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Back pain at the bench

for many years i have had middle back pain in the latts on the left
side. it is almost like a dull pressure or tinlging, does anyone
else get these pains?

i raised the height of my bench a couple of years ago so i am not so
hunched over the work. and i boought one of those fancy chairs. but
i still have the sensation there. has anybody figured out how to
stretch it or excerise it?

Related articles:
Adjusting the work area or “A Pain in The Neck”

i really dont complain that much in the real life!


I changed chairs and had the problem, then I used a seat pillow and
a back pillow, plus raised the height or my work bench to have
things as the same level as the world field of my head and
shoulders. The computer folks has good standards for work areas in
their profession, they just need to be adapted to ours.


I have hung a bar across the top of the doorway … after an hour
or more at the bench, I stretch and hang from the bar for a couple
minutes. Sometimes I hear up to three vertebrae “crack.”

Also quit carrying a wallet in my back pocket. That made a big

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
Stockton, CA USA

Have you checked with your doctor? Gotten an x-ray or an MRI? You may
have a medical condition that’s being exacerbated by your position at
the bench.Some of the goodies that attack the back are :arthritis,
bone spurs, nerve impingement, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc
disease, osteoporosis,scoliosis,herniated disc,etc. Once they can
identify what’s ailing you, it’s easier for them to prescribe the
right physiotherapy or pain relief for you…An accurate diagnosis and
good followup treatment can make your life a lot more comfortable,
and your workbench a joy and not an instrument of torture.


I have it worse, loss of cartilage in L2 => L5 disks, sitting in my
"rolls-royce" chair is a wonderful feeling. No pain in my
desintegrating disks. my arthritis is gone when I sit down, but
standing, its a big “oy-vay”! tingling is not a good sign…nerve
pinching and squeezing from the lower disks…check it out NOW!.. how
about standing up and doing a light walk around your work area at
once or twice an hour…exercise as often as you are able…even when
you are visiting Nature gets the muscles moving in your legs and
lower back…one back=one life


I have found lifting free weights helps. For stretching, hold onto a
door handle (door closed) with your left hand and drop your body
backwards so that your body weight is supported by your left arm.
Hard to describe: your derriere sticks out and your body is in a "v"

For days when nothing else works, Aspercreme now has back and body
patches that are terrific. They do ease the pain locally without the
side effect of dumbness from most pain medication. Usual disclaimers.

Alana Clearlake


I’d suggest speaking with a good doctor and perhaps also a
chiropractor. The way you’ve described the pain sounds eerily like
the pain I had about 13 years ago – a deep ache in the mid-back off
to the left side. No amount of massage would work and stretching
didn’t quite “get” to it. My physician (who was excellent) tried a
bunch of things on the theory that it might be deepset tendonitis
where the tendons attach to the rib cage, and nothing worked.
Finally, my wonderful chiropractor (who had also been trying to
figure it out to no avail) called in a friend who is a
reflexologist. She pressed very lightly on the area of my foot that
corresponds to the gallbladder and I almost jumped off the table.
Luckily, my physician was “open minded” enough to listen to the
suggestion that I have an ultrasound to take a look and sure enough,
there was a gallstone partially blocking the bile duct. Three days
later, I was waking up out of surgery and the pain was thankfully
completely gone! Went home about 12 hours later and have never had
the problem (or that type of pain) again.

Gallbladder problems mimic many other things, including heart
attack, indigestion, and back pain. It can be intermittent and
extremely uncomfortable.

Any pain like that that has gone undiagnosed for a long period of
time should be looked at. It sounds like you’ve done a lot to
improve the ergonomics of your work environment, and none of it has
really helped. It’s definitely worth exploring!

Good luck,
Karen Goeller


I hear you loud and clear. There are few things I have done for
myself that have helped. They take effort on your part, but you only
have one back per lifetime.

  1. get regular exercise, cardio and weight training. Get a personal
    trainer and meet once a week. This really changed my life around.

  2. Get a good massage every other week. A good massage therapist can
    perform miracles with deep tissue massage.

  3. Get out of your chair and take a break once an hour for 10
    minutes. Stretch and relax. I notice that when we focus on our work,
    we focus with our whole body, not just the mind. They both need a
    time out.

Good luck!
Karen Christians
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio

I know it’s not like guys to do things like this but have either of
you ever tried Pilates? Has absolutely fixed my back and does
wonders for my shoulders and other parts that get cramped from
whatever postures or activities.


I have to say listen to your bodies warning system. It could be
anything described by your fellows. It also could be a wise thing to
go to a PT session or two just to learn the proper stretches for the
affected area. Only after in depth medical evaluation to determine
the problem of course.

America’s Only Cameo Artist

nearly forgot. I also have Spinal Stenosis, bulging cartilage,
pinched nerve (that causes tingling down one leg) and arthritis…
I’ve had MRI, Bone Scans and other numerous scan’s, now its time for
my appt.with a surgeon in July…Life is still fun with all of these
MINOR irritants…:>)

to avoid looking like a cripple after a 15 minute walk, I take
muscle relaxants, and these DO work. With all of this, I still do
seminars and continue writing setting books…nuttin’ bothers me!

