Wrist exercises for relief and prevention - my personal recommendations

4:53 PM, Monday September 18th 2023

Speaking of exercises in the Lesson 1 critique I got (https://drawabox.com/community/submission/Q54LB9LZ), here are some wrist stretches that personally helped me with my wrist tendinitis. I actually got immediate relief from some of these, and since I've started about 2 years ago, relapses seem to happen less and less and last a gradually smaller amount of time (just had a relapse 2 days ago and it was gone in 1.5 days), so I hope they help someone here as well:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLjtSyuE11I

https://youtu.be/cOcRxCzVzYA?si=jyqAKYEYOUGZY0Ic

https://youtu.be/hUyMNyrOHJQ?si=9zjgN212yr4UbXOb

https://youtu.be/fdD7CgN5FGg?si=o3OIJvXcQH3JPs87

I do these (I chose several that helped me the most) multiple times per day, usually before/after workouts, during brushing teeth (recommend for fellow ADHDers lol), before hopping into bed, after waking up etc. all depending on how much I've strained them, how much I plan to strain them or if the tendinitis relapses.

2 users agree
7:03 PM, Monday September 18th 2023

I appreciate the links! I will definitely be working these into my routine.

Your lesson 1 submission looks really solid. Best of luck on the 250box challenge. Don't burn yourself out on it. Be sure to keep up with the 50% rule.

3:06 PM, Thursday September 21st 2023

Happy to help! There's a lot more of these on YouTube, in case you'd like to try more or they don't feel effective/relieving.

Thank you so much! Yeah that's gonna be the hardest part of the challenge ngl, time to play around with my drawing routine.

2 users agree
2:18 PM, Friday September 22nd 2023

Thank you for the links. I've recently started wrist stretches. From what I hear, carpal tunnel is no joke.

Since you mentioned ADHD, how do you go about drawing? I mean with motivation and such. Do you just force yourself? Do you schedule it? For myself, I've had a time trying to get myself doing the lessons (I think I spent 7 months on lesson 1), as well as the 50% rule. I know in my head it's benefitial, but that doesn't just turn on motivation (Well, sometimes). Most of the drawing I've been doing recently is from hyperfixation, so I'm trying to prepare myself for when it goes away. I have read the ADHD post from lesson 0, but I also want to hear from other people. This is also the first time I've done any sort of discussion on this site, so I thought that this would be a good excuse to talk.

10:49 AM, Saturday October 14th 2023

No worries! How are your wrist stretches going? As I've mentioned in a reply above, I've been doing these for 3 weeks now before, after and during each drawing session and it's such a game changer! A few minutes of stretches is so much better than having a forced break due to a painful wrist or two.

As for ADHD, oh it's been a huge and prickly journey of trial and error (2 years since I found out that I have it). I can see improvement in the long run but boy, it's like juggling thousands of tasks in my head. I have a therapist, psychiatrist and I'm on medications which all substantially contribute to my potential success by easing the mind struggle, decreasing the amount of effort/energy needed to complete a task and constantly reminding me that I have ADHD and that I have to keep going. Without any of these it'd be much much worse, as I've "tested out" when Concerta wasn't available in the pharmacy or when I forgot to order a therapy session for half a year. Of course, everyone's different, some don't need to have all this support or any at all, though I do believe this is a great starting point to ease oneself into finding one's own way of functioning. To me, ADHD is like trying to swim with only 1-2 limbs, and getting therapy/meds grants one 1 or 2 additional limbs, meaning that one can swim just as well as non-ADHD people but one has to put in so much more effort and energy that there's no energy left for matters outside of "catching up to one's environment" and it doesn't even last that long before burnout or breaking down.

