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Anyone get pains in the shoulder blade from sawing?

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  • Anyone get pains in the shoulder blade from sawing?

    One of the posters on a MSN scroll saw group talked about getting a pain in his shoulder blade and that it appeared to be related to the use of his scroll saw. I too have this problem which also goes down my left arm. It seemed to start when I began my new hobby. I know that this isn't a site about medical ailments but I figured this might be related to my newfound most favorite hobby. What the heck, It's not like this is a site for antique dealers so I thought it might be a subject for scroll sawyers.

    Now my question. Have any other of you had / have this problem and if so, what have you done about it other than continuing to push the wood?


  • #2
    What you have going on there is upper back/shoulder muscle soreness.

    Best thing you can do is stretch several times duriing the day.

    Back: Grab something stable about waist high, put your feet close the the stationary obect...keep legs straight and pull while lowering your body.

    Shoulders: Straighten arm, then put it across your chest, take other arm and pull/stretch it as far as it can go.

    Hold all these stretches for about 15-20 seconds...never bounce!
    If my instructions are so bad you can't follow them... do a google search on stretching... you'll find better instructions and probably some pictures.

    When all else fails: Advil, Tylenol, Aleve... morphine... etc.


    • #3
      Sorry but I couldn't help but chuckle at this.
      What the heck, It's not like this is a site for antique dealers so I thought it might be a subject for scroll sawyers.
      It struck a funny bone with me because sometimes the problem is worse when you are an antique scroller like I am . I think 47th wedding anniversary this past Monday puts me into the antique class

      I think most of us get those shoulder pains sometimes but I find that being away from scrolling and then doing too many hours at a time brings it on. When I scroll about 4 hours every day over a period of a few weeks , my shoulder muscles get accustomed to it and the pain leaves. But if I only quit for a few days or weeks , I have to work up to getting those muscles conditioned all over again.
      Sitting with a straight back and a stool height that puts your elbows and forearms at the same level as your saw table helps. Also tilting the saw forward a little also helps. My saw has an adjustable back leg and I have it raised about three inches higher than the front legs.

      Grizz gave you some great stretching suggestions if you have room in your shop to do that. My shop is so small that I bump into a power tool every time I turn around. Heck . . I have to step outside the door just to change my mind.

      The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us

      Delta P-20 Scroll Saw, 14" x 43" Craftex Wood Lathe and Jet 10" Mini Lathe .


      • #4
        I have a pinched nerve in my left shoulder which get aggravated by long scrolling sessions. I stop every so often and stretch, walk around and even use a barbell in a "mini" workout.

        There's a fine line between woodworking and insanity, I'm just not sure which side of the line I'm on!


        • #5
          Keeping your wrists above your knuckles as you scroll (like a typist or pianist) should minimise the strain. Of course, you may have to adjust the height of your saw in order to do this.

          There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
          (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)


          • #6
            Harris, I can beat Mr. Young by 3 years, we celebrated our 50th this last Oct. 23. I used to get a pain in my neck and shoulders while scrolling and finally noticed that I was very tense and learned how to relax while sawing and the pain went away. When I don't scroll for a few days I can notice it again and try to relax. Just my 2¢ worth.
            Happy anniversary Bill. Mick
            Mick, - Delta P-20

            A smile is a small curve that straightens everything out.


            • #7
              It boils down to ergonomics its the position in which you are hold your body as you are scolling. Stretching is a great idea but it will only help but not solve the problem. You need to find a comfortable position to scoll in. I dont know what that would be for you but you could try searching for Desk ergonomic positions. The position of holding your head down while scrolling is putting pressure on the nerves that are coming out of your neck and causing a refered pain in the shoulder. Check your setup and see if there is someway you can change it to be more ergonomic and comfortable.

              Disclaimer: Im not a doctor but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
              Teach your Kids to hunt and you wont have to hunt your kids


              • #8

                I agree relaxation is the key, there are times when I am under pressure to get work done my quality drops and my hands and neck get tense.
                Equally important to though it the hieght of your saw. I am fortunate enough to have a stand that is perfect for sitting at with a stool or standing at.
                When I tire of one I switch to the other.
                There are some great exercises to do to reduce the strain.
                Here is a pdf file for a booklet on ergonomics and exercises. It is a 717kb file. It is from the Workers Compensation Board of Alberta. There are many other links out there, just Google it
                CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
                "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
                Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


                • #9
                  HAPPY BELATED ANNIVERSARY Bill and Zeta!
                  HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!


                  • #10
                    It's also a matter of stress and tension during the job. Make it a point to drain the tension out frequently while scrolling, by leaning back away from the work, arching your back slightly, and doing a "yawning" type of gentle stretch. The tension doesn't hurt you if it doesn't have the chance to build up. Interrupting it this way for, really, just five seconds every couple of minutes will make a big difference.


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