Aches and Pains...

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Forum topic by Chip posted 03-23-2007 06:10 PM 2333 views 0 times favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 5177 days

03-23-2007 06:10 PM

I don’t know about the rest of you, but it only takes me a couple of hours in the shop before my back starts aching. I have the pre-requisit comfortable shoes and matting on the floor. I take care to find a comfortable position to do long, tedious tasks. But no matter what, after a couple of hours I start aching and have to stop to stretch and walk around for a while. I’m 6’4” so maybe this has something to do with it, I don’t know. And I’m older now, but it’s always been an issue.

I was just curious if any of you out there had the same problems like back aches, neck aches, knee or leg aching/fatigue and if so, have you developed any tricks along the way to counter them. Special exercises maybe, or little tricks for doing different tasks. Have you got thoughts about the height of equipment, tables, etc. Do you limit your shop time, etc? Even what ointments and stuff you think might work better then others to relieve the aches.

Well, I’ve read numerous articles about working comfortably but I thought this was something most of us must go through and that it might be a useful topic to hear about right from the horses mouth (so to speak). It would be great to hear some comments

Thanks for any thoughts.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

35 replies so far

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5182 days

#1 posted 03-23-2007 06:30 PM

Have you checked the hight of your workbench/working areas? Perhaps they are too low.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View BassBully's profile


261 posts in 5181 days

#2 posted 03-23-2007 06:57 PM

WayneC is right, you’re 6’4” and the benches in your shop were probably designed for a shorter individual. I know many people aren’t fans of chiropractors but back adjustments help me out (although I’m not 6’4”). You can also lift weights and isolate the back muscles to help strengthen your back.

-- There are three types of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5245 days

#3 posted 03-23-2007 07:10 PM

and they say that to improve backaches you have to strengthen your stomach muscles.

For me, it is my feet that ache. We just have a cement floor so far with no mats but I do wear spongy-bottomed shoes to provide that cushion for me feet.

Here’s an exercise that I do to stretch out my back: lean over at waist and relax as much as possible, letting your arms and head dangle, letting the upper body be stretched out by gravity. Then I start taking deep inhales trying to .. hmm how to describe this… I inhale to my hips and then with the next breath, I inhale at the next vertebrae and so on up my spine with each breath. With this strategy, the ribcage is expanded, the spine is extended and is “re-aligned”. On most days I can inhale the stretch right up to my neck. Some days it stops just short of my neck and I can feel the weight/tension there. So I have to do this several times in the day to totally get relaxed and my back stretched out. It really helps me.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View PhilosopherSteve's profile


43 posts in 5170 days

#4 posted 03-23-2007 08:22 PM

Sounds like you describing breathing exercises for Tai Chi Debbie. I did that for a while and the stretches and breathing are great.

Most would say I’m probably not that old yet, but I still get sore when I’m in the shop all day (usually on the weekends). Concrete floors, even with some of the mats, usually give me sore feet. I find that my legs stiffen up too when standing and doing repetive work.

A couple of things I try to do:
1. stop and walk around a bit if I start getting sore. Gets the blood flowing back around the body. If your up for it, run a bit, do jumping jacks, push ups, something like that.
2. Try sitting for a while, that changes the position, gets me off my feet.
3. Stretch a lot. If your chopping mortises, do a quick 30 second stretch between each mortise. Basically, don’t wait to get sore and then stretch.

I find that numerous short breaks help my concentration too. The last thing we need is for our focus to waver when running boards past an uncaring table saw blade.

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5399 days

#5 posted 03-23-2007 10:18 PM

Same problems here, but I’m just 5’8”. I think it is more about just having a bad back. It’s a real problem for me because this is my living. I end up working shorter days, but seven days a week. I just getting old and worn out!

View Karson's profile


35273 posts in 5485 days

#6 posted 03-23-2007 10:25 PM

Mine is weight. I have put down rubber mats over most of the floor. I bought 2 sets of 10 X 10 rubber mats that are used in horse stalls from a farm supply. They have interlocking edges to lock them together. So the center of the floor is all rubber. The sides where the tools are, are on cement.. I’ve also put mats in front of the workbench.

