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Old 01-28-2018, 12:20 PM   #1
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Default Craft room ergonomics

I have a rotator cuff injury from tennis. I've taken some time off from the sport while I do physical therapy and recover. However, I spent some time crafting and coloring today, and my shoulder hurts as a result.

I've never thought about ergonomics and my craft room. I have an IKEA desk and chair. The chair isn't comfortable sometimes, and I should probably get a new one. But I'm worried about how to support my shoulder while I work.


Has anyone encountered this? What did you do to solve it?
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Old 01-28-2018, 12:54 PM   #2
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Ouch - I'm so sorry! I find that desk height is the most important - a desk where your hands rest naturally on the surface and you don't unnaturally life your shoulder too high or have your arms hanging too low.
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Old 01-28-2018, 02:27 PM   #3
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Lydia, that makes sense. I think I need to raise my chair to achieve that.
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Old 01-28-2018, 02:38 PM   #4
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And Sue, does the chair have arms? When you're sitting back and not actively crafting, arms could help relieve pressure. Gosh, feel better!
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Old 01-28-2018, 05:11 PM   #5
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Does it help to work in different positions? Perhaps you have a counter at a good height in your kitchen where you could stand and work sometimes...? Mix it up?
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Old 01-29-2018, 05:01 AM   #6
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This is a really difficult one, I know. I actually snapped off the corner of my shoulder blade where the rotator cuff attaches a few years ago, and spent 12 weeks with my arm in a splint so it would reattach in the right place. You need to speak to your physiotherapist for advice on this, as I wasn't allowed to move my shoulder for that 12 weeks- the splint only came off for a shower, I even had to sleep in it. And any use of that arm was banned. I even had to learn how to use my PC mouse left handed, and type with one hand! Your situation may not be so restricted, but I'd really get advice from an expert. It may be they say to restrict it's use to small time periods, with a certain length of time between them. Fingers crossed it heals quickly for you Sue.

We had just started doing a complete makeover in the room my son used before he moved out, so I could have it as my craft room. Then Hubby could have what used to be my craft room, after that had a makeover.
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Old 01-29-2018, 06:09 AM   #7
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OUCH! Wishing you a speedy recovery. I had shoulder surgery last year. While I was recuperating, papercrafting was not happening. Those small motor movements really fired up my shoulder and I would be sore after. Didn't matter what height or position I was in. My PT told me that all of those movements would cause pain until I was recovered. That said - I was post-surgery - maybe your case is different. I hope it is!
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:49 PM   #8
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I agree with Shaz - check with your doctor as to whether using the arm to the point of soreness is going to set you back. You wouldn't want that.

Shaz - all I have to say to you is that you are a true warrior woman. You have the most indomitable spirit, and are an inspiration to me.
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Old 01-30-2018, 03:38 AM   #9
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Hi Robin, and thank you! Although I tend to see myself as more of an accident looking for somewhere to happen some days, lol. Stupidest part about breaking my shoulder was that it was because of doing the bedroom out for my craft room!
We live in an old Victorian end of terrace, which have really small rooms, and with modern furniture being much larger, you tend to put furniture in a room, and thats how it stays, there really isn't the option for re arranging it. That bit becomes important in the story, lol.
My youngest son had moved out, so we decided to re-do that room for me as a craft room, then Hubby would have my old craft room, and redo that for him.
Anyhow, we'd ripped out the carpet, had the walls replastered, and we'd been and bought new skirting boards( baseboards?) for the room. Again, going back to being Victorian, we were using stuff that worked for that style of house, so the boards were about 9" deep. They were also around 12' long, so when we brought them in, Hubby lay them on the floor in the Lounge, along the back of the sofa. Time was getting on- and it was wintertime, which means it was getting dark early, and we worked Night shift. I did us a small dinner before we went to work,and we usually sat & watched something on TV with dinner before going to work. I took my plate into the lounge, intending to do what I did every night, and put it on the stool, then turn back and turn on the light. Remember the bit about never moving the furniture?
Guess who forgot entirely about the boards along the back of the sofa?
Tripped over them, holding a plate of dinner & cutlery in one hand, and a mug of coffee in the other. Didn't think to drop any of it. But I can vouch for the robustness of IKEA crockery! None of that broke. Only my shoulderblade. Result was that I dislocated my shoulder, which snapped off the corner where the rotator cuff attached. Like I said, an accident on legs, lol.
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Old 01-30-2018, 05:40 AM   #10
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I think needing to put those 12' baseboards on the living room (lounge) floor was the accident waiting to happen! I know what it's like in those old houses, where the rooms are small. I've owned and lived in one. Until the first floor was gutted entirely into an open space, the sofa couldn't be pushed against any wall in the living room. One end would just hit the wall and stick up in the air. !
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Old 01-30-2018, 07:38 AM   #11
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Indeed. We also have an open fire, and a bay window, in a room thats approximately 15' square. 2 x 2 seater recliner sofas, so they go in a sort of L shape. TV is in the bay window, so one sofa is opposite that, the other opposite the fireplace. No room for coffee table at all, and the stool is now gone since we swapped to recliners.
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Old 01-30-2018, 07:49 AM   #12
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Sounds very cozy!
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Old 01-30-2018, 08:11 AM   #13
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Sue, if you raise your chair, check and see if you need a foot rest to keep you in balance while sitting. Don't want to cause other problems if you can help it. Be well soon.

