Repetitive Stress Injury

I’ve heard it said that if you’re a writer, it’s not a matter of if you’ll develop a repetitive stress injury, but when. Looks like 2014 was my year.

I’ve been getting pains in my shoulders for months now. In the beginning, it was little more than a twinge. I assumed I’d pulled something at karate, and then when it didn’t go away, I thought maybe I was sleeping on my arm wrong, or I needed a different pillow. It was annoying, but not incapacitating.

But it didn’t go away, and it gradually got worse. If I used my right hand and tried to reach around to touch the back of my left shoulder, pain jabbed through the core of those upper arm muscles. If I used the left hand and reached for the right, it was worse. So I finally headed over to the friendly neighborhood Doctor-Man, who had no problem diagnosing me:

Chris Rock

Wait, what? No, that’s not– Stupid random Dogma references sneaking into my blog post!

Anyway, the doctor diagnosed me with biceps tendonitis, which is an inflammation of the long head — get your mind out of the gutter — of the biceps tendon.

The good news is that it’s not terribly severe. He put me on anti inflammatories, told me to try icing the shoulders, and talked about the kinds of thing that can cause this injury to develop, and what to do about it. This talk can be boiled down to, “Whatever you’re doing to mess up your shoulders, stop doing it!

As far as I can tell, the problem is that the arms of my desk chair at work were a little too low. This means the tendons were strained by holding my arms up all day while I’m typing. Why was the left shoulder worse than the right? Because I mouse left-handed.

It’s been about a week, and my right shoulder is noticeably improved. The left … that’s going a little more slowly, but hopefully it will catch up.

Ah well. If all else fails and my left arm never heals, there’s always this option from He-Man…