I've been battling with my to-do list for over a year now and it's been so chaotic ngl, I have to keep updating my way of using it because my brain keeps finding out how to make it backfire. By changing the method often, my brain can't catch up as quickly. I'm using 3 lists actually - 1 for events/visits/appointments (Google Calendar), 1 for the most basic and mundane tasks like drinking enough water, brushing my teeth, taking meds, house chores, waking up/going to bed on time etc. (it's a phone app called Finch, not a sponsor but it's been the best one so far, gamified but also has enough customizations of tasks), and 1 for improving my daily routine and figuring out which tasks are of the highest priority and which are not (a small notebook where I write it down with my own hands, I divide a day into 3 priority collumns and add tasks like exercise/stretching, specific chores that I have to do now, art tasks (now it's 1-2hr of Drawabox and 1hr of gesture studies and 1hr of art for myself), studies (learning Japanese now, researching ADHD through books or articles, learning new things like whistling or recipes or more efficient folding of clothes etc., it's great for improving my lacking everyday life skills and by tackling it like a new thing to learn, my brain latches on for the novelty and addiction to learning any new skills that it learns fast). I'm currently trying to divide the tasks by time, at least into AM or PM, but to no use haha, that will take longer than months to sink in. Also I should mention that even when I tackle something and automatize it into my daily routine, there'll still be plenty of days where I forget or don't have the executive function or energy to commit to it. Next, by incorporating a new task/activity/habit into my routine, I often lose 1-3 previous ones - for example, I've recently finally gotten into the routine of drawing daily after months of no drawing at all, but I immediately lost the ability to wake up and get into bed early enough + I'm not working out as often. Overall I can veeery slowly take on more and more tasks, but I keep having drawbacks and urges to give up, for which I use CBT tactics that help most of the times. I also literally have no time for anything else, I actually stopped using social media for 2 months now (except for forums like these where there's no doomscrolling and only used to find or share information), including texting with friends and I STILL don't have nearly enough time or energy to do all the high priority tasks. It's a constant game of trying to find the right balance, forgiving oneself for the very frequent mistakes, and persisting, persisting, persisting. For these areas I view myself and my brain as a test subject so that I can better observe my thoughts and actions haha.

So I'd recommend to keep trying new methods, even the smallest changes can have a big impact, gamifying as much as you can (make it fun), keep going but accepting that you sometimes can't, balancing it out with resting time (I often rest better by doing fun activities than by lying around where my hyperactivity screams for attention, so it's good to know what are your best relaxing activities) and keep researching and finding new experiences or information to add into your own set of techniques.

That said, this is what's been working for me. I hope this gives you some insight and tips for your own journey and I'm wishing you all the luck and executive function you need!

1 users agree
1:42 PM, Friday September 22nd 2023
edited at 1:43 PM, Sep 22nd 2023

I'm sorry to hear of your pain due to drawing. I know all our bodies are a bit different and have different strengths and weakness, but I don't remember having had wrist pain from a lot of drawing for the last 4 years (now, computer mouse and keyboard usage is a different story :) ). How do you hold your pencil/pen and how tightly? Your grip should be rather relaxed (avoid the death grip!). Do you draw a lot with your fingers and wrist? For detailed work this is necessary, but for bigger parts of your work such as gesture, long lines, ellipses, etc. try locking your wrist and moving your whole arm including from the elbow and shoulder. I do recall getting shoulder and general arm fatigue, but with consistent daily usage my arm adapted and got used to it. How big do you draw? The smaller you make your drawings, the more tiny detail work you'll have to do.

