What to do when your body is wrecked from the repetitive stress movements of court reporting for 18 years...

So I'm at that point that my body is just about to give up from the physical stresses of cr'g for so long. Anybody else have this problem? I now dread going to a depo bc I know I'm going to be in pain all day while typing away. I've spent thousands of dollars on docs, chiropractors, stretch constantly, exercise, take advils, aleve, and I really don't think I can do it much longer at this pace. The pain and discomfort can bring me to tears.

I'm not sure what else to do. I've written a screenplay and some song lyrics. Gonna try to sell those, but of course that's fantasy land, and I have to be practical. I'm giving myself till the end of this year to make a change. Also I got to play a court reporter on a TV show last month that airs this summer. No speaking part, but it was a blast! I definitely want to pursue that some more.

But what really sux is court reporting is such good money. I live very comfortably now. I'm 41, single, no kids, good savings, but in order to make a career change, I have to move out of my expensive townhome.

Sorry for the long vent, but I'm wondering if anyone else is going through the same thing as me and what you did or are doing about it. Also maybe anyone have any suggestions on how to get rid of the pain?

Another thing... It really is gonna be hard to downsize and live in a crappy, probably tiny apartment again like I did when I was in my 20s, but I gotta make a change. No sugar daddy for me, no husband to fall back on. Tough times...

Thanks for listening :-)

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Michelle - I totally understand where you're coming from.  I put a pillow on my lap and rest my wrists on this pillow.  I use a wrist brace on my wrist and I also take Celebrex to get through the day.  I also make a very good income and am not ready to give it up.  I have also slowed down to only three days a week.  Can't take more than that.  Pace yourself and just take the jobs that are worth your while.  That's what I do.  I try not to get out of bed for less than 200 pages a day. 

If you want any other details, pics of my pillow, etc. email me at kellikellikay@aol.com and I'll help you any way I can.  I started having problems 13 years ago.  I've been reporting for 27 years.  That means it started right about when you're having problems and I have continued to do quite well with the help of  pillows and hand wrist brace and I get through the day.  Don't give up yet.  There are ways to help you.  Massage is also wonderful.

Thanks, Kelli! Great advice! Yes, I have the pillow thing to rest my hands on. It's really been a lifesaver. Things would be much worse without that pillow, even though I had to fight using it bc it looks, well, nerdy... It's one of those neck pillows for airline travel, and I plop it on my lap to rest my hands like you do. Definitely relieves some neck/shoulder strain. Also have a membership at Massage Envy and go pretty regularly. That's helped also. I've heard of Celebrex but can't remember what that's for. I'll check into that. That's awesome you have cut back to only working three days a week. It's been busy here lately, and I've been working Monday through Friday. I think I wrote nearly 800-900 pages last week, and I'm finding that's way too much for me now. God it sux getting older...

Thanks for the advice. :-)

Celebrex is an Anti-inflammatory and it makes the pain in my left arm/wrist go away so I can write all day.  Vioxx was even better, but can't get that anymore.  You'd be amazed how much the pain decreases; you almost forget you had a problem to begin with.

What about keeping your townhome and renting out a room (Craigslist, screened--reporters, reporting students)?  Do you have any clients?  Can you get some/more?  Government contracts?  What about running the business and let other reporters handle the writing?

Hi Amanda. I don't have any personal clients. I've never wanted to get into the production side of court reporting. Too much stress. Although I think now there's firms that will handle all that for you while keeping your client base. I think Clearinghouse cr's, or some name like that, will do that for you. Honestly, court reporting is getting boring and maddening for me. I don't like that I can't socially interact (talk like a real human being) while working and that I feel like a robot who's at the whim of workaholic attorneys that want to skip lunch breaks (or take a 15- or 20-minute lunch), give me 5-minute breaks, confined to the most Godawful office chairs that are so not ergonomic. I mean, really, how much rest can you get in a five-minute break? It's barely enough time to run to the restroom! I think I'm just burned out... Attorneys are grueling to work for... Of course, there's always the exception to the rule and some really nice ones, but for the most part, I find them to be workaholic, arrogant pricks. However, I've found that the more higher end the attorneys/firms are, the better they treat you.