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Old 01-30-2018, 03:19 PM   #14
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Shaz, that's crazy! Glad you've recovered.
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Old 01-30-2018, 08:30 PM   #15
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[QUOTE=shazsilverwolf;21607537
Tripped over them, holding a plate of dinner & cutlery in one hand, and a mug of coffee in the other. Didn't think to drop any of it. But I can vouch for the robustness of IKEA crockery! None of that broke. Only my shoulderblade. Result was that I dislocated my shoulder, which snapped off the corner where the rotator cuff attached. Like I said, an accident on legs, lol. [/QUOTE]

I feel your pain! I had a very similar injury.
I was in my classroom. Hard tile floors. 7 am. Only two students there so far. I was in the front of the room and had a book I wanted to put in the back. I started walking full on, and tripped over a computer cord. I went flying! As I was flying, I was thinking about how I couldnít land on my knees. I had bone on bone arthritis in both, and had gotten both cortisone and orthovisc shots in them. I ended up landing prone......like I was laying in bed on my stomach. I just remember lifting my head and saying ď ow, ow, ow....Ē. The kids evidently told me not to get up, but I have no recollection of that. They ran to get help, and I sat up. My arm was killing me! They thought I hit my head, but I donít think I did. Literally, my shoulder and boobs took the brunt of it. The school nurse came up ( I was on the second floor), triaged me, gave me ice, took my bp, and told me she was calling 911.
The hospital determined my shoulder was dislocated, gave me a shot for pain, and with one strong young man pushing on my back, and the strong young doctor pulling my arm with all his might, they popped it back in place. When I got to an orthopedist two days later, the X-ray showed my shoulder bone was crushed.
I was lucky that I didnít need surgery, but the pain.......
First of all, the ER told me to just take ibuprofen. Wrong.... That night, I didnít sleep a wink. The pain was just too much. I went to my internist the next day. She gave me a prescription, so I at least I could sleep a little.
I remember trying to type lesson plans for the sub on my computer, but had to use my left hand exclusively. Hubby drove me to work for a week. Then I started driving left handed......interesting getting the seatbelt on, getting it in gear..... Iíd take a pill when I got to school so I could get through the day. I graded papers left handed for over a month!
Sorry for the sidetrack.
It took a loooooong time to recover! That shoulder still begs me to run hot water on it in the shower. Itís been almost 7 years.
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Old 01-31-2018, 03:04 AM   #16
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Oh my Lynne, what a story! I fell pretty much the same- arms out straight in front, like you flat on my stomach. As I got up, I brought my arm down, and it popped back into place itself. I went for physio after it had healed, and although they warned me that especially due to my age- I was 57- I was unlikely to get full range of movement back, but amazingly I did, and it's not caused me any problems since.
I remember trying to do my seatbelt up in the car- Hubby's the driver, not me- and he had to do it for me in the end. One funny bit that came out of it, still makes me smile. One part of getting dressed I couldn't manage one handed was putting a bra on, so Hubby would help. He commented one morning- 'This is the first time I've ever had to put a bra ON you', rofl.
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Old 01-31-2018, 06:20 AM   #17
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Ha! Good one. I don’t even remember how I did the bra. I remember washing my hair was really difficult. I also remember when I went back to the gym, I walked up to a stranger, handed her a pony tail holder, and asked if she’d put my hair up for me. Hubby had to cut my food like I was a child. So many things are so difficult with only one hand!
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Old 02-07-2018, 02:11 AM   #18
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Shoulders are the worst! They take forever to heal. I've had rotater cuff surgery - dominant hand...yeah that was not fun. Sue - I'd see if an OT could come in and make some suggestions re: papercrafting. My guess is if you are in pain, the word is going to be wait for more healing, but if not, an OT can probably give you good advice for what you can do to avoid aggravating and inflaming what is already injured. Your insurance would probably pay for a consult - worth checking out, anyway.
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Old 02-07-2018, 04:24 AM   #19
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I, too, have shoulder problems, for absolutely no reason at all, but luckily I don't suffer pain when I'm crafting. However, the only piece of advice I can give is one I was taught many, many years ago when I trained to touch-type. The first thing we were taught was posture at the keyboard, designed to avoid what later was called RSI. The chair you sit in should be supportive, back straight, upper arms by your side, forearms held at 90 degrees to the upper arms - if your hands rest naturally on the keyboard then you're in the right position. Years later, I made sure to continue this posture when using computer keyboards and have never had RSI in 55 years of keyboard use, although I always insisted on using what used to be called a typist's chair - one without arms. For keyboard use, the chairs with arms make you hold your arms at an unnatural angle, although they would probably be OK for using a mouse.

