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Sam North
'you will get neck pain, loss of balance, lateral headaches, shoulder, arm, head pain and muscle spasms...'

The pain was pretty bad in my hand, neck and shoulders -it still is. I was sat feeling pretty sorry for myself in the waiting room of the chiropractor with the words ‘You are old Father William echoing in my ear in the sarcastic tone of my ex, whose sympathetic '‘well what do you expect at your age’ still fill me with dread.

So just as I was thinking that RSI - 'repetitive strain injury' is age specific and I risk having to give up writing and just about everything, a child entered with her father.

The girl was about nine, the father looked young as well and began reading through the leaflets on RSI and backpain. He couldn’t have been more than 35 and I felt sorry for him that he had these troubles so early in life, when they called out the girls name. I was astonished.
This cute nine year old girl was in as much pain as myself. How is that possible?

“It began with Pokemon,’ her father told me, “she wanted to be better than her brother's and then she was onto a different game every week, swapping them at school. Now she can hardly lift a pen and she can’’t sleep, her shoulders have seized up and she cries at the slightest thing.”

Well aside from he fact that it made me feel a bit better about my own injuries, it is a sobering thought that there must be millions of kids all over the world as obsessive as this child and are they all going to have these problems? How common is it? How many adults are like me now, conscious of pain all the time.

Does resting help? Well I took two weeks off editing Hacks and felt better for it, but the very moment I started to use the mouse again the pain returned and even writing by hand hurts.
It is easy for the chiropractor to tell me to cut out coffee, but what do you tell a child to give up, milk and cookies?

It might be that in the future that speech recognition software will be perfected and as in Star Trek we shall speak to the computer and it will closely resemble what we say. (It truly doesn’t right now). It might be that employers will be forced to provide safe ergonomic workstations. (In the USA I am sure this happens but it hasn’t caught on in education establishment in the UK for sure).

I could learn short cuts, but I have a number/symbol dyslexia. I just cannot remember numbers or symbols. I have to look up my friends phone numbers everytime, some I have been calling for decades. It’s an inconvenience rather than disability. I could learn to use my left hand maybe, but I don’t ‘think’ with my left hand, if that makes sense.

I wanted to talk to the kid when she came out of her session, but she was crying, probably because she’d discovered there was no quick fix for this. I could have told her that it isn’t the end of the world. She could pick up a book and interact with the characters in them and have a terrific and exciting time; but that is something she would have to find out for herself.

So what can I do? aside form giving up coffee (as if).
I am told I am Category 11.
It’s when ligaments in the pelvis stretch and tear the sacro-iliac joint separators and the sacram slips on one side. The spine then becomes imbalanced, the vertebrae of the spine becomes misaligned. Thus you will get neck pain, loss of balance, lateral headaches, shoulder, arm, head pain and muscle spasm.

Well hello- yes. I get all of the above. Do I win anything?

The advice is :
Give up alcohol, caffeine and sugar. The three main food groups.

God I already don’t smoke, drinking is limited to a about three glasses of wine a week and I have two lattes a day. Give up that and what is left exactly? It’s enough to drive you to drink. Oh yes, the one thing you shouldn’t do is take lots of pills for the headaches and guess what, you get a lot of headaches. Actually I had a scare two weeks ago when after around four paracetamols I began to bleed. It’s stuff like that which drove me to the chiropractor. As they say, if you don’t look after your health, your body won’t look after you.

If you know a child who is obsessed with computer games, or an adult who is overworking on their web site or designs and they are experiencing sleeplessness and pain, help them, they won’t help themselves until it’s way too late. When the pain comes it is already too late, make them get a life now.

I am not sure how quickly I’ll get better. but I do want to get better.
In October I am planning to go to somewhere warm for two weeks in the USA and with luck I can tie it in with promoting my new novel somewhere. It helped me last time, just swimming and walking in the Florida sun, maybe it will again, but I haven’t decided where to go yet. I’ll let you know.

© Sam North 2001

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