But it still pains. I try not to stay in anyone place too long. I was cutting 1/4” off of some small pegs at the toy woodworking group on Wed. and i was leaned over a saw for an hour and I noticed my back getting tight. So I stopped, moved around sat down. and then worked in shorted bursts.

Getting old is not fun.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5411 days

#7 posted 03-24-2007 04:40 AM

Those anti-fatigue mats are great. You also need to have work surfaces at the right hight to minimize bending… also in addition to your abs, your hamstrings really affect your back. Stretching those (like a few sets of 10 second toe-touches, hurdlers stretch, etc..) before, during and/or after work is a good idea.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Don Mitchell's profile

Don Mitchell

40 posts in 5220 days

#8 posted 04-01-2007 04:51 AM

Once I put mats down things got a lot better. Main thing for me is to not stay in one place to long. If I have a lot of cuts to do over and over again instead of staging everything where I can reach it without moving my feet, I stage it so I have to take a couple of steps to reach it.

Getting old is not for sissy’s!

-- Don

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 5395 days

#9 posted 04-01-2007 02:40 PM

I had developed a bone spur on my left heel and read that it was caused by standing on concrete floors. I had been doing a lot of turning on the lathe that year without any mat. I have since made it a point to stand on a rubber mat, especially when using my lathe, because it is the one machine that I can spend hours just standing in front of. My tablesaw and planer are machines that I usually move around more when using. After spending a lot of time in my shop and since I’m a diabetic, I find my feet ache more than any other part of me. I’m 5’ 8”, too.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Drew's profile


19 posts in 5160 days

#10 posted 04-01-2007 03:41 PM

The best mats to get are the ones for the restaurant industry. I “came across” a few of these babies when a bar down the street shut down. I climb telephone poles for a living and coming into my shop at the end of the day, my feet and back never felt better after using those mats.

-- What would Marc do?

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5245 days

#11 posted 04-01-2007 03:47 PM

I just bought a really thick mat that is for camping. It is really nice.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Drew1House's profile


425 posts in 5172 days

#12 posted 04-02-2007 02:12 AM

I have reverted to chemistry… I sometimes pre-empt a busy day by getting amped up on ibuoprofin in advance and I relly like my Merrill shoes.


-- Drew, Pleasant Grove, Utah

View Greg3G's profile


815 posts in 5170 days

#13 posted 04-02-2007 02:42 AM

What a great topic. I have notice that the more I sit during the week, the more I ache in the shop. I have taken up walking for about 30 minutes a couple times a day, nothing stressful, just get out and move a little bit. Over the years, all the injuries I suffered in my days in the army are catching up with me, my shoulders are trashed, hips are achy, knees and feet are bad. (did a lot of walking and jumping out of perfectly good airplanes :) Drew is correct, if chonic ache is becoming a problem, try using “Tylenol, Motrin, and Aleve” but do not take the same one all the time. I learned this in the Army, Tylenol especially will build up and damage your liver. I will rotate them every week.

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View johnnybwood's profile


48 posts in 5168 days

#14 posted 04-02-2007 09:22 AM

I’m 6’3” myself so I know what you mean. I’ve also noticed that I’d get pretty sore and achy after a couple of hours of doing the same thing. Personally, I think that the key is to move around every so often, with the “so often” being a function of the intensity required by the task at hand. More intensity, more often. I make it a point to do as much as possible seated, too, otherwise I’d probably end up looking like Quasimodo from hunching over my bench all the time. All of the other mat and stretching suggestions are great, too, and will make things even more comfortable and, by extension, will result in better work. As to the getting older problem, I’ll have to wait and see how that pans out. I’m only 57.

-- JWB

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5245 days

#15 posted 04-02-2007 11:38 AM

I’m laughing at “jumping out of perfectly good airplanes” hehehee

I rarely take the “chemistry” route but I’ll tuck away that piece of advice re: rotating brands.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

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