Small changes

Lately, my left shoulder has been pins-and-needles numb. The affected area extends from my shoulder blade to my elbow. It’s not painful, or even overly bothersome — just curious. I couldn’t figure out at first what could possibly be causing it. Onset was sudden, and no amount of wiggling or massaging it brought relief. It just went to sleep and didn’t wake up. It’s made me nervous about carrying my daughter; I haven’t lost sensation completely, but who’s to say I won’t?

Eventually, through trial and error plus some judicious Googling, I realized the tingling was the result of leaning on that elbow while I work. Apparently doing so brings on a repetitive stress response. Once I noticed it, I realized I’ve adopted this posture in front of the computer for years; the recent increase in my working hours called it to my attention.

I tried to fix the issue in the usual way — changing positions, rearranging my desk, adding a stretch routine. Nothing helped. The minute I let my guard down, I was slouch-leaning again. (Have I mentioned I have horrid posture in front of the computer? It’s atrocious. And apparently incurable.)

Then I lowered the left armrest on my chair to the lowest setting. Bingo. It’s now far too uncomfortable to lean. I won’t say I’m sitting straight, but I’m not resting my body weight on one elbow any more. And while the tingling isn’t gone, it’s improved. Just in a couple of hours.

Little things can have a large impact. And little changes can bring about huge improvements.

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