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Nunae

Hobbying the back-friendly way

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So I really messed up dismounting a pony six weeks ago and broke two vertebrae in the process. While it was one of the least terrible possible ways to break your spine (no neurological damage and no surgery required) it's still not pleasant and will have consequences for years to come.

It's especially important for me going forward to be mindful of my posture. From experience before my accident I know that I tend to slump forward while hobbying, even worse than on the computer. After the accident I haven't been doing miniature stuff for longer than an half an hour, but I already noticed how bad my posture got in that relatively short time. So I'm trying to avoid it right now, even though boredom is slowly but surely kicking in. 

Haven any of you found a way to fix or control your posture while painting or sculpting? I know a lot of the people on these boards work on their miniatures for multiple hours and are a bit older than I am, so maybe similar backproblem have been encountered before. Or maybe I'm the only one sitting over my miniatures like a cave troll ::D:

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Yikes! Horses really are terrible people.

 

If you're comfortable standing, a standing desk or the like can be great, I'm told (I have more trouble standing than sitting, so cannot confirm).

 

Might look into some of those backwards-type chairs specifically designed to improve posture.

 

Take all the PT you can get. I'm also a big believer in chiropractic care--it does wonders for my posture. With injuries you'd want to be careful and all, of course, but you know.

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Would a back brace help? Not necessarily for the support ( although that might be nice, too ), but to help 'force' you sit more upright.

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  Sometimes when I find my back bothering me during hobby time, I switch out my regular computer chair for a wooden chair with a somewhat high back, and turn it around so that my chest is up against the back of the chair... Dunno if that would help.

 

 

 

 

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I'll be following to see if there are any good tops shared as I could use some.
Switching from using a magnifying lens on a lamp to using a magnifying headset helped a bit, since I don't need to bend down to look through it, but I still need to remember to make myself sit up.

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4 hours ago, Nunae said:

So I really messed up dismounting a pony six weeks ago and broke two vertebrae in the process. While it was one of the least terrible possible ways to break your spine (no neurological damage and no surgery required) it's still not pleasant and will have consequences for years to come.

 

Not to intrude on your privacy, but may I ask which level of vertebrae you broke? That might help to tailor some of the advice (some positions work better for cervical vs thoracic vs lumbar). Glad you don't need any surgery.

 

I've long toyed with the idea of finding some kind of reclining chair that can elevate your legs without leaning your torso too far back (i.e. not lying down), but haven't seriously looked for any such chair (I think a La-Z-Boy brand would put you too far back to paint comfortably). Then I wouldn't have to hunch over so much.

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One thing I've heard mentioned is having a taller table - standard 28" height tends to be too low for a lot of people.  I've been contemplating a height of 34-36" for my new desk. 

 

Could have sworn Angel uses a higher than usual desk to help with such things, but I wouldn't know which video he mentions such in. 

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Yep, I have nerve damage and stenosis in my neck and arm, and also get lower back spasms due to cartilage damage there.

 

You need to bring the mini and stabilization to you.  Here is how I do that:

 

1. Get a good chair with proper support.

2. Do what the jewelers do, and raise the work surface to chest height (about the bottom of the sternum). This will keep you from bending over. They actually make desk top jeweler's benches you can get for this (Search Amazon:  "Jewelers Pocket Watch Clock Repair Work Bench").

 

Spoiler

61lccSqqQ1L._AC_SL1000_.jpg

 

3. Support your elbows at this new height so you don't develop upper back and shoulder issues. You want your elbows supported so that your hands are at a natural face height. I use a pair of these from amazon (search: Aluminium Alloy Ergonomic Computer Desk Arm Support Wrist Rest Arm Rest. Tuned Both Horizontal and Vertical Direction SY-ACC65087):

 

Spoiler

71kUWcqDLRL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

 

4. Finally, I move the light to my eyes so I am not tempted to hunch under a light.  I have an led array that mounts to my optivisor so all the light I need comes from my eyes to the piece. (Quasar Led Lighting System for Optivisors)

 

Spoiler

Quasar Led Lighting System for Optivisors | ELP-558.00

 

 

The higher work surface does take a bit of getting used to.  You could skip the higher bench actually now that I think about it.  It is likely the chair, arm supports, and light position that will most keep you upright, since you will be holding the work piece (where jeweler's need to afix their work to a vice or bench pin).  Just make sure that you set the arm cradles so tha they hold your arms up with your hands at face level.  That will keep you from curling forward.

