Over the years I’ve struggled with some aches and pains that certainly are a result of my work; hunched over at my drafting table, working on the computer, holding a paintbrush or pen for hours on end all can make for an aching body. I know that I need to start taking breaks more often throughout my work day – giving myself time to stretch and move, but I don’t do it enough (it’s a New Year’s goal).
Whether you’re an artist or not, during our work day we spend way too much time sitting in the same place and holding the same position. Here are some items I’ve found and tips I’ve accumulated over the years that help me not look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I hope they help you too.
(I’m not getting anything for endorsing these items, only the satisfaction of knowing they might help you)
1. The BED BUDDY by Carex Health Brands
I LOVE this thing! It’s wonderful for an aching neck or to just plain get warm. It can be chilled or heated, but I tend to only use it for the heat. They also make wrist wraps that work really well if you’re having some carpal tunnel issues.
2. The SPORTS PRO PLUS GYRO WRIST EXERCISER by Dynaflex
My husband bought this for me a couple of years ago when I was complaining that my wrist was starting to hurt and I was worried that I was getting carpal tunnel syndrome. At first I didn’t really like it (it takes a few tries, or for me about a day of cursing and getting frustrated at it before I got the hang of it), however, once you get the idea how to use it this is an amazing little tool that helps so much with wrist strength. I love it now.
3. Wear a WRIST BRACE at night when you sleep
I learned this tip from Tara Reed’s blog many years ago and it works! I am able to manage my wrist health throughout the day without needing to wear it as I work, but at night I must do some weird wrist acrobatics while I sleep because if I don’t wear one I really feel it in the morning. This little trick is a life-saver!
4. The BACKNOBBER II by The Pressure Positive Company
Yes, this is a weird looking contraption, but I swear it absolutely works wonders on getting to those hard to reach muscle knots and pressure points in your back and shoulder area! This is another find my husband made, he discovered it when he saw a co-worker using one. I was skeptical at first, but now I’m sold on it.
5. The PRODRAFT ADJUSTABLE DRAWING BOARD by Martin Universal Design
I have to admit something very foolish – for years and years I used to draw on a flat surface. It started in college and I kept it up in my career. I don’t know why I didn’t adopt the elevated work surface, but it was what I knew and what worked for me, that was until I started to develop neck and spinal issues and suffered never-ending headaches. I went to chiropractors and acupuncturists, but nothing helped. Finally my dentist told me how he had had the same problem, for him his job requires him to hunch over people as he works, but for me I had options and needed to start working on a different plane. Seriously, I don’t know why it took my dentist telling me something so obvious, but I finally got this amazing little adjustable drawing board for my drafting table and now my life is SO much better. I didn’t want to buy a full desk that elevates because I like having books and reference materials around me while I work, I also like having the option of taking it off all together when I need to work on a flat surface. This offers all that flexibility and more.
6. YOGA, YOGA, YOGA!!!
Last, but certainly not least, doing yoga has drastically altered my life. There are more pros than I can mention here to the advantages of doing yoga, but in a quick nutshell I have a couple of poses that I use that I can’t imagine myself going a a day without. Here they are:
Eagle Pose: (this picture shows “standing eagle”, but you can do just the arms part for an awesome upper shoulder/back/and neck stretch.
Standing Forward Fold: This may seem like a pretty simple stretch, but when done correctly and with intent it takes on a new meaning. There are a lot of advantages in doing inverted poses, especially midday when you’re getting tired and you need a little quick blood flow rush to your brain, standing forward fold is the ticket. Try doing this pose in conjunction with a half sun salutation or full sun salutation for even more benefits.
Pigeon Pose: This pose is so wonderful, but it can also take some getting use to at first. Stress and stressful emotions such as anger, frustration, etc.. can get locked in our body – especially the hips. Hip opener poses like Pigeon are wonderful for releasing that stress, but they also can be a little harder to get comfortable with when you start out your practice, or are going through a time in your life when you’re experiencing a lot of anxiety. This article has some wonderful pros and cons to the pose (as well as other poses if you scroll down).
Wishing you a stress-free & ache-free day!