What can a writer do about physical pain?
First, understand that people who write either as a living or as a part of their jobs are particularly vulnerable to physical pain. That’s because when we write we tend to be alone with ourselves, our thoughts, and yes, our pain. In the very process of writing, we tend to eliminate the external distractions that could otherwise draw our attention away from our pain.
Another thing to understand is that writers are prime targets for a wide range of chronic physical problems that cause pain: carpal tunnel syndrome, neck and back issues and so on. These are typically caused by spending too much time sitting still in front of a computer, and from making the same movements again and again and again.
In other words, as writers we tend to have a lot of pain and that pain is difficult to ignore or escape.
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I’ve experienced acute pain in my left shoulder for a few months. The right shoulder hurt too but it was nothing compared to the other side. I used to massage my shoulders every night before I go to sleep. Even the tukang urut at mum’s kedai had a got at it several times, but the relief never lasted long.
By last week, the pain was bad enough I was willing to have the good sensei poke needles into my shoulder. Acupuncture needles they were. Being a blood donor, I have no problem with needles but I was still a bit nervous to have them on my back where I couldn’t see them. I think they stayed on me for a good half hour, with a far infrared light trained onto my shoulder for good measure.
The sensei then gave my shoulders a massage, and I still felt some pain in certain areas. It was at that time I heard him dragging a nearby tray full of glass cups. In less than five minutes, he had stuck one onto my back! I had planned to escape cupping but somehow ended up having to experience it for the first time.
After three days, the marks made by the cups have faded and the good thing is my shoulders are pain-free. May it stay that way for a while longer.