to Lin in Kansas : Sorry it took so long to answer, and the person who did is correct in the Wrist straps. you can also use a sax cord for around your neck. I have opted for this due to 8 extra low notes i have. I found the wrist straps to be a bit restricive for me. I also found now that I 've played for a while I don't need it as much. you can get a stress ball to help strenthen your hands and fingers, and there are guitar finger excersiers too.
there are some great article on this subject at :
this sounds soo cliche but stick to it and it does get better. feel free to e-mail with anyother questions. It's nice to others who share the same frustrations. When i began i would lose feeling in my thumbs. Jill