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Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

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Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by SusannaMosley on Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:01 pm

Ok... so I've been doing some pretty long face painting events. Like 5 hours strait through...with maybe two 5 minute potty breaks ( If I sound like I have a 3 year old its because I do Smile

And by the time I am finished my back is dying... and it last for a week or more.
I have looked all over and I cannot find an answer to this in advice or technique of posture.

I have taken the following steps with no relief in sight so far:

1. Gotten a tall stool for the kids so they are eye level
2. Sit on the edge of my seat and try to maintain a more strait posture which I usually maintain without trying... mamma taught me well Smile
3.Placed the children very close to me to avoid leaning (which I believe is the root problem)
4.Taken more breaks... still doesnt help...
5.Tried standing... but my painting isn't as good and I cannot go as quickly... and then my back still hurts.

I have never had back pain before this so its not a previous problem. I think Im just going about this the wrong way.

Im sorry this is such a long post... Im just frustrated and at my wits end....

Does anyone have any advice for this... what do you do? Or is it something that I will just have to get used to until my body adapts to this angle of work.


How does everyone situate themselves when painting children?
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by Heather Timmons on Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:57 pm

It sounds like you have already trouble shot your situation pretty thoroughly!

If you are sitting, definitely have them sitting right in front of you, with their knees inside yours...sometimes I even have them place their hands on my knees and lean 'towards' me. This really helps!

Take breaks, even if it's just standing and doing a quick 'cat stretch' between kids. While they are moving in and out of the chair, it's a nice mini break for your muscles.

Sometimes we don't realize the tension we are holding in our neck and shoulders from the stress of the fast pace. Do shoulder shrugs (move your shoulders up high as you can go...next to your ears...hold a few seconds, and then release). You will be amazed at how they go lower and realize you were holding them near your ears with tension!

If standing, then make sure you have room to move around and up close to the 'director's chair'. I can stand and paint if wearing good shoes in this manner. I don't get as stiff as sitting, but your feet will feel it later usually. It's a toss up, overworked feet, or a stiff sore back and backside from sitting!

Get a massage and see a chiropractor, maybe you have a subluxed disc or something else going on. Otherwise...it's something that goes hand in hand from doing those crazy long events without proper 15 minute or longer breaks.
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by Just Jenny on Sat Sep 19, 2009 11:44 pm

Do Stretch. your arms, legs, everything just like you were going to do very athletic exercises. Then because you already know that this is happening to you....Take Aleve, Aspirin, or the pain reliever of your choice WHEN YOU BEGIN your job, not when you start feeling the pain.

I know what you mean, back pain is the pits. For me, I like to stand when I paint and I use those foam pads to stand on....if I only bring one, then it's placed where I stand the most. I put Pro-foot pads with arch support in my shoes (and always in my crocs), and I'm good to go. (as you can tell, I'm really a woose, I also try to remember to pack a banana and an energy drink like boost too.)

It's amazing how long you can paint before you realize that you're hurting too.....It's almost like when the job is done and suddenly you realize that everything hurts and you wish someone else would pack up your stuff.

Good luck. Let us know what works for you.

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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by SusannaMosley on Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:11 am

Thank you so much.... Im excited to tell my husband that I "need" a back massage for work purposes Smile And I need to keep reminding the children to lean into me... they seem to always float away until the end and they are as far away from me as they possibly can be in the chair.
I get into a zone where hours go by and I havn't eaten or had anything to drink... I even forget to pee... Smile Just kid after kid after kid... Im sure everyone gets caught into that ...
... and that really rings true... I dont even realize Im in pain until the last kid is walking away and I stand to clean.... and Im definitly going to be preemptive about the Aleve....
... and Stretch.... stretch... stretch...got it!

Thank you so much. I feel a bit silly not thinking of all these great preventions beforehand .... but Im so glad you guys helped...I will let you know !

