This topic has 6 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 4 years, 1 month ago by CDana.

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  • #14754

    Lately, I and a few scenic artists I know have come down with pretty painful muscle strains in the shoulder of their dominant arm. I know this is likely due to our activities as scenic artists. What are some stretches, or certain ways of holding tools, etc. that help to solve this problem or prevent it altogether?

    #15195
     Angelique Powers
    • Experience: 20+ years
    • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

    • Member
      Member Member

    For stretches I have three go-to’s for my problem areas

    1- calves, ankles and behind the knee= standing on a step with just my toes and ball of the foot on the step. Holding onto a railing I then lift my heels up and go almost “tip toe” and then lower them so that my ankles go below the step- a couple of slow reps and then a good long hold.

    2- neck- a lot of head rolls and shoulder rolls. And then then when it gets too crunchy I visit my chiropractor.

    3- wrist flexing and rotating.

    Nothing brand new or exciting, I guess old school works for a reason

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    #15196
     Jason Strom
    • Experience: 15-20 years
    • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

    One thing that has helped me loads over the years is to make sure that as I am using a bamboo, to never point my index finger. Always grip the bamboo with all four fingers wrapped around the pole, like a fist. You have a lot of nerves in your first finger that run through your shoulder, and prolonged pressure on your finger can cause pain in your shoulder.

    #15197
     Tina Yager
    Admin
    • Experience: 15-20 years
    • Scenic Status: Full Time Freelance

    stromwerks wrote:

    One thing that has helped me loads over the years is to make sure that as I am using a bamboo, to never point my index finger. Always grip the bamboo with all four fingers wrapped around the pole, like a fist. You have a lot of nerves in your first finger that run through your shoulder, and prolonged pressure on your finger can cause pain in your shoulder.

    I’ve been trying to retrain myself for years to break this habit. My shoulder hasn’t been damaged so much as my wrist. I’ll be doing fine until I hit the detail work and then I forget to go back to the full hand grip.

    Anyone else deal with De Quervain Syndrome?

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Quervain_syndrome

    https://m.youtube.com/results?q=de%20quervain’s%20tenosynovitis%20exercises&sm=1

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    #15198
     CDana
    • Experience: 20+ years
    • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

    • Partner
      Partner Member

    tinayager wrote:

    stromwerks wrote:

    Anyone else deal with De Quervain Syndrome?

    Quote:

    In 2006 I had a 6-month course of treatment for DeQuervain Syndrome through Worker’s Comp that was about 80% restorative; followed by a short series of electrostimulus treatments on my own dime that really seemed to get me back to about 95%. 11 years later, at almost 52, the conditions of my job (and how I choose to deal with them) have eased a little bit and I pay much more attention to what my body tells me about getting tired, (mostly) before it’s a longer-term problem.

    It took me a long time to realize that you can totally apply what OSHA tells you to do about evaluating risk from hazardous materials, to potentially hazardous physical processes: think about administrative controls first, before you commit to a process (could we reduce the amount we have to do or pay for a manufactured substitute, or do it over a longer period of time, or with more people), then engineering controls for what you can’t administrate out of the process (will this be better for our bodies if it’s on the floor or on appropriate height tables/easels, or if we invent a tool that does x), then set up safeguards for whoever’s doing it: no repetitive action without change or other relief for more than 10 minutes at a time, and less if there’s weight involved. Designated time-even 5 minutes- for stretching during the workday (that’s actually administrative, but you get the idea). Things like this let your staff know you’re serious about wanting to avoid injuries, brings you together in a quiet time where people can check in on how things are going, and may give them more confidence that you’ll listen to their concerns and they can be part of the solution. Having said that, I have only had a little success with “stretch time”: some people won’t participate even if everybody else loves it, so we only do it when we have a big crew on an intense project. Still, it’s my dream…

    It can be very hard to change how you think about how you approach your job, but to anybody who thinks “Oh, I just have to suck it up and do it such and such a way even if that means late hours, or doing this one thing all by myself so that [insert your personal neurotic fantasy here], I say get a grip: a nice, loose, 2-handed grip with both feet firmly on the ground, close to where the paint will be hitting the object so you’re not reaching out beyond or above your shoulder…” Get familiar with the principles of body mechanics and ergonomics, how they intersect, and also get with the intersection of creativity and self-care. You absolutely can do it, ideally before a 6-month rehab gives you plenty of time to think about it.

    With best wishes for everyone’s physical and mental health, to keep doing whatever you like to do,

    #15199
     Anonymous

    I love hearing about how you’re working toward creating an environment that promotes scenics looking out for one another’s wellbeing, Claire.

    Almost 10 years ago, I think it was you who co-hosted a USITT session (Cincinnati maybe?) with an Alexander Technique instructor. Might have been called Alexander for Technicians? We talked about being mindful of posture and physical strain, and discussed ways to take time to assess what we were doing an in what ways repetition of that activity could be harmful.

    I think of that 1-hour class ALL THE TIME!!! When I’m working with a bamboo, I remind myself to center my balance and relax my shoulders, and that working with urgency or speed doesn’t mean internalizing strain or tension.

    I would love the chance to revisit that class again in the future.

    #15200
     CDana
    • Experience: 20+ years
    • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

    • Partner
      Partner Member

    I am sooooo glad to hear that class made an impression for the good! Alexander technique is an unusual but practical window into function, and Julia Guichard is a genius teacher.

    I had co-chaired a few others at USITT around that time, including one where the class ended by everyone trading hand massage with their neighbor- awesome! but got dispirited about the lack of support: I felt lucky that Julia’s spouse was coming to the conference anyway, and she had parents in the area to boot.

    However, I have great hope for this forum as a way to get info and ideas to people who need them. Yay!

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