Lynwood Robinson, Didier Mascarade, D.C., and Liza Rodriguez presented a few remedies to occupational aches and pains suffered by TAG members.
At last night's General Membership meeting,Executive Board member K.C. Johnson brought in joint and muscle soreness specialists to speak on (and also demonstrate) remedies for the occupational hazards associated with sitting for eight to twelve hours a day, bent over a keyboard or Cintiq ...
All three of our panelists have worked with staff at many of the major animation facilities, helping people with neck, shoulder and wrist-elbow problems.
Lynwood Robinson stressed that it's important for animators, when sitting most of the day, to get up every forty to fifty minutes and stretch. He recommended reaching high, opening up the back muscles, and stretching out thighs, calfs, ankles.
Didier Mascarade reviewed general work station ergonomics, pointing out that having the right seating position (with spine in the natural "S" curve),, keeping wrists and arms straight and relaxed, and making sure the computer monitor is at a comfortable eye level are all good and useful things.
Mr. Mascarade demonstrated exercises that included bending and dangling arms downward, and rotating them in a circular motion. He pointed out that nerves go from the shoulder to the neck, and that pain is often misdiagnosed.
"To prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, you want to stretch forearm muscles, to stretch the hands up from the wrists. For tendinitis, stretching and strengthening is important. Take short breaks to stretch. It's better to stop problems from happening than have to treat problems ..."
Lynwood Robinson demonstrated stretching routines with a rubber stretch band, showing how, used with arms extended, it helped to loosen and stretch tight muscles.
Liza Rodriguez, a massage therapist, demonstrated shoulder and neck massage techniques.
1) Repetitive-motion injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis, are occupational hazards in the animation industry.
2) The way to minimize injuries is to a) take stretching breaks, b) having an awareness of your neck and spine positions while working, c) jumping on a problem before it develops into a full-blown injury.
3) Don't ignore injuries but get them treated. Injuries don't go away when they're ignored.
The seminar was a good reminder that stretching and short breaks can make a difference in joint and spine health. (I speak from sad experience in saying: "Pretend the problem isn't there and you help the problem get worse.")