About renting out the townhome, I currently rent, so I can't do that. My lease is up in December. I'm really thinking about moving closer to LA then and pursuing my artistic side and only doing court reporting maybe two times a week, acting and writing the other days. Really scary to make that jump though....

I sure hope any wannabe students aren't reading this and get discouraged from pursuing this field. All in all, it's been wonderful to me, and I'm blessed to have done it. Lived and worked in the Bahamas, Washington, D.C., NYC, Dallas, Austin, and now Cali, and made a good living doing it and made some awesome friends. And that's what's so great about this profession, that you can literally live/work anywhere, any English-speaking country, get work, make a good living, practically set your own hours and pace.

Maybe I'm just having a midlife crisis...

If you can swing it financially, I say pursue your artistic side and scale back on reporting.  I like Kelli's suggestion to only take the good jobs--if you're in the position, tell 'em high-end only.

Thanks, Amanda. Graeat advice from you all. I really appreciate it :-)

Well, here's my two cents after 37 years of reporting.  I cannot and do not take more than two full days in a row.  I go the the chiropractor regularly.  I had right wrist pain (though not a true carpal tunnel) in 1986 and acupuncture got rid of 90 percent of it.  But my right forearm muscles are always tight.  I actually made a square oblong black pillow form firm foam rubber I bought at at fabric store, covered it in black fabric and it's PERFECT to rest my forearms on while writing and I get almost no pain at all in the right arm or hand writing all day with it.  Finding a great chiro that knows how to adjust the upper T1 and 2/C7/first rib thoracic area is crucial because on me if any of those are not adjusted perfectly, then it refers down to my hands.  I get regular deep tissue massage when writing a lot.  I started back to the Bikram style hot yoga again and it's made a huge difference in my body paid.

Kelli, regarding the Celebrex and similar NSAIDs they are very hard on your intestines and kidneys when taken regularly.  Yes, I take them when needed to get through the day, but not all the time.   I find that diet plays the biggest roll in inflammation.  For me, no grains at all.  Lean protein and lots of veggies, no coffee or sugar.  Natural supplements for inflammation:  Tumeric, bromelain, devils claw (mostly for low back pain) double dose of acidophilus pearls, 2 to 3 good quality large fish oil capsules a day, coffee only once in a while (it's too acidic).  Now do I follow all this faithfully?  No.  But when I don't I clearly see the difference in my body pain.  Here's a new thing I've been trying, too, that really seems to help.  Look it up onlne:  Organic sulphur crystals.  But be picky about where you buy it from.  It's similar to MSM, but much stronger, purer and more effective.

I agree with the acupuncture.  I have only been suffering for a year and a half now pretty much constantly.  Been working 27 years, but had a heavy 2 months on a case and worked 7 days a week to keep up and it just slowly crept up until one night I laid in bed and went wholly >>>> everything hurt and tingled and burned and twitched.  It was only on my right side. I went to an acupuncturist and he got the burning and tingling and pain to go away almost completely, going regularly, but I was so tight in my neck and back and shoulders, that is what has been hard to get rid of...then it spread to my left side because I was compensating.  Anyway, I go to massage envy for deep tissue and stretch.  I was at a depo last week and my shoulder kept twitching....it was so distracting., but try acupuncture

Acupuncture and massage will not put the bones back into alignment.  They will only stop or reduce the muscle spasms and tight muscles temporarily and will keep you in alignment better, but sometimes you must see a chiro to get aligned.  And the great ones are few and far between.  I like chiros who practcice the Gonstead method because the seated neck adjustments they do for neck and lower back are the best!

What do you look for in a "good" acupunturist?


That's a tough one........a referral from someone is best.  There's a fair number of mediocre ones out there.


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