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Aching neck and shoulders while mixing. Solutions?
Old 9th December 2013
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Aching neck and shoulders while mixing. Solutions?

Anybody ever get pains from stiff muscles in the neck and shoulder areas, from sitting at the mixing desk for too long?

I notice if I correct my posture while sitting it helps a little. I usually straighten my spine, force my shoulders back and tuck in my chin.

I just wonder if anybody has dealt with this, and if there are any suggestions for alleviating the stiffness and pain?

Thank in advance.
Old 9th December 2013
  #2
Basically, this happens because blod flow through the muscles is hindered. This happens when muscles are tense and/or immobile. So:
1. Relieve tension by making all body parts rest. For example: elbows on arm rest, wrists on table, head upright to relieve neck muscles. Or better: head leaning back on a head rest.
2. Get up and move about as often as possible.

I find the chair to be one of the most important items in my home studio. Buy a used proper office chair and you can spend many more hours making music!
Old 9th December 2013
  #3
Lives for gear
 
skillz335's Avatar
vicoden?. heh. really though, this is problematic for me as well. i do the walk around the room thing and listen to the mix. twofer!..
Old 9th December 2013
  #4
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KRStudio's Avatar
 

High back chair, sit up straight (no slouching) and take your wallet out of your back pocket!
Old 9th December 2013
  #5
Lives for gear
I have to deal with this every day. I got a desk job at a computer all day.

I'll offer another angle. Get rid of any stress involving your work, that might be deadline pressure, bad people, overworking/overcomplicating in an unorganized environment, relax your mind, enjoy what you do.

I'm surprised at how much my own state of mind has an impact on my posture while working. If anythings going on, I will tend to hunch forward, squeeze my shoulders inwards, maybe squinch my facial muscles while working, maybe stare too hard at the screen, maybe my mouse pad/keyboard are moving all over the place, and I'm just not comfortable.

That shoulder and upper spine pain should go away on it's own when your emotional life gets sorted. And it could be a small thing, I'm not suggesting that you've got ultra issues. You're just for some reason, not "loose", you're a bit stiffened up, let something go.
Old 9th December 2013
  #6
Lives for gear
Posture.


I have terrible posture... and the same thing happens to me every time I go to mix a long project.
Old 9th December 2013
  #7
Deleted User
Guest
I train new CS reps at a large call center for Johnson&Johnson, and we are very serious about ergonomics to avoid this. Make sure that the arms of your chair are at the same level and plane as your keyboard/mouse. Set the monitor up in such a way as to have it at a level where you're not looking down, but slightly looking up, at about an arms' length from your seating position. Adjust the chair's seat so that your thighs aren't pushed up and that your feet are flat on the floor. At least this will minimize the strain
on your posture and eyes. Also, get up and stretch those limbs at least every hour!
Old 9th December 2013
  #8
Maybe a little physiology lesson would be useful for some slutz here. I mean: the ache feels like it's deep in the bones - why talk about blood and muscles? It hurts in the shoulders - what does that have to do with wrists and elbows?!?

So here goes. Blood first. This red gooey stuff does (among others) two things: transport fuel to cells and transport waste away. The waste transport is perhaps most important. It's like when you buy a new sofa - you have to get the old one out of the door first, only after that you can fit the new one in place. What, then, makes this transport happen? Well, we all know that the heart is an important player for this job. But for transporting waste the muscles themselves play an important part; when muscles move they contract and because of the way veins are constructed these contractions push the blood away towards the garbage handlers (liver and kidneys). If you sit still, this transport is way less efficient.

Other problems arise when muscles are tense. This makes muscles more immobile but also tends to block blood vessels to that that all-important blood can't get through to work its wonders. You get a build-up of waste and lack of fuel. Tension can happen for a number of reasons. As Smoke says, stress is a common cause. I for one can sit still for hours playing Civilization but when I'm paying my bills my shoulders start hurting after two minutes.

Another reason for tension is static loads and this is where the talk about wrists come in. Hold your hand freely in the air. After a little while you automatically start to make small arm movements, this increases blood flow in the arm muscles. But shoulder muscles are also involved in holding up the hand, not so much that it's obvious at first, but they are involved. And they are more fixed than the arm muscles so the small arm movements don't have so much effect. The load is less heavy but more static, muscles get gradually more tense and the blood stops flowing. Waste piles up. Shoulders hurt.

The body is infinitely complex so there are more possible reasons but I believe blood flow is the biggest enemy to nice long mixing sessions.

So what to do?! You could say "anything that gets your juices flowing, literally speaking". People are different so the solutions will be different. Lessen the stress by doing something fun, or cuddle with your dog, pray, talk to your spouse, chat on Gearslutz.com. Lessen the tension by checking your limbs. Hands and elbows should be supported, head upright so it burdens neck muscles as little as possible, feet on the ground. Increase blood flow by getting up and move. Hey, some of us make dance music - test it by getting up and shaking it!

For me, a good chair makes all the difference. Both at my computer based day work and my nightly fun in the home studio.

At last a word of caution. I am a registered nurse so I do have some education. But I'm not a specialist. Any physiotherapist on the forum is free to correct my possible mistakes...
Old 10th December 2013
  #9
Lives for gear
A little post-it stuck to the bottom of your monitor that says something like

SIT STRAIGHT.

...May work well.
Old 10th December 2013
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
jimi7777's Avatar
 

There is no ideal chair or sitting position. I know people with a 2000 dollar, optimised for their body chair who still have back problems, hurting necks etc. Even if you lie you will get problems with tension.

The human body is not made to be still for long times. It is supposed to be moved. Changing sitting positions all the time, standing up every at least every 30 minutes and go around. Try to position things in your studio in a way that you have to move to get it (of course only the things that you don't use like every 30 secs!). What also works is if you do sports. Being a sporty person will make your work time a lot more comfortable.

What I would not recommend is doing a lot of stretching, if done wrong you can damage things. Stretching is just an addition to being active.


I solved this problem for me that I do a little workout every second day and ride my bike whenever I can. No more pain and I can even concentrate for a longer time
Old 10th December 2013
  #11
Lives for gear
Anyone any experience with massage therapy btw?

I know one girl relayed to me that she felt worse after. She had tennis elbow, tried to treat it with massage sessions, her discomfort increased.
Old 10th December 2013
  #12
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BillSimpkins's Avatar
Sit on a yoga ball. it will be annoying for a few days then after that you may never go back to your chair.
You can put a little sand in them so they are more stable.
Old 10th December 2013
  #13
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSimpkins View Post
Sit on a yoga ball.
I work around all women. I've got to keep some 'man' about me, the little I have left working around here.
Old 10th December 2013
  #14
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Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by smoke View Post
I have to deal with this every day. I got a desk job at a computer all day.
Me too. I answer tech calls all day and I use a bluetooth headset. I spend a good percentage of my day standing, moving, walking around my office...anything. I have a small weight and I use it. I swing my arms around.....anything to get the blood flowing and the muscles moving.

In the studio at night and on the weekends it's the same drill. Sit for a while then put it up on the big monitors and walk around.

Move your body.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thedberg View Post
Get up and move about as often as possible.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KRStudio View Post
take your wallet out of your back pocket!
I'll PM you with an address as to where to send it.
Old 10th December 2013
  #15
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSimpkins View Post
Sit on a yoga ball. it will be annoying for a few days then after that you may never go back to your chair.
You can put a little sand in them so they are more stable.
+1 Makes bad posture an impossibility. The only time I am in a chair is when recording guitar. The first few days your legs will hurt.
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