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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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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?
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.
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.