Thursday, January 31, 2013

Online research can be a pain in the neck... literally

After months of only using my computer sporadically for email and catching up with friends on facebook, yesterday's endeavor to organize one ancestor's documentation and draft a timeline caused my neck to begin stiffening up toward the evening.

That is how it always starts. And if I ignore it and continue on like this for a few more days, one morning I will wake up, turn my head, and hear that familiar crack as pain radiates from my neck to my extremities. It's happened before. Several times.

Sitting in front of the computer for hours on end, every day for days on end, whether working or researching, it always happens to me if I don't force myself to take breaks. The eye strain headaches are bad enough, but a compressed nerve realigns your priorities with early morning shock therapy treatments.

I have strategies for bringing the pain of a compressed nerve down to a bearable level. A hot shower on fire hose setting directed at the source of the pain does wonders for up to 30 minutes. Ibuprofen. Alternating heat for circulation, and cold packs for numbing.

But that first initial lightning strike through my nervous system when I take my first step in the morning... that special kind of hell is still fresh in my mind despite the fact that it's been about two years since the last time it happened.

So the logical thing to do here, of course, is pace myself and take regular breaks. I know it's going to slow down my progress, and I may not even have my outline done before the Family History Writing Challenge is over. But I'm setting a timer on my phone for 30 minutes every time I sit down at the computer.

And there it goes now. Time to do some laundry.

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