I try and block out much of the pain as I can. But sitting is a
"Correct" jewellery/setting chair is the best thing anyone can use…


Dear Matthew,

It seems you have made changes to improve the ergonomics that impact
on your work area and that is excellent. It sounds like that this
problem has been going on for some years and you experience tingle
ling along with the pain and that concerns me. It is possible you
have some nerve involvement. You do not state if you have consulted
with a physician but you may want to consider doing so. I have
permanent nerve damage and I feel very empathic and protective of
others who experience on going pain. The archives are an excellent
resource in this matter. Simple things like change of position; heat,
ice, massage or physical therapy may make a world of difference to
your comfort level however please rule out a significant
neurological problem.

Best wishes and please keep us posted,

Cathy Wheless

For years I have had pain in my legs from sitting. I went to a store
called Relax The Back

Bought an expensive cushion to sit on. Memory foam. Worth 100 times
the price, stopped all pains. Sits on your chair.

Backsaver Ergo Sit-Rite Cushion from

Looks like it’s less than fifty bucks.

They have some chairs that I sat in for $1400. Fabulous, just
couldn’t justify it.

Buy the seat cushion.

David Geller

JewelerProfit, Inc.
510 Sutters Point
Atlanta, GA. 30328
(404) 255-9565 Voice
(404) 252-9835 Fax

My husband has often told me how much of a difference changing his
wallet to a front pocket. In the back pocket it can actually press
on nerves as well a help put the spine out of alignment. He is still
working on not sitting with his legs crossed as this also helps to
misalign the spine often resulting in back pain.

Karen Bahr
Karen’s Artworx

Chiropractic adjustments are miraculous. Please give it a try if
you’ve never experienced it. Make sure you interview them first.

I could not sit at my bench for 10 hours a day without stretching.

Pilates is wonderful too !
Margie Mersky Custom Designs, INC
Studio Line 952-920-1355

Pilates is great and I think the best low impact cure for what ails
you, however, simple Hatha Yoga works well too.


I injured my back years & years ago, and every few years I’ll do
something (lift something, sleep wrong, or just make some kind of
movement incorrectly) & it will go “out” again. This happened most
recently in January, resulting in agonizing pain–nearly any kind of
movement (laughing, coughing, even taking a deep breath) would cause
the muscles in my back to go into spasm, causing of course more pain.
The only way I was comfortable was laying on my back & not moving.
After three days on the couch I realized I had to do something, &
telephoned a physical therapists office near my home. The owner was
booked solid, but he could literally hear the pain in my voice, took
pity on me, and told me he would see me during his lunch hour. Long
story short, after a week he had me out of pain & back to normal.

This particular Physical Therapist is really really good & has built
up a thriving practice–has a half dozen other P.T.s in his office,
massage therapist, a full gym in his office, etc. Anyway, he told me
that the only long-term solution for me to keep my back healthy (& me
pain free) was to start working out & especially strengthen the
muscles in my back & stomache. I had never lifted weights a day in my
life, but pain is great motivator, so I joined a gym & hired a
personal trainer to teach me how to use all the machines & do the
exercises correctly. The results have been significant, & I only wish
I had done this years ago.

Like someone else also suggested, I imagine taking Pilates &/or Yoga
classes might also be a good idea. Just make sure that your
teacher/trainer knows about your back problems & that you start off

Good luck!

Like someone else also suggested, I imagine taking Pilates &/or
Yoga classes might also be a good idea. Just make sure that your
teacher/trainer knows about your back problems & that you start
off slowly. 

I need to 2nd this response. I crushed 2 discs 4 years ago and
needed to go through some physical therapy. I did this and it worked
out well. I figured I was healed after a year so I quit doing the
exercises that the PT recommended. About 6 months later the pain
started to return. So, I went back to my exercise instructions and
started to do them again and whawla…no pain.

The exercise routine doesn’t have to be a rigorous one. It’s more
about stretching out and doing isometric exercise. Any Physical
Therapy clinic will have sheets of exercises you could follow. It
normally takes me around 10 minutes to go through 5 or 6 stretches
and it makes a huge difference. The weight lifting will also
help…I’m just not that disciplined! Let the clinic know what the
problem is and I’m sure they could be of some help. Also, removing
the wallet from the back pocket helps too.

Best of luck, Scott

Neither I nor do I have friends or family who work for this company
(at least not to my knowledge) but my husband and I swear by this
product - it’s a natural balm called DermaMed, arthriderm.

Ask your local health food store if they carry it or go to to order it.

Delane Cooper

 I imagine taking Pilates &/or Yoga classes might also be a good
idea. Just make sure that your teacher/trainer knows about your
back problems & that you start off slowly. 

My local yoga studio has a class called Yoga as Therapy, and the
instructor is trained in “Structural yoga therapy”. The class is
based on breathing and simple stretches that are designed to relieve
tension, and relax and open up the joints to help alleviate pain from
injury and increase the range of motion. We are very careful to use
blankets and supports as needed to prevent further trauma. I have
made many ergonomic changes to my own workspace, but working at
another bench part-time for several months had left me with chronic
lower back pain that even my chiropractor was unable to help. The
yoga therapy was effective after the first class, and I am continuing
the practice. You only have one body, and if you want to keep
working at the bench, you need to take good care of it!

Melissa Veres, Engraver