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View Full Version : Beader's Back Ache?


Mary Riggs
09-15-2004, 06:46 PM
I am curious to find out if I am the only one that gets a back ache between my shoulders while working with seed beads. It is probably from being TENSE while trying to see the little guys anymore, but at times I have to get up and take a pain reliever just so I can continue. I do get up and walk around about every hour or so and do the shoulder and head twirling exercises every so often which relieves the shoulder muscles somewhat.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to proper placement of hands to table?
Height of stool to working surface? Elevated work surface distance to eyeballs and hands?

Being near-sighted, I have a tendency anymore to slump over and look at the beads below the edge of my glasses, which I know is contributing to my problem!!! I just bought a "Daylight" lamp with a magnifier which helps a great deal, but the way I am working must be contributing somehow.

Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated a great deal ! :clap:

Us Baby Boomers need all the help we can get..........

Kerensamere
09-15-2004, 08:30 PM
I get this at times when I've spent a lot of time in my studio too. The light is a good idea, I've tried the magnifying lens with the circular flourescent bulb under it but the lens really bugs me. My DH once suggested using a higher counter top so that I could rest my arms on it and yet the work itself would be up closer to my face, but I'm thinking that the circulation in my arms would be compromised. Make sure that your chair is fitted correctly to you, hight, etc. will help. Try to be more aware of your posture. My back was really getting to me for awhile and then I realized that my posture had gotten terrible, in the studio, at my computer desk, at the kitchen table, you name it, I was really slouching! I've tried to make it a point of sitting up straight and it seems to be helping. You might want to talk to your eye doctor about perscribing glasses specifically for when you are working on small tasks like this. Some doc's write them for computer use and I know that mine once said that if I didn't have any luck with the mangnifier that he could see about getting me a reading glass perscription. I wear contact lenses so I'd just need to wear the reading glasses when working on my jewelry. Just a thought. Good Luck. I'm very interested in reading what everyone else has to suggest too!

-Jen

Beads-Me!
09-15-2004, 09:45 PM
Yup - happens to me too! You need to remember to take breaks and straighten your back and relax your shoulders. I think we become so intent on what we're doing that we forget to do that........ :rolleyes: Looking forward to more tips!

beclectic
09-16-2004, 09:15 AM
What happens to me is if I am tense and concentrating on something then I let that tension express itself as clinched back muscles between my shoulder blades. If someone is around they can press a finger on the tense spot or spots and then you can focus on it better to relax it. If you would do that when you notice the tenseness and make sure all the muscles relax you can learn to relax them intentionally. With practice it gets easier. I am trying to teach myself not to put that tension into those muscles and I've made some slight progress.

debkauz
09-16-2004, 12:47 PM
Oh what I could tell you about upper back aches...but I won't! :evil: I use a couple of small yoga pillows filled with buckwheat hulls to raise my arms up a bit. I am very tall so that helps me some. I also think that you need terrific lighting so you don't strain that way. Every once in a while I... lets see if I can explain this one...pull my shoulders back as though I were trying to touch my shoulder blades together. Then drop your shoulders down and stretch. Also go to a door frame and hold your arm out straight, then bend your lower arm up so you make kind of an L out of it. Lean that arm against the door frame and just lean into it for a few minutes. It stretches the front and helps to relax the back. The head rolls will help, too but I can't do those. After 2 fusions in my neck, it just doesn't roll anymore! LOl. If you can, lie down for a few minutes with either heat or cold on your back. Whichever feels the best is probably what will help the most. I prefer heat, but I know someone else who just has to have cold. Also wrap your arm around your shoulder but under your arm like you were giving yourself a hug. Hold the 'hugged' arm and look straight ahead and kind of pull your arm to the other direction. Hope these make some sense as they really do help!

Deb

TheBlueBetween
09-16-2004, 03:11 PM
I get comfy on my couch with a pillow to hold my tray on my lap at a better height and when I get uncomfortable... I find a new position. You just have to keep moving around every once in awhile I think. Good lighting is essential too.

Gingerbiscuit
09-16-2004, 04:51 PM
I don't get back ache, but I find that if I bead for too long over a few days (hours and hours! :D ) then I get pains in my shoulders. I think it is because they don't get exercise - I am only moving my arms from the elbows down! I bead sitting on the sofa with one of those squishy cushion trays. :)

Mary Riggs
09-16-2004, 06:20 PM
Thank you ladies for all the good advice! It sounds like a common occupational hazard.........I know it is for me. I'll try all the suggestions because it just may be I lack exercise in the upper body and need to concentrate on relaxing those tense muscles also. (Mind/body connection and all) I am also on the prowl for a new drafting chair so I can adjust the height to better suit my long torso at the bench. The new "daylight" lamp has helped a great deal.

You gals are so sweet and helpful.......I thank you again!

Kerensamere
09-16-2004, 08:57 PM
Hey, no problem, this is the kind of thing I look for in this forum. A place to ask questions and get answers from people who are doing similar things. A place to share ideas and solutions. Thanks for starting it! -Jen

McDuck
09-17-2004, 09:27 AM
you should go ask Dilly, she is the resident ergonomics guru! she gave a great talk at the cabin retreat this past spring.