Susanna
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by AngieAnders on Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:58 am

It's so ironic to see this topic today of all days. I just got done with a 9 hour event of straight painting with no breaks, and my back is killing me!! I know most of what caused my problem. Hunching over very young kids trying to see their little faces. Not a lot I can do to prevent that aside from sitting on my stool (I stand to paint) but even then I am having to really lean forward which makes it even worse. Sitting the children on a fat cushion to raise them up may help, but there's no time for all of that with a line formed and waiting. I don't think back pain can be completely avoided. On a long gig, it's just something we have to deal with. I take ibuprofen for it, wear Crocs while painting, try to shift positions as often as possible... stretching helps a good bit too. I stand with the child in a tall director's chair, and all of my paints at about elbow-height so I don't have to bend to reload. These things all help, but on a 8+ hour day of painting, I know my back will hurt by the time I get home. I wish there was an instant cure for it!
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by JBax on Sun Sep 20, 2009 1:31 am

Amen to all of it! 9a-6p. We got a brief lul to eat something (thank goodness) but it was pretty steady all day. My feet hurt and my back aches, and yep.. didn't really feel it until the last kid.

I love my director's chair, but the little ones are not quite high enough, so I think may look for a booster seat like what they use at restaurants. And crocks, huh? I really don't like the looks of them, but if they really feel that good, I don't care how cute my feet are.

But today did go really well.... I love it when the weather cooperates!
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by LoneWolf on Sun Sep 20, 2009 3:38 am

I normally stand with the children in a tall director chair, and then have them lean there head more or less back till I can see there face clear, without having to arch my back. And I take my time to make sure the head stays up. Even if it takes a bit longer. I tell the children that if they sit with their head forward I can only see the top of the head, and I can not paint that (or something like that). And to the parents that I have to think about good working postures. Everyone have a lot about that on work, so they can relate, and don't get irritated.

When I do need to bend, I try to remember doing it at the lower back (So you make more of a v shape, not a c shape). That is doing a big difference! So I can paint for many hours, even in shoes with a heel, without problems.

It is more of a problem if I have to sit, since I always wears skirts, so I can not place the children's knees between mine. Instead I have the chairs very close, almost my chairs right front touching their chairs left front. I still bend at the lower back, and if the children are really small, I rest my elbows on my legs, for support. I do have a minor twist in my back with that solution, so after some time, I move the chairs so I twist to the other site.

And Susanna, your profile picture is beautiful!
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by Kristal on Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:04 am

Ooh, I didn't even think about a booster seat! Where could you get one that would work with the director's chair? I only bring my director's chair to events - because I do balloons, too, I can't bring anything else with me to birthdays - I'm already totally loaded down! Plus, the one I have now is wood, and way heavy - I have an aluminum one on my birthday/Christmas wish list, though...I may have already mentioned it once or twice...haha.

My favourite Holey Soles have rips in the bottom Sad I've had them since...'05, so I can't really complain - but they've changed the shape of them since then, and I'm picky so I'm loathe to get the new ones...haha. Next summer I'm going to work them back into one of my costumes, I think.

I never thought about taking a pain killer beforehand, either...that's a good idea.

What we really need are lightweight, portable, adjustable hydrolic (sp?) chairs...haha
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by Metina on Sun Sep 20, 2009 9:02 am

Who stands and who sits? I did an 8 hour job and was standing and painting for at least 6 of it and didn't have any back pain. I stand when I paint. I know that for really demading, long jobs I get some stiffness.

How are your set-ups? Are you lugging lots of stuff and struggling to put up a heavy table and tent before hand. This will stress your back as well.

I just bought this cart and used it for the first time yesterday and although my set up needs some tweaking, I was thrilled.


http://www.stacksandstacks.com/

Along with my stuff, I was able to place three chairs and my pop up tent on it and wheel it to a festival from my parking spot. It won't be great for off road type jobs, but has completely eliminated a need for a table.

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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by Just Jenny on Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:32 am

JBax wrote: And crocks, huh?
Crocs are a two headed beast....They feel so comfy when you wear them, like going bearfoot but don't be fooled....Planter faciatious (SP) will follow if you don't add an insert that has a good arch in it. (It feels like a heel spur) You won't notice quickly, but if you wear them the crocs for a long period, like a 4 or 6 hour job (Or Like a weeks vacation, and walk around sightseeing in say Florida), it will get ya.

