Let's talk about my elbow

My right elbow hurts. Let me tell you about it.


I'll wait?

Go ahead.

No, seriously, go ahead and leave.

No, it won't hurt my feelings. I know you don't care about my elbow, and that you aren't going to read this blog post. Even if you clicked on this one, you got as far as the first line ("My right elbow hurts. Let me tell you about it.") and closed the tab on your browser, or hit MARK AS READ on your RSS feed.

That's OK.

My right elbow is of interest to me, but probably not to you. After all, repetitive motion injury isn't something you will ever have to worry about. After all, you're a writer, not a bricklayer. Or a tile setter.


My right elbow hurts from all the time I spend at the computer. It was exacerbated by the tile setting, but the primary cause is mousing and typing, scrolling and writing.

Yes, I've adjusted my chair height. I even bought a better chair and rearranged my desk setup to accomplish that bit of ergonomic optimization. Helped, but not enough.

I recently set up a standing desk, with an old laptop stacked atop some plastic trays. I use it for writing, leaving the desktop for online stuff, other work, e.mail, etc. The change has helped, but not enough.

In the mornings, I am heavily scented of spearmint and menthol, the consequence of liberal application of BenGay. This, along with naproxin, has made things tolerable.

However, today is a banner day.


Because today I bought a brace for my elbow. I'm wearing it now. A stretchy black contrivance of lycra, spandex, velcro and pixie dust, it's compressing my elbow as I type. It's holding in the warmth of the BenGay, and it's helping. My elbow hardly hurts at all.

Of course, I also feel like this is the first step on a downward slope toward AARP membership, buying a Buick, and the cost of prescription drugs being a major topic of my conversational repertoire, but that can't be helped.

Death and decay comes to us all. This is not the "start of the aging process". The aging process started the day I was born. Life is not a journey toward a destination, but simply a journey.


===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.


  1. I had some wrist pain about 20 yrs ago, brought on by a poorly-adjusted workspace. I wore a skating brace upside down (so the stiffener was above my hand), and made some adjustments, and haven't had a problem since.

    Good luck with the elbow. A laptop means you can easily mix up your positions, which is actually a good thing when it comes to RSI.

    1. Changing things around has been the best thing so far. I'm hopeful that once all the DIY stuff is behind me, I can give this a chance to really heal.

  2. I almost left when you suggested I should, but then decided you were daring me to stay. Always ready for a challenge I read on. Repetitive injury is quite common. Just wanted you to know you're not alone. I have it too but it's healing. I bet yours will too. I wore a brace for months and now I don. But I still sit at the computer and write. Chin up or elbow up - its not the grim reaper coming near!

  3. I had carpal tunnel syndrome, right wrist. I went through the release and it's been pretty much since. By good rights, I need to have the left one done too. BTW, this was when I was younger -- these kinds of injuries go with the territory, except for the very ergonomic types. You've not quite reached the point of no return. (P.S. LOVED the Emily Dickenson comic)

    1. Did you know that poem can be sung to the tune of Gilligan's Island? They're both in ballad meter. Try it:

      Because I could not stop for Death,
      He kindly stopped for me;
      The carriage held but just ourselves
      And Immortality.

      We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
      And I had put away
      My labor, and my leisure too,
      For his civility.

      We passed the school, where children strove
      At recess, in the ring;
      We passed the fields of gazing grain,
      We passed the setting sun.

      Or rather, he passed us;
      The dews grew quivering and chill,
      For only gossamer my gown,
      My tippet only tulle.

      We paused before a house that seemed
      A swelling of the ground;
      The roof was scarcely visible,
      The cornice but a mound.

      Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each
      Feels shorter than the day
      I first surmised the horses' heads
      Were toward eternity.

  4. Reminds me of that quote: "Happiness is good health and a bad memory."

    Sometimes I have knee trouble, really upsets me as I can't run for a while. Good luck with the strap!

    1. I used to wear a knee brace. For several years after being hit by a car while riding my bicycle, it felt like I had ground glass under my left kneecap. That eventually went away, but this feels different, because there was no single incident I can point to. Just... time.

  5. Tony, hope your elbow improves and that it's not like carpal tunnel, where the second the doc sees you they recommend surgery. I've been battling that for a while ... a nice taste of what arthritis will feel like. : ( Hysterical cartoon, btw. Feel better.

    1. I'm really hoping to avoid surgery. I'd guess that the next escalation would be cortisone injections.

      Good luck with your CT!

  6. Actually this is the best type of blog post, as it provides an opportunity for us to either discuss our own aches and pains, or offer advice and home remedies to you.

    I won't do either :-) But I do hope you won't need surgery!

  7. My right elbow is still hurting me for the same computer reasons. The support helps sometimes, on a brighter note my shoulder is getting better. ^__^

  8. Feel better, Tony! I never thought I would stand at the computer but all of these hours at the laptop are not helping the midsection, so here I stand. I'm turning 43 next month. AARP still feels like a long way away, but...



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