My dad is left handed. When he was in elementary school, it was frowned upon to use your left hand for writing. Teachers would force him to put the pencil in his right hand even though it felt awkward to him. For some reason, they believed you chose your dominant hand as opposed to it being predetermined. It did eventually serve a useful purpose for him, though. He severed a tendon in an accident while at work. He had surgery and his left hand was in a cast for weeks. The company gave him a temporary position that required a great deal of writing which he had to do with his right hand.
My husband, on the other hand (pun intended), is ambidextrous. He writes with his right hand, but does a lot of other things with his left. He plays sports left handed (except golf) and uses tools left handed. With scissors and knives, he uses his right. Interesting, huh?
Back to me. Like I said, my left hand is my stupid hand, but it was never an issue until recently when my right hand started to give me problems. At first, it was a little achy if I was using it a lot. Sometimes it felt stiff in the morning or sore at night. I chalked it up to the onset of arthritis and took ibuprofen for the pain. It helped, so I figured it was just something I had to learn to live with. Around Christmastime, I started to have problems gripping things and my hand was so sore that I couldn't make a fist. Soon after, the pain in my hand was waking me up in the middle of the night. A few times, it felt like the circulation had been cut off and I was afraid to look at it for fear that it would be dusky. I was beginning to lose function in my hand.
To shorten an already long story, it turns out that I don't have arthritis, I have carpal tunnel syndrome. I caught it early enough that it appears I will have no lasting problems. To alleviate the symptoms, I have been wearing a wrist brace to keep my wrist in a neutral position. For the time being, I am wearing it during the day as well as at night and removing it only when I will be getting my hand wet. In time, I will be able to switch to wearing it only at night and then, eventually, I won't need it at all if my symptoms subside.
The reason I'm telling you this story is that it can be easy to attribute hand and wrist pain to a number of other things. Anyone who does a lot typing can be at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome, so that includes my blogging friends. If you are experiencing pain, tingling or numbness in your hand, fingers and/or wrist, don't ignore it. If it is, indeed, carpal tunnel syndrome, permanent nerve damage can occur if it is left untreated (click here to see the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome). It's been less than a week since I started wearing the brace, and it's made a huge difference for me. I haven't had any pain and I have full use of my hand again.