I'm no doctor, but to compensate for the huge amount of computer work I do, I've been regularly using the Powerball most mornings for a few weeks; I think it has helped. I'll also occasionally do some extensor exercises to try to re-balance the forearm muscles for carpal tunnel discomfort. Also on the computer side of things, I recently switched my mouse usage to my non-dominant hand to give my right hand a rest. I do still have wrist issues due to high computer usage.

edited at 1:43 PM, Sep 22nd 2023
9:29 PM, Sunday September 24th 2023

Oh sorry I didn't elaborate on the source of the pain. My best guess is that it's a combination of many factors, especially these:

1 - broke my left arm (around the elbow) as a kid and didn't have it in a cast so it's very crooked and although a specialist said it's just a cosmetic issue, I beg to differ because in some specific exercises/movements, it's not smooth or in the worst case I can't do the movement (I can't do push-ups, every other exercise is do-able except for this, it's like my left wrist/elbow just blocks the movement)

2 - as a teen I played a lot of volleyball for a couple years which is one of the worst sports regarding injuries, literally all of my colleagues had at least 1 long-term injury (hand/wrist/feet/ankle) so I'm surprised I don't have one but my fingers are significantly more crooked and it definitely strained my arms in general

3 - I've been playing on the guitar for over 10 years and during those 1st 8 years I spent all of my free time practicing, which is also a huge strain on the left hand, and after like 5 years the wrist pains started so this was probably the last straw lol

4 - Even though I started drawing seriously/more often only after the pain started, I have struggled with holding my pen wrong (as a kid I self-learned to hold it very tightly between my middle and ring finger) but thanks to taking it seriously and researching, I've learned to hold it in a more sustainable and efficient way (otherwise I wouldn't be able to control the pressure) so I don't think it's a factor anymore

Regarding what I use when drawing in various ways, I do both large and small (from 1:1 paper for figure drawing for uni up to A5 sketchbooks), use my whole arm (though with Drawabox I'm learning to use my whole arm for smaller scaled strokes and on a desktop instead of an easel for life drawing) up to the fingers, use the writing grip mostly and the overhand grip for larger/smoother lines or curves.

Oh we do have a powerball in the house, haven't used it yet but I'll give it a go to see if it adds more support! As for PC usage, I do spend a lot of time on it, but I've never had any issues so far, except for exam season where I'm writing a ton of notes or an essay/thesis for which I arm myself with multiple braces, definitely recommend if one can't exactly afford to rest, it's doable in the short term.

I only have a gel mousepad and rest my arms a lot as my chair's arm rests are at an ideal level when using a keyboard (in the under-the-desk drawer) but in the near future I'm definitely gonna buy a vertical mouse and I do dream of training my non-dominant hand to write and draw.

Thank you for all your points and tips, it's always a plus to know more and be more aware of things one already does.

4:56 PM, Tuesday October 10th 2023
edited at 4:57 PM, Oct 10th 2023

Wow, what an injurious past XD Sorry to hear about your broken arm. I also have a slightly crooked finger from volleyball. I really enjoy the overhand grip for drawing with pencil. Yay for the Powerball; I'm glad you have access to one.

You're welcome. I wish you the best going forward.

edited at 4:57 PM, Oct 10th 2023
9:47 AM, Saturday October 14th 2023

Right? xD And I'm lucky I have really fast reflexes otherwise it would be like 10x worst lol. Yayy welcome to the club of volleyball fingers!

I also love using the grip with charcoal and chalk, and I also have a really thick 8B pencil that's a great middle ground between a pencil and charcoal, I don't really use it nowadays but back when I was starting to draw seriously, it was an excellent tool for omitting the details and rather focusing on the essential features of a given reference, especially when unsharpened.

Btw I've been doing wrist/arm/body warmups and stretches before and after (and a few in the middle of) every drawing session for the past 3 weeks and it's helped me immensely, I can't recommend it enough!

Thank you and I wish you the same!

10:44 AM, Sunday October 15th 2023

So I just watched your video with the CT extensor exercises (took my time, huh) and I wanted to thank you! His explanation of what's happening (especially the connection with the neck) is even better than in my videos, or at least I understand it better, and his take on why braces are not supposed to be used in these cases assure me that my avoiding of using it (for more than 24 hrs) is correct.

For everyone else here, I recommend watching and trying multiple types of these exercises/relief methods from these videos and find the right combination for you.

5:43 PM, Tuesday October 17th 2023

You're welcome, Malcress.

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