I speak from experience. When I went to the foot Doc he was going to make me some orthopedic inserts, my pain was that intense. He said I could try store bought arch support in the interim , and gave me stretching exercises for my feet. Like I said the pain crept up on me, and I felt it much later after I was home and back to work, where I'm on my feet all day and wearing steel toe boots. I never even mentioned the crocs to the Doc, I hadn't suspected them at all, like I said they feel so comfy. I then consulted my private nurse (my sister in California, who is a nurse) the first thing she asked was about the Crocs....She suggested the 2/3 length arch support, and to wear them in the crocks. So now I still can wear the super comfy Crocs and have the arch support that keeps our feet feeling good. It was at this same time that the Doc also recommended the foam pad to stand on....so even at my day job, I have a foam pad to stand on when I'm working in one place. That helps both my feet and my back. I did the stretching exercises for my feet, and didn't have to get the orthos afterall. I buy ProFoot Triad Orthotic. They are made in the USA, and their web site is www.profootcare.com if you want to take a peek at their stuff. They are cheaper then Dr. Scholls and I usually buy mine at Wal Mart.

Sorry to make this so long, but I remember how bad my feet hurt then and my back, and how much the inserts and the foam on the ground helped. If I can spare just one person that pain, then I'm a happy woman.

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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by JBax on Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:53 am

Thanks for the shoe info... I'll check it out. Hubbs just got diagnosed with plantar fasciatis (sp?) and I don't want that!

We could make our first millions if we could design a portable hairstylist's station... squishy mat to walk on, booster seat, chair that elevates, they even have adjustable stools some of the stylists sit on!

I'm still working out the booster seat idea. I have a wooden director's chair too, and I love it. I recently bought the FatMax (thanks Forum Family for the idea... I LOVE IT), so I bought some coat-hook type things to hang off the front and a bungee to load my chair onto the FatMax for transporting. So, I'd like it to hang off the "rigging" somehow for easy transport. I think the restaurant ones would be perfect (2 heights) except they are bulky, so I think I'll scope out thrift stores and yard sales for the at-home kind.
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by AngieAnders on Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:37 pm

Ditto on the Crocs, they can definitely cause foot problems if you wear them for extended periods. I only wear mine while working on my feet at gigs. (They are too ugly to wear anywhere else, lol.) So far I've not had any problems, and the relief to my feet still amazes me. I can work literally all day without my feet hurting in the Crocs, while two hours in regular shoes makes them ache. But they do have their drawbacks.

As for the ugliness, try a pair of their flip flops. The sole of the shoe is the same, but from the top they look like regular flip flop sandals. Be sure to get the ones with fabric thongs though. They have a stule with rubber/foam thong and it looks weird on the foot.
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by Just Jenny on Sun Sep 20, 2009 6:15 pm

I love ugly. They look beautiful to me. they look like they were made for a human foot to go into....and be treated kindly. I'm not a shoe person, and I couldn't care less what they look like, just so my feet are comfortable in them. Well, now everyone knows that I have no fashion sense at all.

I guess if I ever get to go out to dinner or anywhere with Angie, I'm just going to have her paint my face and noone will even look at my feet!!!!

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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by AngieAnders on Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:53 pm

Ha - you can wear crocs in front of me anytime Jenny! I think they are cute... with certain attire. geek But I prefer the flip flops!
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by creative lady on Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:52 pm

Yes, see a Back Doctor or exercise specialist, they gave me certain exercises to do to help my back. Also they told me if I am standing in one place for any length of time, to put my foot on a 6 in or so stool. I do this when I'm doing dishes and it helps a lot.
Thank you for bringing up the subject, I need to take my stool with me next time I go face painting.
Also another thing that helps me is a cold ice pack on the spot that is bothering when I get home. Then a hot bath, and sleep.
I do take a pain pill or whatever you want to call them before I start my day, they do help ward off the pain.
I am not a medical person and don't pretend to know everything, I am just telling you what helps me. I suffer with Fibromyalgia and lower back problems and have for 25 yrs.

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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by Perry Noia on Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:26 pm

my main suggestions are a chiropractor and some serious back exercising to get it in shape for the work we do. Very Happy I've recently gone back to the gym after not being able to go for 6 years due to the cost of child care there... but both are in school now, so I can go back to work on my back... and everything else.
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by CottonKandyClown on Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:21 pm

I've had two large babies and 2 c-sections because of it. I blame that for most of my back pain issues so I'm use to being in pain.

