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Sunday, July 08, 2007

work related injuries...

Hi every one I just joined this blog recently and thought I’d make a post to introduce myself, probably best to check out my main blog awcomix if you are interested ;)

I also wanted to discuss work related injuries like RSI and Carpal tunnel syndrome.
Earlier this year I started getting pains in my hand wrist and forearms which at first I thought was RSI. A few weeks ago my physio re-diagnosed me with CTS. The treatments I’m doing now seem to be working and I’m hopeful that I’m on the road to recovery. I was just wondering what others experiences are with these things, ie,

-what problems you had,
-how have you dealt/overcome those problems
-and what effect has it had on your work and mental state?

I know it’s probably been discussed before on the blog but thought I’d ask all the same.

For me like I said it’s been a low level but constant pain in different areas of my drawing arm. I am currently wearing a brace at night to sleep and taking B6 supplements with some minor stretches.
At first this was a devastating thing to learn to deal with, having to take a break from drawing (and I was in a personal creative peak too) I’m now feeling a little better and hopefully that I will return to some sort of normal drawing activity in the near future.


At 9:29 PM, Blogger Marek Bennett said...

I like to think of this sort of affliction as an opportunity... Seriously, I'm not making light of it. My overactive imagination often has me wondering what I would do if I lost my drawing hand/arm/fingers to some bizarre mutilating accident, and I always end up deciding I would just modify my drawing style/side to accomodate. I know the artwork would still have to get out there, whether I was drawing left-handed, or with my feet or mouth, or whatever. The obstacle becomes a part of the process.

But for those tense muscles... RELAXATION is the key (just like my old piano teacher used to say).

At 12:23 AM, Blogger Anthony Woodward said...

A lot of people say this to me and it's something I thought myself before this happened. But 'loss of use', and 'pain from use' are two different things. And I'm not about to start drawing with my mouth or feet ;)
But yes I have changed my creative outlets somewhat, as a little typing doesn't seem to hurt, and I'm sure a bit of good old cut and past collage would be less
strenuous as well.
Also as I don't expect this to be a permanent condition I'm hopeful I can go back to my old ways somewhat.

At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I came across this blog some time ago, but never commented. For more than a year now, I've had tendonitis/CTS/RSI from computer work, mainly from the mouse (but typing doesn't help). I was able to get a tablet to replace the mouse, which has reduced the pain to a bearable soreness in my elbow/upper forearm, but it never seems to go away even if I stay off the computer for a week. If I try to draw, my arm usually starts hurting very quickly, especially during inking.

It has been extremely frustrating for me, because I don't want to take painkillers or get shots if it's only going to mask the problem and not solve it. It's made me pretty depressed, because work isn't the most exciting for me (but is absolutely necessary) and drawing after work was my creative release. I tried going to the gym to exercise and try to strengthen the arm, but I keep overdoing it and go home worse than before.

What type of treatments are you doing? And was the CTS just from drawing?

At 10:58 PM, Blogger Anthony Woodward said...

Hi Anonymous, not sure if you're still interested in information (as I'm not sure when you posted your reply) Strangely enough but also fortunately enough, I was able to see a great physiotherapist who pinpointed the problem to nerves in my neck that where referring the pain into my wrist hand and arm. After starting a course of stretches to help relieve the tension in that area the pain subsided and I was able to draw again; This was after six months of pain frustration and not being able to draw.

I guess the problem came from both drawing and computer use combined. One thing I think really helps is being the correct height so your arm is level with the desk/table and having enough space to move the mouse so you movement aren’t constricted

A big problem was that my first physiotherapist was trying to treat the muscles in my arm and was getting nowhere. I would recommend looking into if the problem is indeed stemming from another place and being referred into your arm. It sounds like it may be the case as the pains in your elbow and arm sound like the ones I had.

My arm still bugs me from time to time if I don’t keep up my stretches and my physio therapist says that it may just be that I have to maintain the stretching indefinitely.

Dave Kellet who does the webcomic Sheldon described a similar problem. He was told had the name, "Costal Clavicular Syndrome".

One thing I did learn from having it though is that reading stuff on the net will only serve to freak you out. Best thing to do is find a good physiotherapist who can help, it may take over 5 sessions and cost you some money but it is worth figuring out what the problem is.

Good luck!

At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Cindie Guevara said...

It’s been years since your post. How is your arm now? Were you able to return to your work? I do hope that you are doing well these days. I understand your feelings. It is a little bit hard to cope with this kind of situation, especially if you are at the peak of your career. My advice is to follow the doctor’s order so you can make a fast recovery. On the legal side, my suggestion is to keep all your papers and documentations with you for legal purposes.


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