Hands typing on a keyboard with pain waves emanating from them.

Arthritic Hands and Talk To Text for Ankylosing Spondylitis

Last updated: May 2022

Over the past year, I have started experiencing more and more remarkably noticeable finger joint pain. I’ve always had a little bit of wrist pain, too, as I am a professional writer and spend a lot of time hunched over a keyboard, click-clacking through the day.

Recently, though, when my flare-ups are relentless, my hands will actually feel pain as well. The pain is deep-set, burrowed into the inside of my palms, while also buzzing through each of my fingers. It’s not that my fingers are simply stiff or immobile, it’s more that the pain settles deep into the grooves of my actual bones. It’s a strange feeling that I can’t exactly articulate, but my hands feel heavy, swollen, and painful.

So, sometimes, using my fingers just isn't a nice option. The thought of typing on the phone's tiny keys or on the keyboard itself just makes me want to give up on writing altogether. On those days, I have a solution: I use the talk-to-text feature on my phone. If you have an iPhone or an Android, this feature usually comes with the phone.

It helps with brain fog, too

Not only does talk-to-text help with deep hand pain, but it also helps with my brain fog. When my brain fog and fatigue are acting up, I find it hard to translate what’s in my mind onto the paper in a clear and articulate manner. (That’s my job as a writer, so that’s pretty bad!). Talk-to-text helps me speak openly, without typing, so when I’m cognitively clear and bright again, and when I have lots of energy, I can go in and edit my work.

But on the days where I just need to get some thoughts onto paper or build an outline or create a rough draft, I’ve gotten comfortable with using my phone's talk-to-text feature.

How talk-to-text works

I’ll first pull up the text app on my phone, hit the little microphone image on my keyword, and speak into it. A few pro-tips: If you’re interested in this method, you can also speak the grammar as you record. It feels a little clumsy at first to say words like “comma” and “period,” but you quickly get over it.

And if you don’t feel like doing that, you can always go in and edit the grammar later. Also, speak clearly and directly into the microphone. Simply hit the record button and watch it go. You will have to watch the record feature while you speak because sometimes it cuts you off and you have to start again.

I found that this also helps a lot with answering text messages and emails as well. There are just days when I can’t be bothered to type, either because my hands hurt or because my brain is overloaded. Simply speaking my sentences out loud and giving them a once-over with the keys is a wonderful way to be be responsive without overtaxing my brain and my hands.

Do you use the talk to text feature? 

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AnkylosingSpondylitis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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