Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I work with my hands. My work is delicate, requires great precision, and is often repetitive. Sometimes I spend all of a 12 hour day standing at my cutting table (well, all but lunch, dinner, and breaks). I have known other costume technicians who have gotten repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel or series back problems. I've always made an effort to pay attention to my posture when I work, to switch hands when I can, and to change tasks as much as possible throughout the day because I dread these injuries and the possibility that a serious one could take me away frommy work forever.

So what injury has kept me from typing for 2 months, seriously curtailed my work for a month, and *gasp* kept me from knitting?

Sitting at a damn desk.

I thought sitting down for spells in between the standing to pattern, cut, and teach would only benefit. Little did I know that after 17 years of making costumes it would be managing a shop and spending time at my desk creating class materials, doing committee work, and sending and replying to emails that would finally injure me.

It took the whole summer and lots of careful stretching, but I am fine now. I can knit again, and garden, and type or mouse on my laptop.

Then I went into school yesterday to begin prep for the coming year, sat at my desk for maybe a half hour to make sure all my files had been transferred to my new computer, and replied to maybe 3 emails, and pain shot up my arm.

I won't go back again without the new office chair Chris got for me. The adjust-ability should help as I've been using a straight back wooden chair at my desk for the last 2 years. The desk does not seem to adjust heights so I need to focus on adjusting the chair.

If anyone out there knows something about office ergonomics and what position I should be in at a desk, please send me a link!


mary Ellen said...

One of those balance balls in lieu of a char, maybe?

TheatreChick73 said...

I often get pain in my right shoulder/neck area from constant work on computers using a mouse and alway sitting. A massage therapist showed me some amazing stretches that I do several time a day and when I get home at night. Message/call me if you want me to talk you through them. They save me daily.

The balance ball is a great idea, my chiropracter suggested it a while back. Start in 30 minute increments and work your way up. Great core work too!

Good luck!

GunShy said...

Oh no! I've been wondering where you've been (I was missing your blog updates).
I hope it gets better--and I hope we can hang out soon!! I get home at the end of August--let's do something FUN!! :)
Miss you... get a balance ball! :)

Amanda said...

Hey Lady! Haven't talked to you in forever, but Georgia said you were injured at work... who knew? Well... I guess I kinda knew it was possible... happened to me too. It sounds like you might have a little of what I have... cubital tunnal. Not carpal, cubital. It stems from a pinched nerve in the elbow area, caused by forearms resting on edge of desk while typing. The doc recommended elbow pads! Very high fashion. It manifests as shooting pain in the arms and shoulders accompanied by numbness in the outside edge of hand and last three fingers. Fun.
Buuuut... if you're feeling better now, give me a call. I have a proposition... a good one, nothing dirty!