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20 hours ago, Marvin said:

Yikes! Horses really are terrible people.

 

If you're comfortable standing, a standing desk or the like can be great, I'm told (I have more trouble standing than sitting, so cannot confirm).

 

Might look into some of those backwards-type chairs specifically designed to improve posture.

 

Take all the PT you can get. I'm also a big believer in chiropractic care--it does wonders for my posture. With injuries you'd want to be careful and all, of course, but you know.

The horse tripped herself and then waited around with me wailing and all, so we're cool ::D:

 

Standing is kinda troublesome as well atm (walking is great though!) so that's more a future thing. I didn't know those chairs existed, but it looks interesting. From reviews they seem to tire out your core/back muscles rather quickly though, and since my muscles really suffered from the underuse and I'm just training to get them back to normal (with PT, which is great but exhausting) probably also more of a future thing. 

 

21 hours ago, Chaoswolf said:

Would a back brace help? Not necessarily for the support ( although that might be nice, too ), but to help 'force' you sit more upright.

 

Apparently back braces aren't used as much with such injuries anymore, that's at least what the doctors said. I was surprised by that, too, since it just feels wrong to walk around a week after you broke your spine with no stabilizing measures. Forcing myself completly passively into a good position has the side effect that I don't engange my muscles that much/at all (which makes them regress even more), so the chairs or self-control-measures written about below might be a better long term solution.

 

19 hours ago, Mad Jack said:

  Sometimes when I find my back bothering me during hobby time, I switch out my regular computer chair for a wooden chair with a somewhat high back, and turn it around so that my chest is up against the back of the chair... Dunno if that would help.

Seems similar to the backwards chair (and I've actually done that in the past with my computer chair).

 

3 hours ago, ShadowRaven said:

A kneeling chair might also be helpful. Anne Forrester uses one. 

Another type of chair that I've never seen, but it might work for me. Especially since I tend to pull my legs up to my chest to get comfortable, and that wouldn't work with such a chair. 

 

16 hours ago, ManvsMini said:

Not to intrude on your privacy, but may I ask which level of vertebrae you broke? That might help to tailor some of the advice (some positions work better for cervical vs thoracic vs lumbar). Glad you don't need any surgery.

 

I've long toyed with the idea of finding some kind of reclining chair that can elevate your legs without leaning your torso too far back (i.e. not lying down), but haven't seriously looked for any such chair (I think a La-Z-Boy brand would put you too far back to paint comfortably). Then I wouldn't have to hunch over so much.

It's a compression fracture in the thoracic area, about the height where the shoulderblades end. But the pain goes up to the shoulders and down to the lumbar area as well, since my spine is now shorter and has a wrong bend, which means the rest of the back has to work more than it is intended to.But I'm also glad it's not bad enough to get straightend with screws and metal plates, that didn't sound fun at all. We got all the pre-surgery talks and waivers and I'm just glad I was too high to really get into those.

 

My boyfriend has a comfortable gaming chair in which you can lean far back, my problem is that I sit up as soon as I actually want to paint, I'm not sure I'd stay back in a reclining chair. 

 

12 hours ago, WhiteWulfe said:

One thing I've heard mentioned is having a taller table - standard 28" height tends to be too low for a lot of people.  I've been contemplating a height of 34-36" for my new desk. 

My desk is slightly higher than that (if I did the unit math correctly, 29'') but it's on the high side. If I want to use keyboard/mouse or a drawing pad I have to push the chair up to a height where my feet can't get planted to the ground anymore. And I just got 4cm shorter ::D:

 

18 hours ago, lowlylowlycook said:

This video is about painting with a shaky hand or tremors but it seems to me that if you set up Brick or Ms. Brick in a position that forced good posture then you would be locked into that posture to a degree.

