This whole arm problem is really starting to get to me now. The constant pain is just exhausting. Whilst the physiotherapy and acupuncture have improved the tennis elbow symptoms, it seems those symptoms were disguising other elbow pain. It feels like I’m taking one step forward and two steps back. On the plus side, I am getting to be a dab hand at ‘mousing’ with my left hand. To avoid having a similar problem with my left arm, I’ve purchased an ergonomic left-handed mouse. Aside from having to switch around the left and right buttons to be the same as a right-handed mouse, it’s been really easy and comfortable to use.
Anyway, I’ve really been missing crafting and crafting is one of the things I would do to de-stress. I figured that not crafting hasn’t improved my arm situation so I may as well do a bit and de-stress myself. A large box of Stampin’ Up! goodies was delivered this week and I was keen to get playing with some new stuff. I was conscious that I didn’t want to be doing too much and making my arm lots worse so I went for a simple, quick festive project – a Christmas tree garland.
I used a new set from the Autumn/Winter catalogue, Perfectly Plaid with the matching tree punch.
I cut a 2½” strip each of real red, old olive and thick whisper white card. This was enough for 6 trees of each colour. After using my Embossing Buddy, I stamped one of the trees with Versamark, applied gold embossing powder and heat set it. I then punched the trees out.
Using glue dots, I attached each tree to a length of ribbon, spacing the trees about 2½” apart.
The finished garland is about 1.1m long but could easily be extended either by increasing the spacing or making more trees. I’ve attached this one to our mantlepiece but it’d also look great in place of ribbon on a gift. This was a quick little project which took me about 20 minutes and it satisfied my crafting mojo.
A major contributing factor to my recent arm problems have been using a computer mouse at work. Admittedly, my mouse technique may have some room for improvement but a quick Google search for “computer elbow pain” reveals that ‘computer elbow’ is a thing. Symptoms are the same as tennis or golfer’s elbow, or if you’re really unfortunate, both simultaneously. I’m really unfortunate! I had heard of these two conditions but had no idea how painful they are – until now. The problem is typically caused by the repeated small, gripping movements needed when holding the mouse coupled with holding the arm in a fixed position for extended periods, often quite unconsciously. Adding to the problem is that using a conventional mouse twists the arm 90° from its natural resting position which puts further strain on the muscles and tendons in the forearm.
I am in no way a medical professional but I have read a lot recently in an attempt to help myself to a) understand what’s going on inside my arm, b) recover and c) prevent a repeat of the problem. I’ve also started using my left hand for ‘mousing’ so I’m keen not to replicate the problems of my right arm in my left. An ergonomic vertical mouse seems to be the recommendation to alleviate this problem as but this isn’t a possibility at work as our mice and software in the Ops Room are not straightforward to change. This prompted me to get my thinking cap on for how to make my own portable ergonomic mouse station. More on that project next week.
My other problem was flexing my wrist to use the mouse. Many mouse mats come with an elevated wrist support so I thought I’d make a support to see if it helps. There seems to be mixed opinions regarding whether they cause more harm than good but I thought I’d try one out anyway. The main advantage I could see was that my hand would be naturally positioned over the top of the mouse and keep my wrist straight.
I started with a rectangle of fabric, folded it in half and sewed around the cut edges, leaving a gap on the long edge for stuffing.
The wrist home-made wrist supports I saw online were more of a flat cushion but as I wanted some height, I boxed the corners.
I filled it with polystyrene beads rather than rice to make it less hard as that appeared to be one of the main negative points relating to wrist supports.
If you’ve ever used polystyrene beads, you’ll know the challenge they present. They are massively affected by static so stick to EVERYTHING!!!
Once I’d wrestled enough beads into the cushion, I pinned the gap and closed with a ladder stitch.
The finished cushion elevates my wrist by about one inch and I’ve found it to be the perfect height for me. It keeps my wrist straight and it’s very comfortable.