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  1. #1
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    Neck Pain and Back Pain from working?

    Hello,
    I have made a commitment lately to draw at least 15-20 hours a week on top of my full time job (Not in painting sadly).

    I have been implementing all my goals for the week, and yesterday I worked for 14 hours.
    However, I had to stop because of intense neck pain. It was really hard to move my neck at the end of the night and it hurt a lot.

    I am back to painting today with a 7 hour commitment, of which I have only completed 2.5 hours. My neck is already in pretty bad shape.

    Is there a posture that will alleviate this? I am leaning towards my Cintiq, which is very close to me on my table. My back hurts a lot too, but I can deal with that a bit better.


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  4. #2
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    Sitting leaning back at an 135 degree angle is better for the then sitting strait or leaning forward. If you can find some place to work standing, that is also a good alternative.

    Taking brakes at least ever hour, or even better a micro brake every 20 minutes when you get up on your feet and move about for about a minute also helps. There is programs to install for free that can help you with this. I use Big Stretch Reminder.

    How much strength training do you do each week? Better ergonomy is important, but if you don't a healthy musculature, it wont help in the long run. You will still end up with a body that hurts like hell from working.
    I have no intention of becoming a professional artist, I just aspire to become a really good amateur.

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    Had the same problem. Movement helps. Every 30mins or one hour just move your neck back what ever muscle is hurting. You don't even have to do special exercise just move for 30secs. Sorted me out.

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    go to gym, exercise, body stretching, and you will be fine.

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  8. #5
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    I found a cyntic was awful for posture.
    If you go to an auction place you can pick up a decent adjustable desk and office chair for £5 each and you wont regret it. Get your work space sorted and the neck stuff just goes away.
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    Agree with MatejaPetkovic.

    Exercise.

    I'm not takling about going to the gym to det ripped, just enough to keep them juices fowing

    I highly recommend yoga or rock-climbing. It´s a real good all around workout on the body as a whole.

    Also, aforementioned points, fix your posture, and stad up and stretch more.
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    I second the above suggestions about moving around and stretching regularly as well as daily exercise. I don't know what kind of a routine you're on right now, but if you're putting in that many hours drawing on top of your job, you're probably cutting out extra activities that get you moving around more which can be detrimental to long term health. I would also like to recommend yoga or another activity that encourages you to stretch the various areas of your body. I often get shoulder or back pain from drawing if I don't take the time to stretch my arms and back every day.

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    Most muscle pain is due to repetition of the same loading. If you are constantly changing how your muscles are loading this will distribute the effort among as many different fibrers as you have. If you use the same fibers over and over, they will fray, and you will get trigger points... painful knots in your muscles that may press against nerves and cause even more pain out toward your extremities.

    Muscles adapt to how they are used. If they are used like ropes to hold up your head up, they will become ropey. And ropey muscle is muscle that has become like ligament tissue. Rest alone will not fix muscles that have been trained to be ropey. You must do range of motion and strength training exercises.

    Ropey levator scapulae will pull your scapula bones up toward your shoulder and that will cause problems in the muscles of your mid back which hold down your scapulae.

    If you don't keep moving and exercizing one muscular problem can cascade towards another. And muscular weakness puts undue pressure on other kinds of tissue, like ligaments, to act to keep postural integrity. When the ligaments give out, then you're into disc problems.

    So keep strong and active. Being an artist is a physical lifestyle. Make no mistake.

    Movement is your friend.
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  13. #9
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    Also, along with correct posture, take time to lay flat on the floor. It does wonders for the spine. It's more helpful than lying on a bed.
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    While I do agree with a lot of the advice here . Really, the internet and particularly this forum, is not where you go for serious medical advice. Go see an orthodpedist, preferably one who specializes in these kinds of problems. A wrong self diagnosis can worsen the problem or cause other problems.

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  16. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    Most muscle pain is due to repetition of the same loading. If you are constantly changing how your muscles are loading this will distribute the effort among as many different fibrers as you have. If you use the same fibers over and over, they will fray, and you will get trigger points... painful knots in your muscles that may press against nerves and cause even more pain out toward your extremities.

    Muscles adapt to how they are used. If they are used like ropes to hold up your head up, they will become ropey. And ropey muscle is muscle that has become like ligament tissue. Rest alone will not fix muscles that have been trained to be ropey. You must do range of motion and strength training exercises.

    Ropey levator scapulae will pull your scapula bones up toward your shoulder and that will cause problems in the muscles of your mid back which hold down your scapulae.