I have had a chiroprator work on me(my hubbys cousin) and he's popped my back with instant relief. It would normally take days to get that knot out of my back.

What I do when he can't work on me is workout. I do yoga and stretches all day. It really helps. I also take brakes a lot.

I notice my posture more now and try to keep it straight as much as possible. It helps! Sometimes I'll sit and paint and sometimes I'll stand to get a brake from the same possession.
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by TheSparklingLady on Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:56 pm

One way I kicked my back pain was to stand BESIDE my mid-height director's chair, on my dominant hand side, with the client and I facing in opposite directions and my table/FatMax in front of me. Made all the difference in the world though it seems counter-intuitive.
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by TheGildedCat on Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:31 pm

Nobody has asked this yet, but what do you do for exercise? It's one thing to deal with this reactively (aleve, massages, shoe inserts), but it's another to be preventative by strengthening the muscles that support you when you're painting.

You've probably heard it a million times, but "core" exercises are beneficial to prevent back pain. Think of your abdominal muscles and back muscles as a girdle that supports your spine. Without strong support, the ligaments, tendons, and bones involved in your spine can stretch, tear, and compress...that equals pain.

This page has pictures of gentle back exercises and stretches you can do to help prevent the pain.

Good luck!
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by CottonKandyClown on Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:20 am

PandoraNoir, I agree. I do Yoga Smile When I feel like changing it up a bit, I'll jog or lift weights.


Last edited by CottonKandyClown on Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by squiggle on Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:40 pm

I painted standing up 11 hours on Sat and 6 hours on Sunday with not one bit of back pain. I have the kids scoot all the way to the front of the chair so I don't have to bend at all, and we got a very tall table to put our supplies on. Not one bit of bending involved and I can move and stretch as I need to. I've also started jogging and doing crunches to help build my stamina and endurance and my core. And I've lost 60 pounds which definitely helps everything! LOL Wink
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by Psalmbook on Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:03 pm

I have really thick soled shoes(tone ups) & I walk around my directors chair. My back has not has problems since I stopped sitting & painting.
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by Mirandas on Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:10 pm

Susana..you should see a doctor..I started to have back problems last year..Horrible pain, I thought it was only a back sore due to hours of painting..I went to see the doctor, I was diagnosed with tears on two discs..Painful.
When I used to have my d.chair, I used a pillow for the back rest to prevent kids from slouching, and when they were too little, I used that same pillow so they could sit on. My pillow is an orthopedic seat cushion, so the foam is heavy and little bulky perfect for both uses. For my feet I wear those skechers shape ups or tone ups (can't remember, i have them in my car), things are horrible looking but so comfy.. My chair broke about a month ago, my temp. chair is not tall enough and can't even fit my pillow so I'm suffering now and if I have to paint for long hours, I'll switch and sit on stools, have the kids puting their legs to the side of my left hips and I will place mine on their side of their hips..That helps alot and prevents me for leaning towards them, I keep my back straight and I just ask to turn their heads sideways so I prevent twisting. It had help me a lot. But I'm looking forward to have my chair back.
I do take painkillers before I start painting and take another one after 4 hrs. At home I do yoga stretches, and heat pads and things like that. I also have accupunture sessions twice a week , they are awesome, and they help me alot.. I think I have said a lot..hope this can help, and please take care of your back! Wink
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by Spectrum on Sat Oct 09, 2010 3:09 pm

Muscle relaxers - gotta have muscle relaxers! Talk to your Dr. about it, my Dr. was really understanding about this and more than willing to give me a RX. Very safe, very effective.
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Re: Back Pain due to face painting for so long...

Post by FunFacesbyLori on Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:10 pm

I had serious back pain and my friend who works at the Cleveland Clinic told me about Dansko shoes. The surgeons wear them because they have such good built in arch support they can stand for hours and their feet and back are supported. They come in dozens of colors and I have hot pink, red and black patent leather. I bought them at the Walking store or on-line. They are pricy but worth it! I paid $120 a pair. I had heel spurs and now they are gone, and Im on my feet a lot. Danskos have been a lifesaver for me.
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