 

This seems to be in the same vein as the armrests recommended by Talespinner, and to me it seems like a good idea. I do stabilize my wrists on the table edge for detailing, which is a big no-no, so something along those lines should help.

 

5 hours ago, TaleSpinner said:

You could skip the higher bench actually now that I think about it.  It is likely the chair, arm supports, and light position that will most keep you upright, since you will be holding the work piece (where jeweler's need to afix their work to a vice or bench pin).  Just make sure that you set the arm cradles so tha they hold your arms up with your hands at face level.  That will keep you from curling forward.

This sounds like a really solid plan. I have a little table-thing for eating in bed, so I could at least put my pallet and brushes up a bit higher. Or put the airbrush box on there. 

 

Thanks for all your time and ideas, I'll try to get something like that arm rest and a visor soonish and will try out some chairs when I'm in better overall shape again. 

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6 minutes ago, Nunae said:

Apparently back braces aren't used as much with such injuries anymore, that's at least what the doctors said. I was surprised by that, too, since it just feels wrong to walk around a week after you broke your spine with no stabilizing measures.

 

I don't know if this is the reason why, it's just a guess, but if the brace would have to go around and fasten across the torso/chest (which I imagine it would?) they might not use them because it could prevent your chest from fully expanding when you breathe, which might lead to pneumonia. When I broke a rib they didn't wrap it for that very reason (tv and movies lie!).

 

10 minutes ago, Nunae said:

It's a compression fracture in the thoracic area, about the height where the shoulderblades end. But the pain goes up to the shoulders and down to the lumbar area as well, since my spine is now shorter and has a wrong bend, which means the rest of the back has to work more than it is intended to.But I'm also glad it's not bad enough to get straightend with screws and metal plates, that didn't sound fun at all. We got all the pre-surgery talks and waivers and I'm just glad I was too high to really get into those.

 

That sounds very painful. :down: Did the doctor say anything about trying to remain horizontal when possible so you don't further compress your spine? I hate to suggest it, but painting sitting upright might not be the best thing to do until you've mended a bit. Unless they told you otherwise?

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4 hours ago, ManvsMini said:

 

I don't know if this is the reason why, it's just a guess, but if the brace would have to go around and fasten across the torso/chest (which I imagine it would?) they might not use them because it could prevent your chest from fully expanding when you breathe, which might lead to pneumonia. When I broke a rib they didn't wrap it for that very reason (tv and movies lie!).

Immobilizing parts of your body also isn't great for the muscles. It's pretty scary how much your stamina and strength disappears after a relatively short time of bed rest followed by minimal movement. Since the fracture is confirmed to be stable I'm supposed to use my backmuscles (but avoid certain movements). 

 

4 hours ago, ManvsMini said:

That sounds very painful. :down: Did the doctor say anything about trying to remain horizontal when possible so you don't further compress your spine? I hate to suggest it, but painting sitting upright might not be the best thing to do until you've mended a bit. Unless they told you otherwise?

Yes, it's mostly laying in bed, but walking is also good. Sitting and standing still is allowed, but should be limited. It has been six weeks since my accident, so it's not super fresh anymore, and the boredom is somewhat kicking in. But even after I'm fully healed I should be mindful of my posture and back, so this topic has longterm relevance to me ^^

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Kinda odd idea - but what do the physiotherapists say about yoga balls to sit on? Sitting on those encourages good posture, and gently uses core muscles. Perhaps not soon after injury, but later? I know some folks use them for office work.

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1 minute ago, Cyradis said:

Kinda odd idea - but what do the physiotherapists say about yoga balls to sit on? Sitting on those encourages good posture, and gently uses core muscles. Perhaps not soon after injury, but later? I know some folks use them for office work.

My physio would have said "Wear a helmet"  but that would be more a statement about my "amazing" sense of balance.....

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