    If you don't keep moving and exercizing one muscular problem can cascade towards another. And muscular weakness puts undue pressure on other kinds of tissue, like ligaments, to act to keep postural integrity. When the ligaments give out, then you're into disc problems.

    So keep strong and active. Being an artist is a physical lifestyle. Make no mistake.

    Movement is your friend.
    Unfortunately I have the lifestyle of a marketing assistant in an internship, which means I sit at the computer all day, and If I draw, I do it on the computer as well. My eyeballs are getting tired of this as well.

    I do however go out and see my friends for a good chunk of my week (Every third day or so, depending on what tasks I have), so my eyes get a rest.

    As to the point of exercise whenever I have been to the gym, I have developed constant back pain faster then any muscles. Obviously this is because I am lifting the weights wrong, but no matter how straight I try to keep my back the pain always developed.

    It must be the amount of the weights. It is as if my arms are ready to lift weight much heavier then my back is ready for, there is no congruency there at all. What I am thinking of doing though is starting to run as the weather warms up. That should keep the back pain away, and I don't figure I need any muscles for any reason sow eight lifting is not needed. I do have some 15 pound weights at home though, which are pretty light for me so they will probably be ok. I am not interested in going to the actual gym anymore, so I would only do home exercises. I think there are plenty of those, and the 40-50$ gym fee is not necessary.

    What Neck exercises do you know to develop my ligaments? I know a few back ones, but can't really imagine a neck exercise, other then rotating my head like an idiot for 20 minutes haha.

    As for Yoga, I am not into that stuff to be honest. If I exercise I want to feel so tired that I'm almost passing out, otherwise I feel like I am wasting my time a bit.

  17. #12
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    There is a lot of good at home programs for this to fins on the internet. Search for thing like "neck pain exercises" "back pain exercises" etc.
    I have no intention of becoming a professional artist, I just aspire to become a really good amateur.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    As for Yoga, I am not into that stuff to be honest. If I exercise I want to feel so tired that I'm almost passing out, otherwise I feel like I am wasting my time a bit.
    Take up martial arts. It's like a mixture of yoga and weights with the excitement of having to dodge punches.

    Try to pick one that's vigorous but doesn't have a nasty track record of injuries. Judo is probably out. Karate and its ilk are rigorous but don't pick one that's too keen on tournaments.
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  19. #14
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    What about boxing? I picked up gloves last summer and boxed with my friend. By that I mean my friend beat the shit out of me every couple of days. It was really tiring actually, but it hurt a lot. I am not a particularly manly or sporty dude, so my fighting skills are in the garbage. Literally for every 100 punches he would get on my face, I would get him 2-3 times like a limp fish.

    However, lots of fun!

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    To get to the place i work i get out of the subway and then theres a long ass steep street going up, i walk the whole thing to the very last turn where the office is. Theres a mini bus i can take but it turns mid way, so i still have to walk the rest of the way up anyways so i might as well do it all on foot.

    It Felt a bit shitty at first doing that everyday at 7 am, but then i realize each day i do it a bit faster, hurts less and i feel better and less sleepy/ tired trough the morning. It sort of triggers my body to activity which comes in handy for the next hours of sitting.

    Exercise might not mean 2 hours of gym a day but simple things like walking up the couple floors on stairs rather than taking the elevator. Its not weight loss/getting in shape sort of exercise but it´ll keep you feeling ok.

    Also make sure you stand up, strecth every half hour or so. Take special consideration to the wrists, even when you dont feel nothing wrong, it´ll save you trouble long term. Carpal tunnel --> do not want

  21. #16
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    dont work for 14 hours strait you plonker, if you do anything for 14 hours (or even 7) you are going to hurt yourself, its RSI or just plain neck cramp. If you do stuff for long periods of time, try to be in a position where your body doesn't have to be in a different position from that which is natural.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    What about boxing? I picked up gloves last summer and boxed with my friend. By that I mean my friend beat the shit out of me every couple of days. It was really tiring actually, but it hurt a lot. I am not a particularly manly or sporty dude, so my fighting skills are in the garbage. Literally for every 100 punches he would get on my face, I would get him 2-3 times like a limp fish.

    However, lots of fun!
    getting active is a great idea, loosening the ligaments and all that, but for someone who's complaint is "I am in pain", I don't think "get hit" is a great plan.
    It's been suggested, but you should do strength training, weights, that sort of thing. But make sure you work your entire body, you don't want to end up a triangle on its point. I do a lot of weights, I'm fat, but I'm strong. Its actually something you don't realise until you do a lot of weight training, but I no longer get aches standing ages on the train for example. Especially if you're quite a big guy, you have to hold up a lot more weight, which means more strain on your body, its the pregnant woman effect, you're gonna have a bad back if you carry a load of extra poundage around, building up your muscles makes that a lot easier.
    Last edited by Barefoot; March 31st, 2012 at 11:11 AM.

