Thursday, January 20, 2022

Repetive Stress Injuries Suck--But OT is the Bomb

I have been typing for my entire life.  Since 1980-1981 when I first learned.  I have been mousing since about 1987 maybe...the first iteration of Windows back in the day.  But mousing nonstop since 2013, when I got my first remote job that was all chart review, all the time.  And that is a long time, in arm years, folks.  By 2018, I'd earned myself a whopping case of lateral epicondylitis.  Used to be known as tennis elbow, but since I've never PLAYED tennis, otherwise knows as "mouse" elbow.  It's a repetitive stress injury caused by using a mouse with incorrect ergonomics for long periods of time.  I got my ergos corrected, got a vertical mouse, and went about my life.

Handwriting exacerbates this condition.  My neurodiverse brain requires me to write shit down to actually learn it, so a couple of years ago, doing my Bachelors, Masters and ANOTHER Masters right after about broke my right arm.  Off to occupational therapy I go, and got better and learned exercises and stuff.  Got a BETTER mouse.  It got better.  I did not continue the exercises.  Cuz I'm lazy that way. (Stupid, by the way).

Fast forward to a month ago, when I was learning new stuff for the side gig and doing a lot of note-taking.  And tons of mousing for my regular job.  And my arm is ON FIRE.  Off to Occupational Therapy AGAIN.  Same therapist, but hey folks, let me tell you, faced with the possible loss of my livelihood because my arm doesn't feckin work, I paid attention this time.

Exercises are key.  I am very stiff in my upper body, and she taught me several exercises to do EVERY.TIME.I.STAND.UP from my desk to combat that stiffness.  Ultrasound to my painful forearm tendons.  And H-Wave therapy (low frequency electrical stimulation to my radial nerve) has changed my LIFE.  I am literally considering purchasing this evidence-based machine because like most insurance companies (except the VA and Workers Comp, go figure) my insurance won't pay for it.  I went to from a pain level of 5 to a 1-2 in 3 days.  Miracle machine.  Anyhow.

Long story short.  If you have pain from your job, seek a professionals help and don't blow off their recommendations like I did.  Do the exercises.  Follow their recommends.  Get better.

I'm glad I did.

I think I might actually be able to keep my arm in operation and not have to learn how to mouse with my left hand.  This is AWESOME.

1 comment:

  1. Oh--that all sounds so painful! I'm glad you're getting relief. Keep up with the exercises!