Fellow retoucher, beware…

It started with a tingling sensation on the fingers of my right hand. After, I can’t remember how many weeks, there was a bothersome sensation on top of my wrist. Then the sensation took my forearm, and a little bump emerged on top of my hand. The doctor told me I had tendonitis and that the bump was a harmless cyst. Nothing that a gentle daily massage on the bump and conscious computer posture and use couldn’t solve.

With my denial and resistance to take action, a year passed by, the bump kept growing and so did the pain.

Now  the pain goes all the way up to my shoulder. A full day editing images makes my arm feel like it’s been lifting weights and my shoulders as if I did pushups all day long. Now that I can’t deny it anymore I finally started changing my habits.

Here are things I’m doing to improve my situation:

* Create a more ergonomic work environment: get a chair with arm rests, height adjustable and has wheels, position the keyboard and Wacom or mouse correctly, have the monitor at the right height. I’m by no means an expert so you can check out this article for more detailed information about creating a good environment.

* Allow yourself to take breaks, give your hands a rest and your back a good stretch! I’ve been using the “mindfulness bell app“. I have it set so that a bell rings every hour. That reminds me to take a five minute break, sometimes longer.

* Daily massages on the bump with an external analgesic oil.

* Be aware of the tension creeping. Try to relax once it’s there.

* Limit computer and phone time.This one is one of the hardest ones and also the most rewarding.

* Train your left hand. I’ve been switching my Wacom pad from right to left every hour or so. I’m also learning to write with my left and trying to do daily tasks that I usually do with my right with my left. Yes, it’s going to be tedious and frustrating but practice patience here!

* Switch between the Wacom pad and a mouse. The hand grip is different on the mouse and the Wacom. Tendonitis is caused by repetitive movements so changing the way you grip is a good way to go.

* Check out your posture while sitting. Make sure your back is straight and your elbows and knees rest at 90 degrees.

* Core strength exercises. You’d be surprised how much your sitting posture improves once you start doing this.

*Acupuncture.

Please know that everything stated here comes from my personal experience. I don’t intend to give medical advice, if you have any pain like mine you should probably see a doctor. I’m just sharing some habit changes I’m doing that are helping my condition and that might help you too.

Mucho amor,

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