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Neck & back strain


#1

Cathy and Colleen,
My shop causes just such strain. I raised my bench 3" and set my chair as
low as it will go and it helped with the lower back problem but not the
middle of the shoulder blades or the neck. It seems that if I
consistently walk for exercise and go to the gym I am able to live with
it. Can anyone suggest some other ideas that have worked for them? I know
I will not be the only one to benefit from it. Colleen, I have been
watering my lawn for two days to try to save it and if it doesn’t rain
here this week I will give up and let it go dormant. One of the hottest,
most humid summers in a long time here in southwest Missouri, USA> Patty


#2

A good physiotherapist can be of great help in providing you with
corrective exercises to help ease your strained neck and back muscles.
The exercises are geared to improve flexibility and strength and keep
your neck and shoulders from getting tied up in knots. and the beauty of
it is that once you learn the technique, you can do them at home or even
at work!


#3

I used to work very long hours at the bench. I am quite tall (6,5), and
having to lean forward for long periods of time gave me awful backache. I
tried a kneeling chair, but that made my knees hurt. I found the only
effective solution was specific exercises with weights to exercise the
upper back, shoulders and neck. Also lying flat on the floor is good too.
The problem is basically RSI repetitive strain injury. The muscles get
inflamed by doing the same action over and over again.


#4

Hi Patty,

I have been trying to relieve back pain for some time. Here are some
things that have really helped me.

I don’t sit with my legs out in front of me for hours, but put them under
my chair. Don’t cheap out on the chair get a good one, your back will
thank you. Keep your bench top and work about shoulder height. Exercise
regularly, I have been doing back strengthening exercises and they really
help.

And most important, when your back hurts, complain loudly, to everyone,
even strangers.

Mark P.
WI


#5

A friend of mine recently told me that she had neck and shoulder
problems from her computer work. A therapist told her to pull her elbows
back instead of working with them in front of her body. After she
described the location of her pain, I realized that it was close the the
middle of the shoulder blade, the same place that I complain of being a
"cold" spot when I saw. I’m going to try keeping my elbow back further to
see if it makes a difference.

Marilyn Smith ICQ # 9529587
Indiana, USA, east of the Mississippi and west of the Appalachians


#6

Here’s what I have learned that seems to help me avoid neck strain: 1).
proper posture is of the utmost importance, not only when working, but all
the time. I try to always sit up straight and never hunch my shoulders
while I’m at my bench; 2). rather than dropping my head down when I need
to look down, I draw my chin in (making a double chin) which probably
looks ridiculous, but hey, who’s watching? Try both and notice how heavy
your head can feel by comparison. Also, I find it more difficult to draw
my chin in if I am not using proper posture, so it’s a good reminder; 3).
I take plenty of calcium in addition to B complex, C complex, and a multi.
The posture and chin thing were taught to me during physical therapy for a
neck problem and so far (for about 18 months) has proved most beneficial.
Mollie in windy western North Carolina USA


#7

Patty,
I have some serious back problems, the kind that lay me out for weeks on
end! To keep my back from becoming a nuisance, I do go to the gym. I do
some strengthening exercises for my whole back including my shoulders, abs
and arms. I went to see a physical therapist and she told me that when
one has back problems, one needs to strengthen the entire back and
surrounding muscles to avoid strain. I also do Yoga, and I have noticed
that if I stop for a week, my back starts becoming very sore. If there’s
not a place near you (and they can get very expensive), I would recommend
picking up a yoga tape. Both Yoga Journal and Ali McGraw are very good
beginning tapes. Yoga combines both strength training and stretching, and
it’s a gentle way to get the blood flowing and reduce stress. Give it a
shot! -Amery


#8

A short legged footstool under the bench with my feet on top of it seems
to help me a lot and having my soldering area on another bench keeps me
from sitting in the same position all day – and night. :slight_smile:

Nancy <@nbwidmer>
ICQ# 9472643
Bacliff, Texas US on the Gulf Coast just blocks from Galveston Bay


#9

Patty:

I got to looking into the subject because I cousel a lot of disabled,
depressed people at my day job . . . and I have been having some low back
pain.

I have had some success from two days with exercises from “Pain Free: A
Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain”, by Pete Egoscue, an
anatomical physiologist. I can’t tell just yet whether that’s
what’sworking, but I find the book’s theories interesting. I am also
reading “Foods That Heal Pain”, which is also interesting.

Let us know what helps. I would guess that Yoga would work, too. But
you would have to be careful at first if you are having pain now.

