Created: 05 Jan 2016 at 08:10 AM

Writers’ Occupational Diseases

Writers’ diseases

Occupational diseases are diseases that affect workers such as writers by being in a particular profession. There are many writers’ diseases based on the nature of work done by the writer. Importantly, writers suffer illnesses that originate from the wrong use of the tools of work, and in this regard, improper use of a computer. Indeed, its use is inseparable from the life of a writer. You probably often spend your entire day in front of the screen. It is, therefore, essential that you do a health check once in a while. Writers’ diseases are numerous, and most are contained in an umbrella of disorders referred to as ergonomic disorders. Accordingly, as a writer, you may experience some of the following writers’ diseases.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

As a full-time writer, you often experience muscle soreness resulting from muscle fatigue. You probably have noticed that after a long day writing, you experience back pains, numbness in the arms, fingers, and wrist, pain in the shoulders and feet, etc. These problems happen to you as a consequence of dangerous writing techniques. In fact, when you use your computer during your writing activity in the wrong posture, your may end up straining your muscles leading to these problems presenting themselves in the form of pains. Indeed, when you sit on an uncomfortable chair when writing, perform continuous repetitive movements with your body or you use the wrong sitting posture, you will develop musculoskeletal disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (Median neuritis)

Many writers have suffered this disease. If you have this condition, your hands and wrists are usually very painful. The hands may feel numb and tingly, and the pain is most excruciating at night when you are trying to sleep. The disorder results from the damaging of the median nerve by repetitive tasks involving wrist movement. In most severe cases, you may not be able to perform even the simplest activities such as lifting a towel. Continuous repetitive activity with the hands and wrists, awkward posture and typing with bent wrists are all predisposing factors to cause the carpal tunnel syndrome.

Tendon Disorders (Tendinitis, Epicondylitis, Stenosing tenosynovitis, Ganglionic cysts, etc.)

All these are conditions that affect your tendons if they tear and wear from repetitive motions of the upper limbs and sometimes continuous sitting. The disease results from the fatigue of muscles either through wrong sitting posture, repetitive movements, inappropriate chairs not capable of evenly support the weight of the body in a balanced manner, etc. most of the wrong sitting postures results to excessive pressure on the spine, neck, shoulder and back pains, etc.

Other Repetitive Stress Injuries

If you experience pain in your neck, shoulder, to the fingers, you may be suffering from repetitive stress injury. With the flexibility that writing presents, you often find yourself working from awkward places and awkward positions. As a result, you may feel pain, swelling or stiffness in certain parts of the body from using awkward positions as you write. For example, using a dangerous writing technique such as twisting the wrist as you type in a particular method may cause stress on the wrist and result in severe pain. In fact, many writers suffer from the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome due to repetitive stress injury of the median nerve that serves the forearm muscles.

Eye and Vision Disorders

Due to the nature of your occupation as a writer, you may suffer from computer vision syndrome. This disease results from steady gaze at the computer screen without blinking resulting in drying eyes. The eye power is also affected leading to the need for vision correction. Other disorders of the eyes include asthenopia (eye strain), blurred vision, itchy eyes, problems with color identification, headaches, etc. The predisposing factors of these eye and vision problems include glare on the computer screen, flickering images and characters on the screen, subtle characters that cause a strain while reading, too bright light, being too close to the computer screen or too far, stress, etc.


As a writer, experiencing headaches and migraines may be an everyday experience. This is typically caused by increased tension of the muscles at the base of the skull and the neck, stressful workloads, and prolonged computer use leading to poor eyesight and consequently, headaches.


Several scientific studies have demonstrated that occupations relating to prolonged and continuous use of computers are a contributing factor in obesity. Unfortunately, one of the disadvantages of writing profession is that you have to spend extended periods of time seated as your mind is engaged in the thinking process. As a result, the body does not get enough exercise. Therefore, you are more at risk of accumulating weight leading to obesity.

Stress and Depression Disorders

Many writers have to deal with different environmental factors that result in stress. Such factors include prolonged computer use, reduced exercise, excess workload, complicated writing work, dealing with deadlines, ill health, etc. As a result, you are always under mental pressure and most of the time you uphold the stress. As a consequence, your body becomes susceptible to other health issues, some that are mentioned above, from suppressing the stress. Other writers’ disease that may result from stress includes loss of concentration and memory, weariness and drowsiness. Stress is also known to cause physiological changes in the body and may even trigger heart conditions, ulcers, headaches, hypertension, etc., by altering the hormone balance in the body.

As a writer, you can prevent these conditions along with other occupational disorders through significant changes in how you conduct the writing activities. For example, you can promote a good sitting posture by placing the computer at the eye level or below it, sit with your feet and back at ninety degrees with the ground, and having the hands lower than your elbows as your type in your computer. Additionally, you can combine these changes with taking ten minutes break once in a while to give your muscles room to relax. What you achieve by doing these changes is reduced straining in your body, leading to reduced fatigue on your muscles and consequently, better health while working.

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