How to Prevent Neck Injury while Painting?

Neck injury prevention

Recently, I was painting my ceiling, and my neck and arms became very sore.

How can I prevent my neck and arms from getting sore the next time that I paint?

Painting is a very challenging task for your neck and arms. It involves a great deal of sustained overhead work with your arms, and also involves looking up with your neck for extended periods. When you make your arms work overhead for several minutes, it is difficult for your body to pump blood to your arms, and your muscles become tired and achy. Also, with your neck looking up for several minutes, it puts a great deal of stress on the spinal cord and nerve structures in the back of your neck. You may start to feel tingling or numbness into your hands after awhile. These are all signs that it is time to take a small rest.

The key to preventing neck and arm pain while painting, it to take a break from painting every hour and do a small stretch. If your neck and arms fatigue faster than that, take a break sooner. You can move your neck from side to side so that your ear is trying to touch your shoulder, keeping your head looking forwards. Hold each side for 30 seconds and repeat. Another stretch to do is looking down, and then side bend your head. You should feel the stretch on the opposite side that you side bend your head. Finally, to get a full extension stretch of your neck, tuck your chin in first, then look up to the ceiling, with you chin being the last to let go. Only go back as far as is comfortable, don’t push it.

If your neck and arm pain persists for a few weeks without going away, contact your physician, or a physiotherapist.

Helpful hints by Tina and Connie at the Halton Community Rehabilitation Centre, 86 Main Street East, Milton, 876-1515.

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