Obviously, it's not possible to hold this stance when crafting, but I would imagine you can pick elements of it to help: too much raising of the upper arms (unless reaching for something way back on your workspace) probably means the chair seat isn't high enough and reaching with arms outstretched to work on your project would suggest you're not sitting close enough to your workspace. If you can get some advice from a professional, as suggested by others, that would be ideal.

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Old 02-07-2018, 06:01 AM   #20
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Ouch indeed. Hope it heals well asap!
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Old 02-07-2018, 06:34 AM   #21
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I found that using a thin bed pillow on the arm of the chair to the keyboard tray worked well. I dislocated and tore three of the tendons of the rotator cuff, not once, but twice. I work at a computer station as a systems analyst and am a paper crafter, as well.
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Old 02-07-2018, 06:53 AM   #22
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The doctor said that once you dislocate, you’re likely to do it again. The tendon or whatever it is that holds it in place gets stretched out when it’s dislocated. I had a student that dislocated her shoulder the same week that I did mine. We wore slings together. �� But, she did it two more times, and ended up having surgery to repair the damage.
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Old 02-07-2018, 07:01 AM   #23
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Currently, I am 3 weeks post surgical Rotator Cuff repair (open). I am out of the immobilizer but still in the shoulder sling and have started Phys Therapy. All is healing and Dr is pleased but progress is slow and since it is my dominant arm, I am very limited with doing most anything and clumsy using left hand.
I agree with every shoulder injury comment above regarding driving, typing and yes, dressing ones self....crafting is not an option at this point. Ahhhhhh, some day soon!
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Old 02-07-2018, 10:37 AM   #24
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I, too had rotator cuff surgery on my dominant side. Had to wear the sling and immobilizer for 6 weeks except in the shower and during therapy. I had to do everything left-handed and I am not at all ambidextrous. However, 6 weeks without stamping was out of the question. Learned to do much with my left hand and did what I could near my lap with my right hand---fussy cutting, writing, etc. Hubby was a great help in the shower and dressing. Made the same comment about the bra business! On the bright side, I have full movement back without pain. Think desk/chair height is way important, so see if adjusting either way will help and limit your time so as not to tax yourself. Good luck and heal quickly.
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Old 02-07-2018, 11:36 AM   #25
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is this contagious? I can't even imagine the pain and the frustration!
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Old 02-07-2018, 11:40 AM   #26
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Trying to sleep in a bed was the worst. I'm not a good sleeper in the first place, so found this the hardest part of wearing that dang sling and immobilizer.
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Old 02-08-2018, 11:39 PM   #27
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Gotta throw my 2 cents in here. First, Sue, I hope you heal well without needing surgery. Second, kudos to Shaz for calling Robin, "Robin" and not "RachelRose."

Third: imagine surgery for tennis elbow without ever picking up a tennis racket. Turns out machine quilting will cause that also. Three days after surgery, I found out I had breast cancer. The left arm took a back seat to the right boob. By the time I got set up for radiation, my shoulder froze, and all other pain was forgotten. So for 6 weeks, I made daily trips to the radiation oncologist, and afterward over the hill for physical therapy. My husband took such very good care of me.


I'm happy to report that this happened over 17 years ago, I have survived and I can craft like a boss!
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Old 02-09-2018, 03:15 AM   #28
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Linda,thank you! I always look to see if I can see a 'real' name, lol! Second, wow, what a story! So pleased the Breast cancer was dealt with so well. I can imagine the fear was so much worse that long ago as well, as so many advances in treatment have been made in the intervening years. Some of us are so very lucky to have Hubbies that would do anything for us- mine has been the most amazing support and has looked after me so much during all my bowel cancer treatment/surgery/ recovery. That is something to be eternally grateful for. Like you, I'm sure, the thought of facing all we've been through without that level of love & care scares me more than the cancer! Huge hugs, XX
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