The Physical Stress of Writing

Writing on a computer can be hard on a body. I have often woken up from a great writing session on the computer only to find that my shoulders, back and head ache. Long hours typing can also lead to tendinitis in both the elbow and wrist. Fortunately I have found six really helpful stretches that have really helped me with these problems.

Before actually giving the stretchs I’m going to add a little warning, because I know how people can be really gung ho about stretching. Minimal movement is required for these exercises. They should be gently stretching. Stress on the word gentle. Never do these stretches if they hurt. If you find that one of them hurts just stop and try it later or not at all. Basically be careful please!

I will point out that I drew the drawings myself so they only give an idea of what to do. Hopefully its good enough. If not you can check out the website I found them at.

Unfortunately only the first three stretches are still shown on the page which is why I drew the little pictures. I like these first three  stretches because I can do them sitting down in my writing chair while I’m writing.

1) Sitting stretch

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This stretch requires two pictures but it is pretty simple. Its important that you sit up comfortably straight for this stretch. On the inhale pull in your chin in to make it double AND squeeze your shoulder blades together, making sure that you keep your shoulders down and your spine straight. On the exhale let yourself relax. I can only do this once or twice at a time because I start to feel lightheaded but it’s great for tense shoulders. It will help with bad posture too. I used to do this in the car while I was waiting at stop lights but now I sit up so much straighter that the head rest gets in my way and I can’t really pull my head back far enough to get a good stretch.

2) Head Turn


This one we all had to do in PE. Again it’s important that you sit up comfortably straight or stand. Start with one side, take a deep breath and keeping your chin level turn your head until you feel a gentle stretch in your neck muscles. Let out the breath. Turn your head to the front and do the other side, making sure to breath.

3) Side to side


I don’t do this one all that much. I’m always afraid I’ll hurt myself, but it can really help with that stubborn tension in the back of my neck. Remember to sit or stand comfortably straight and remember to breath in on the way down and exhale as you stretch.

These next two are done with a door frame standing up.

4) L stretch


Plant your feet shoulder width apart. With your arm at a ninety degree angle, place your elbow at shoulder height on the door frame. Place your palm on the door frame and take a deep breath and let it out as you lean gently forward. This one can hurt if you are not careful. Just lean until you feel a gentle stretch. Then do your other arm.

5) Overhead stretch


This might be my favorite. It feels amazing and works wonders both on my arms, and shoulders but also on my lower back.

Again plant your feet shoulder width apart. Then place your palm on the top of the door frame. Breath in, and as you breath out lean forward creating a stretch on your shoulder. I sometimes move my feet and hips to change where the stretch effects. Then do your other arm.

This last one is done standing up. I like to do this one when I’m walking.

6) Arm behind back stretch


This one is a little hard to describe, but it feels great, and is totally worth it.

Start with your right side: take your left hand and put it behind your back. Grab your right wrist loosely with your left hand, fingers pointed out from your back. (I tried to draw this in the picture.) Now pull your right arm across your back gently with your left hand, keeping your right shoulder relaxed, as your breath in and out. Make sure you only pull your right arm as far as is comfortable. When I first did this I wasn’t able to pull it more than a few inches behind me and that was only after having done all of the other stretches first. My shoulders were really tight.

Now do the same thing but with the other side.

Hopefully these stretches will help you too.



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