  23. #18
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    In terms of weight building, I just tried to get back to working out this Saturday. It resulted in complete disaster, I vomited all over myself, and felt terrible the rest of the day.

    For a 21 year old, my body acts like it is 60. And I am not even fat at all. What a disaster.

    I guess I'm at that point where I'm so unhealthy that exercising itself is too unhealthy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    In terms of weight building, I just tried to get back to working out this Saturday. It resulted in complete disaster, I vomited all over myself, and felt terrible the rest of the day.
    So what you're saying is that you don't know how much to do or when to stop. Now that you know you have this issue, try to learn from your mistakes so that this thread doesn't turn into a master list of stupid shit you've done to yourself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    In terms of weight building, I just tried to get back to working out this Saturday. It resulted in complete disaster, I vomited all over myself, and felt terrible the rest of the day.

    For a 21 year old, my body acts like it is 60. And I am not even fat at all. What a disaster.

    I guess I'm at that point where I'm so unhealthy that exercising itself is too unhealthy.
    It's quite common to feel nauseous after working out when you are out of shape. Lots of people who work out throw up, even big time bodybuilders.

    Basically you pushed yourself too hard.

    If you've really never been athletic at all, I would highly recommend you start slowly, walking two times a day for 20 minutes at a stretch. Make sure your sneakers are good. Quit smoking if you smoke.
    At least Icarus tried!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    In terms of weight building, I just tried to get back to working out this Saturday. It resulted in complete disaster, I vomited all over myself, and felt terrible the rest of the day.

    For a 21 year old, my body acts like it is 60. And I am not even fat at all. What a disaster.

    I guess I'm at that point where I'm so unhealthy that exercising itself is too unhealthy.

    I have a bad back from a sports injury -- so I can't really work out aside from walking, and playing around in a swimming pool. Even bowling will put me on my back for a day or two.
    What I can do is stretch for 30 minuets a day - simple non- yoga stuff, but I have fewer headaches and far less chronic pain.
    I recommend doing exercise appropriate to your body - walk until it's easy then pick up jogging - use the 5 pound weights and work up to the ultra manly cast iron disks of pain.
    You want to push yourself - but not destroy yourself.

    Stretching + fixing your posture is the best way to fix it.
    If your cintiq isn't the adjustable kind- invest in a support arm thingy - your spine will thank you
    Neck Pain and Back Pain from working?

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    110% agree about seeing a doctor as a priority.

    I was having pain and tightness with my lower back and sacrum. I tried ignoring it, until weight lifting at the gym triggered some crippling muscle spasms. I was in hurt city. My recovery was too slow, I thought, so I finally got a medical opinion; x-rays showed some clear misalignment issues. I received a few adjustments, took better care of myself and replaced my worn-out office chair. I'm feeling much better.

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    Well other people have talked about injuries from sports or working out. Be careful if doing weights. I threw my back out a bit ago when doing too much exercise. Don't push too hard too fast. That is the way to a terrible back. I'm in my 20's and I threw my back out like an old man once. It just suddenly had a sharp pain, a ton of pain, could barely move.

    (Also makes me regret the days in school where we had to carry ridiculous amounts of books to every class and never gave us enough time to get to a locker. So I just carried my books in a backpack everywhere. I'm sure that did some damage over 5+ year period. If I have kids they're getting a suitcase with wheels and if the school doesn't like it I'll go in personally and tell them to fuck off)

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    If you are weight training and hurting your back you are doing it wrong definitely. Do you have any trustable instructor on how to do it right?
    Weight training for me at least has got my posture better and reduced the pains i used to get.

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    Boxing is a (distilled) form of martial arts... Think about what an injury to your hand would do to your art. I've been a martial artist most of my life, and I always worry about damaging my hands. I've seen it happen too many times to others, even helped it along a few times. They do have enormous benefits if you're careful. For striaght health benefits, I would recomend tai chi and running.


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    Talking about in an uninstructed environment as many people don't go to a gym and do things at home. But if your with your buddy and he's saying "Cmon push it, a little more, try a little more". Don't.

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    This guy's channel may be useful to you;
    http://youtu.be/mcSEdJGzNJg

    also, if youre really out of shape you might want to consider doing Mark Ripptoe's starting strength programme which is designed for beginners to gain strength. I've been sticking to the programme for about two months now and noticing pretty good improvements. There should be a pile of rip's vids lying on youtube to show you how its done.

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