation flowing  and help my hands and fingers feel better.

Purchase Mechanical Keyboard

Since I don’t use a mouse anymore the keyboard is an essential piece of equipment for writing. I learned about mechanical keyboards  because they are great for writers, gamers  or anyone else who types a lot. I purchased one and it has been a God sent. The keys are springy   reducing the pressure on my fingers. I use a light touch and avoid pain.

Taking Computer Classes

The last thing I have done is take  online computer classes. Now what does that have to do with wrist and hand pain? A lot. Over the years I have gotten sloppy with my typing  and needed to tighten things up. I noticed the large amount of keystrokes I was doing were not necessary. All this extra movement and repetition  was causing pain and discomfort. The classes  instruct me to use shortcut keyboard commands. This  allows for less keystrokes to accomplish the same task. I have also slowed down on my typing speed and paying more attention to what I am doing. Less errors means less pain.

Empish Sitting in Front of Laptop Wearing Headset with Microphone

Like I said I love writing. This means I had to make changes, and ever since I did I have avoided hand and wrist pain. Have you struggled with wrist and hand pain? If so, share your home remedies or tips.

2 thoughts on “It’s All in the Wrist:  How I Avoid Hand and Wrist Pain as a Writer

  1. Mechanical keyboards rule! As words are my rice bowl, I’ve always made sure to study the tools of my craft: better keyboards, pens, word processors…

    I’ve taken to using voice dictation lately too. The technology has improved so much in recent years, and I’ve found that I can sometimes draft with more than 80% accuracy, which is pretty danged good. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great idea. A blind friend called me the other day asking about voice dictation. She told me that Google sheets does a fairly good job. I need to investigate this more.


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