Getting Personal – Work Related Health Issues.

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There are many health concerns that go along with doing what we artists and artisans do on a daily basis. We have to contend with repetitive stress on various joints in our hands, elbows and arms, maybe even legs (I do alternately roll my felting with my feet).

Anyone who sits for hours at a computer designing illustrations, photoshopping photographs and so on has their back to think of and the fact that they are not doing the standing that we are told is better for us.

Having sewed, knit and now felted for most of my life and for over three decades for a living I’ve had my share of aches and pains. I suffered for more than a year with De Quervain syndrome in  both wrists. That was from using a Dekker comb for moving stitches on my knitting machine while using cotton….which is not forgiving! The cure was to immobilize my thumbs…yeah, right! It eventually sorted itself out, with the use of hot paraffin wax treatments and wrist braces. One of my customers gave me this test in my show booth at the One of a Kind show….just to check….Pain YES!
I just pulled a muscle in my back last week shifting my heavy outdoor mirror in my car in readiness for Artfest here in Kingston. I felt a bit of a strain and spent the rest of the day not bending in the middle! Fortunately a visit to emerge (it was a Friday and my doc couldn’t see me) told me it was muscular and no injury to my spine…whew!
All I could think of was my sister who, years ago, riding the bumper cars on Toronto Islands, was bumped into as she sat partly twisted with her arm around one of her girls……she spent weeks on living on the living room floor crawling on her hands and knees to the bathroom. She had injured a disc….which she still has to take care of.
Fortunately, I believe, my practice (not often enough) of Pilates helped in that my mid section was already strong….I felt better over the weekend. I was told three weeks and after a week….much better.
Trust me, this feels good!
I’ve spent 32 years lugging heavy stuff and I won’t stop. Weight bearing exercises helps keep my old bones strong, especially as treatment for breast cancer has reduced my numbers slightly on my bone density test. I’ve lugged my boxes, show booth display and glass and rocks (when I used to work for two different glass artists over the years).
                                                                                                  Now the getting personal part….for which I’m working on an Indigogo project to get myself a felt rolling machine ($4000)….when I work on my wet felting I spend most of the day standing. When I’m laying out my design, felting and fulling at my work table, which is raised up to just above my waist height, I’m on my feet….and I found I got….hemorrhoids!  Also my feet get really tired too.                Yup, sorry, fact of my life…but when I stop and go back to knitting (sitting at my knitting machine most of the time) and up and down to the ironing board they go away!                        This image is from a ‘Wired’ post.
I know they say it’s good to stand to work as this image and article shows….but I think there can be too much and also I’m not 30 any more!

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One Comment

  1. yay for you and your help! that's great,must be nice! interesting post about all the stress on various parts of the body. I definately have issues with my right hand and arm from painting. I have trained myself to use the computer mouse with my left hand to aleviate some of the right hand problems because of the mouse. I also found a great youtube vid that shows a ball rolling exercise for the forarm that helps a lot.

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