HTH,
Roy


#10

Hi Neck and Shoulder Pain Sufferers-
I have been finally dealing with my ‘pain in the neck’ and it seems I have
been clenching my teeth while doing intensive stuff…like setting, and
other not so intense stuff…like sleeping. I have a splint I wear on my
bottom teeth that keeps me aware of not clenching while at the bench and
it has helped my neck pain. But what has really helped is 6 acupuncture
treatments and a little device I bought called an electronic pulse
stimulator. If I feel my shoulder and neck getting sore and tight I zap
myself 20 or so times in a few different spots. It is truly amazing!!! I
used it on a sore knee and it helped there too. I can dig out the name of
the distributor if anyone wants it. I’d love to hear anyone’s suggestions
on bench setups to relieve the goofy positions we work in all day.

T. Lee in sticky and stormy Minnesota


#11

I lift weights and do aerobics most mornings and I’ve found that in the
15 years I’ve been doing this, my neck and back problems have become much
less and I can work longer at the bench. A girl at the gym showed me a
good back stretch where you stand up, put your hands on your hips, and
lean back as far as you can try this about every 20 minutes. My husband
and I also have a hot tub which is worth it’s weight in gold at the end of
the day, especially during production season. Back and neck rubs are
nice, too .

Wendy Newman


#12

Hi folks.

Just had to jump in on this neck and back strain thing. I’ve had it for
several years. Gone to physiotherapy, doctors, X-rays, CAT-scans, and
more… It’s essentially work-related for me, and for many in my
computer-centred office. We have more than 10 per cent of our staff with
RSI, (repetitive strain syndrome)

Suggest looking at the following address for info.

http://eeshop.unl.edu/rsi.html

BUT. I Highly suggest looking at…

http://www.impaccusa.com

… for good, practical books on how to beat this insidious thing. I’ve
found this company’s books worth their weight in gold. I credit theis
stuff with helping to bring my severe neck strain back to just an
off-and-on discomfort.

Think ergonomics. Change how you do what you do – to make it less
physically demanding. This includes redisigning your workplace / bench,
lose weight (if appropriate), exercise (very important).

If you are suffering, however, (reduced ability to rotate head, tingling
in fingers or hands, pain while trying to sleep) go and get expert medical
advice. Unless the circumstances that are causing this change, it usually
gets worse.

Good health
Jeff Booth


#13

Hi folks.

Just had to jump in on this neck and back strain thing. I’ve had it for
several years. Gone to physiotherapy, doctors, X-rays, CAT-scans, and
more… It’s essentially work-related for me, and for many in my
computer-centred office. We have more than 10 per cent of our staff with
RSI, (repetitive strain syndrome)

Suggest looking at the following address for info.

http://engr-www.unl.edu/ee/eeshop/rsi.html

BUT. I Highly suggest looking at…

http://www.impaccusa.com/impacc5.html

… for good, practical books on how to beat this insidious thing. I’ve
found this company’s books worth their weight in gold. I credit theis
stuff with helping to bring my severe neck strain back to just an
off-and-on discomfort. They also publish first-rate stuff on how to
handle TMJ (temporal-mandibular joint disorder) – that’s often related to
neck strain and forces you to clench your jaw all the time. It can be
hell (I know). But it can be easily avoided by some simple
physiotherapy-kinda procedures.

Think ergonomics. Change how you do what you do – to make it less
physically demanding. This includes redisigning your workplace / bench,
lose weight (if appropriate), exercise (very important).

If you are suffering, however, (reduced ability to rotate head, tingling
in fingers or hands, pain while trying to sleep) go and get expert medical
advice. Unless the circumstances that are causing this change, it usually
gets worse.

Good health
Jeff Booth

Oakville, Ontario , Canada
where its sunny warm and wonderful
– Mind you, we had a wee twister about 20 miles northwest of here earlier
this week. (Gulp!)

om Galveston Bay

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#14

…I raised my bench 3" and set my chair as low as it will go and it
helped with the lower back problem but not the middle of the shoulder
blades or the neck. It seems that if I consistently walk for exercise
and go to the gym I am able to live with it. Can anyone suggest some
other ideas that have worked for them?..

Patty,

When I first started working at the bench full time I developed bursitis
in both shoulders. Went through physical therapy and cleared it up, but
didn’t want to do this every few months. I cut a recess in my bench so
that I can rest my elbows on the bench top. I have also seen benches with
arm rests that swing out. Either arrangement takes the strain off of the
upper back and shoulders. It has been over a year since I’ve had any
problems. My physical therapist recommended a maximum of 15 minutes at a
time at the bench. That wasn’t possible for me, but I do try to take a
break and do something else whenever I feel my shoulders getting really
tight (like check my e-mail, go get lunch, check the mail, whatever
works). I also raised my computor monitor up about 8" to bring it to eye
level. Seems that the bench wasn’t the only problem. You may also want
to review your habits at home. Little things like your posture while
reading, washing dishes, etc. can really mess up your back.

Hope this helps!

Sharon Z.