Artists and physical health: how to prevent pain that can stop you from creating

We all know the feeling: you’re sitting at your desk, working on a project, and suddenly you feel a sharp pain in your neck, or your arm. You try to ignore it, but it gets worse and worse until you have to stop what you’re doing and take a break.
This is a common experience for many artists, especially those who work 10-12 hours a day, under a project delivery.
When it comes to the physical well-being of artists, it’s often said that we’re a “precious commodity.” And while that may be true, it doesn’t make the reality any less challenging: many of us deal with pain on a daily basis, whether it be from chronic conditions, repetitive motion injuries, or just the plain old aches and pains that come with getting older.It can be tempting to just power through the pain and hope for the best, but that’s not really an option when your livelihood depends on your ability to create art.
So what can be done to avoid these physical problems and remain productive?

Artists and physical health - Artguilds
Artists and physical health: how to prevent pain from stopping you from creating

First, it’s important to understand that you’re not alone. Many artists struggle with chronic pain, and there are a number of resources available to help you cope.
If you live in America, The American Chronic Pain Association offers support groups, educational materials, and other resources, while the National Pain Foundation provides information and referrals to pain management specialists.
If you live in Europe, or the countries, please, look for informations from your national system health.

1. Take breaks often, and make sure to get up and move around every few hours.

First, it is important to take breaks often.
Get up and move around every few hours to keep your body from becoming stiff. You may make a cup or coffee or tea, or just see outside your window, or go to give a sweet caress to you lovely pet!
Taking a break will also help to refresh your mind and give you a new perspective on your work.
Try to find comfortable positions to work in. If you are constantly hunched over, your body will start to hurt.
Try to find positions that are more comfortable for you and that will allow you to work for longer periods of time without pain, for example, using a using an inclined table, so you don’t bend your back too much.
Be aware of your posture. Poor posture can contribute to pain, so make sure you are sitting or standing up straight. This will help you to avoid pain in the future.

2. Use ergonomic tools and equipment to help reduce the risk of injury

But when it comes to our health, it’s important to choose furniture that will help us stay healthy and avoid injury. Ergonomic furniture is designed to do just that, and an ergonomic chair is a great place to start: it could be your best first investment for you physic health. These chairs are designed to support your back and minimize strain on your neck and shoulders. They can also help you maintain good posture, which is important for overall health.
Another way to improve your posture is to choose a reclining table.
Bad posture is a major cause of many types of injuries. When you sit in a reclined position, it is easier to maintain good posture. The table softens the curvature of the shoulder and allows it to experience much less strain. This can help reduce the risk of injuries such as back pain, neck pain, and headaches.

These are simple choices, which in the working life of an artist, can make all the difference.

Artists and physical health - Artguilds
Artists and physical health: how to prevent pain from stopping you from creating

3. Stretch

We all know how important it is to stay active and exercise regularly. But sometimes, life gets in the way and we can’t always make it to the gym or go for a run. That’s why it’s important to find ways to stay active that fit into our busy lives.

One way to do this is to make sure we stretch and loosen up our muscles, even if we don’t have time for a full workout. Stretching and keeping our muscles flexible can help prevent problems like carpal tunnel, headaches, neck and back pain.

So next time you’re feeling tight or sore, take a few minutes to stretch. Maybe you can do this for the time of a song or two, you like!
Just, to let you know…Hayao Miyazaki does it every two hours, so you do it too!

In conclusion, if you want to be a successful artist, you need to take care of your body and avoid serious work-related damage. With these little tips, you can do just that.
So, keep on drawing, but stretch!
We hope this story helps you if you find yourself in one of these situations, and we suggest reading up on another important issue you may be facing without even knowing it: “Artists And Mental Health: How To Cope With Burnout, Anxiety And Depression”

Written by Tamara d'Amato

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