Have your wrists or arms or shoulders ever ached after several hours at the computer? Have you ever gone to get medical help with some sort of pain and told you had an “overuse” injury. The problem here is repetitive use of the same muscles and joints in the same way- and that is bound to take its toll. And to top things off, the more we do the same thing the same way, the more those patterns get grooved into our brains and alternatives become more challenging. What’s a person to do?
The answer is variation. When you start to feel any discomfort start really paying attention to how you are doing what you are doing. What small or possibly big change can you make? Does that help at all? After that, see if you can find still another way.
Here is a little exercise in variation that I give to folks who have pain when using a computer mouse. A lot of people choose the option of moving their wrists a lot. Since these are relatively small joints, those folks often develop pain.
As an alternative experiment, while keeping your wrist still move your whole arm from the shoulder. This is probably comfortable most and for a longer period than a lot of wrist action, but still you should have other choices.
Here is one that I doubt many of you have tried. Keep your wrist and arm still and move the mouse by shifting your whole trunk. At first it probably seems awkward, but with practice it becomes an option for a little variety during a long computer stint.
Now it is your turn. Choose and activity that you do fairly often and come up with three ways of doing it. The variations don’t have to be huge.
Back in the early 1980s when Moshe Feldenkrais was training future practitioners of his method he said that if we have only one way to do something, it is a compulsion, two presents a dilemma, and we need three ways to really have choice. He challenged his students to come up with up to 100 ways to roll from their back onto their right side!
As I have mentioned in other posts Moshe Feldenkrais used movement as a vehicle and his work can be very successful in addressing movement related problems. However beyond movement he was really interested in all aspects of human potential. So next time you feel stuck in any way, see if you can find “another way”.
Here is a link to an inspirational story about the power of variation.