Monday, June 8, 2020

When Health in Writers Who Speak Interferes with Technology

by Yvonne Ortega @YvonneOrtega1

As writers who speak, we constantly use technology. However, that reliance on computers and related equipment can become a health hazard. 

1. First, long periods on electronic devices can cause pain in our hands and arms.
If we delay professional help, we may end up with permanent damage to the hands and muscles wasting.

When I taught secondary school full-time, I bought a new laptop. Mama gave me educational software programs for my birthday. I spent the following Friday evening and all-day Saturday making puzzles, bingo vocabulary games, and flashcards. By Sunday, my hands throbbed. A teacher friend told me about homemade carrot juice with organic carrots and Granny Smith apples. Daily use of that remedy took away the pain.

I learned to take short breaks every thirty-to-forty-five minutes. I set a timer to remember to do so. Otherwise, I focused on my project and forgot.

We can use an ergonomic foam rest for the wrists and an ergonomic mouse for our hands.

2. Second, arthritis means we can’t sit for long.
That arthritis can be in the neck, shoulders, back, hip, or knees. Maybe you didn’t fully recovery from surgery. You may alternate between a stand-up computer table and a desk. Perhaps you have neither the space nor the budget to purchase a height-adjustable mobile table or stand. Alternate between a desk or table and the kitchen counter until mealtime. Also, use adjustable mounted or portable supports for phones and tablets. 

Stay as mobile as you can to avoid stiffness. Set a timer for short breaks as you would for your arms and hands. Do a few stretches. Walk around your home with a goal of a specific number of steps and stretches a day. You can find easy ones on a physical therapy site or on YouTube. I enjoy dancing, especially Hispanic dances. A cha cha cha, rhumba, or salsa will light up my spirit and my face. 

3. Third, eye problems may show up at any age.
Eye dryness is one of those problems. Too much time on our electronic tools, and we may rub our eyes to ease the itchiness. A low-cost intermediate solution is saline eye drops from the drugstore. If symptoms persist, see an ophthalmologist for a diagnosis and treatment. You could develop styes or clogged eye glands that become infected. The latter may mean no time or restricted time on electronics for a couple of weeks or longer.

An electronic device may become our lunch spot as we meet with an online writing or critique group. We have also substituted virtual interviews and events for live ones. We meet on cell phones, Crowdcast, Skype, Vimeo, Zoom, and the like. Many writers and speakers conferences have moved online. 

And yet, our eyes need a rest to avoid eye strain and eye pain. Every twenty minutes, we can look twenty feet away from the screen for twenty seconds. Your eye doctor may refer to that step as the 20-20-20 exercise. 

Bottom Line
When health in writers who speak interferes with technology, we need to take care of our health because
  • Long periods on electronic devices can cause pain in wrists and arms.
  • Arthritis means we can’t sit for long.
  • Eye problems can show up at any age.

Take care of your health, because no one else can do that for you.


Yvonne Ortega walks with a small footprint but leaves a giant imprint in people’s lives. This power-packed package is a professional speaker and the author of the Moving from Broken to Beautiful® Series through cancer, divorce, forgiveness, and loss. Learn more at

Yvonne speaks with honesty and humor as she shares her life and struggles through presentations that empower women to find peace, power, and purpose through God’s Word. 

Yvonne’s background as a licensed professional counselor brings a unique perspective into the heart of women. She’s a speaking and writing coach and the owner of Moving from Broken to Beautiful®, LLC. She belongs to the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, the Christian Authors Network, the National Speakers Association, and Toastmasters International.

She celebrates life at the beach, where she walks, builds sand castles, blows bubbles, and dances. 


  1. You're right on, Yvonne, with these health issues. I have pain in fingers, too, from typing. Thanks for you wonderful advice on dealing with these! Truly loved your message. Very good spoken words.

    1. Thank you, Diane T. Holmes. Please take good care of your fingers.

  2. Great information and reminders, Yvonne. For years I suffered from low back pain. After numerous tests and doctors appointments, my doctor said the pain was from sitting too long at the computer. After a few months of physical therapy and standing at the computer, my pain went away. I have been pain free for more than 5 years. I now alternate between sitting and standing.

    1. Thank you, Crystal Bowman. I'm thrilled to hear you've been pain-free now for more than five years. Continue to alternate between sitting and standing.

  3. Thank you for the reminder to take care of our health. Arthritis causes me to stiffen and hurt if I don't get up and move around. Being a writer causes me to sit at the computer for extended periods of time. I feel better when I take short breaks, get up and walk around. My eyes need rest, too. Hope you are feeling better Yvonne.

  4. You're welcome, Melissa Henderson. I'm sorry you have arthritis. Continue to take short breaks, get up, and walk around. Yes, Melissa, I am feeling better slowly but surely.