-Mary

TheBlueBetween
09-17-2004, 10:42 AM
You know, I much prefer the ache I get from beading than the one I get from house cleaning ;)

Kerensamere
09-17-2004, 04:07 PM
You know, I much prefer the ache I get from beading than the one I get from house cleaning ;)

Here! Here! :clap:

Mary Riggs
09-17-2004, 04:59 PM
Pam, you are so right! Great attitude adjustment and 'whine stopper'. :D

sassybird
09-18-2004, 04:45 AM
What happens to me is if I am tense and concentrating on something then I let that tension express itself as clinched back muscles between my shoulder blades. If someone is around they can press a finger on the tense spot or spots and then you can focus on it better to relax it. If you would do that when you notice the tenseness and make sure all the muscles relax you can learn to relax them intentionally. With practice it gets easier. I am trying to teach myself not to put that tension into those muscles and I've made some slight progress.

A friend of mine sent me a book on that kind of body work. I used to mediate on the needles when I had acupuncture on a regular basis. I had an acupuncuturist that made house calls many years ago. Acupressure can do the same thing by releasing the toxins as the muscles relax. Tension can occur in the strangest places like your chest muscles, low back, legs, you name it.

One thing that I have found relaxing is a chamomile bath. Boil a whole box of tea bags and dump the water into a bath. You can also do a compress with the tea bags on the affected area. Keep them as hot as you can stand it.

ShineyObjects
09-18-2004, 08:23 AM
Hello! I am fairly new to WC, but this topic really caught my eye! Being in the health care profession, I am always tuned to discomforts and remedies thereof!
As nurses we are taught to reposition patients in bed at least every two hours to prevent break down of skin(bed sores). This translates into several other body systems, like keeping the lungs from becoming stagnant, and stimulating circulation ect. Sometimes I have to remind myself to get up and move around. If I am intense-as often I am-working on a complex project, I literally forget the time. My sweetie calls out to me from the intercom or actually comes into my studio and reminds me to get up and move around...and to eat! The body doesn't like being stagnant in one position for long periods of time. Sitting for long periods with your knees bent can also cause shortening of tendons and stiffness of muscles. This can contribute to afflictions like plantar fasciitis. "Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain in adults. The disorder classically presents with pain that is particularly severe with the first few steps taken in the morning. In general, plantar fasciitis is a self-limited condition. However, symptoms usually resolve more quickly when the interval between the onset of symptoms and the onset of treatment is shorter. Many treatment options exist, including rest, stretching, strengthening, change of shoes, arch supports, orthotics, night splints, anti-inflammatory agents and surgery."Quoted from an online source-American Family Physician. Also, Joints stay healthy with movement-also related to circulation! So get up and move around!!!!! Slow stretches are very good.
Fast bouncy stretches can cause injuries! Classical music and some stretching is great for rejuvenating creative energy! Best to All! ----------Mona

Yup - happens to me too! You need to remember to take breaks and straighten your back and relax your shoulders. I think we become so intent on what we're doing that we forget to do that........ :rolleyes: Looking forward to more tips!

ShineyObjects
09-18-2004, 08:33 AM
oooops...sorry, I almost double posted this one...still learning to navigate!
I beg your pardon!---------Mona

disimmie
09-19-2004, 12:51 PM
Here's some great advice I received from Kate McKinnon after getting an upper back muscle strain (that lasted three weeks!) from wire wrapping pearls........

"definitely, wire wrapping or anything like that is very hard on your body. I try to be very aware of my hands, arms, shoulders and back when I am doing it, and I never do it for more than ten minutes at a time without mixing in some sort of other activity. the deadly combo is wire wrapping and computering. those destroy the tendons in your arms when done in sequence all day long!

make sure that your posture is good, straight back, and then RELAX. try never to get tensed up when working. this is the hardest."

I get upper back pain after lengthy beading sessions, usually in the mid-upper right side, kind of feels like a knot. But after wire-wrapping about 200 pearls for a shag carpet of pearls bracelet - I must have pulled a muscle in my left upper shoulder blade area.

I also found a counter weight type harness at last year's Bead and Button Show that helps to keep good posture. It's available at http://www.mageyes.com/bodyrite.htm.

I think it's worth trying anything to keep up the beading!!!

Mary Riggs
09-19-2004, 06:12 PM
Thanks for your input, Di. Appreciate it. Occupational hazard, I guess! I have thought about getting one of those back braces, so I'll check out that web site and see how much they are. I have contemplated straping my upper torso to the back of my old drafting stool to force myself to sit up straight. There have been times when I can still hear my mother's voice telling me to "sit up straight!" when I was a kid. She is right, of course. But she has never done bead work................................ :wink2:

This thread has many excellent tips to prevent or alleviate back pain, but as Pam said, it is definitely better than housework pain!!!

I know I am addicted to beading because I work even though my back hurts; sometimes I turn up the music and it drowns out my whining thoughts. Mind over matter, I guess.

Thanks, ladies!

Mary