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  • Machinist backache

    Backache between my shoulderblades. Just feels like a muscle that is holding something just can't keep doing it but a few more seconds but it just stays feeling like that for a while until I finally have to sit or lie down. I'm fairly active all day and if I'm walking, lifting, hammering, shoveling etc it doesn't seem to bother me. Standing on concrete in front of the lathe or mill doing something tedious seems to be the worst for it. Over the counter Aleve, Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen which work for other aches and pains have no effect. Tried new shoes today, still no help.

    Any ideas from you doctors of machinery?

  • #2
    Is your machinery too low? Are you having to bend over to reach tools? The other day I was at the grinder and for various reasons, I ended up having to lean over a little while grinding. About 2 hours later I was feeling it in my lower back, and bad.

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    • #3
      Standing on concrete
      I am taking you mean literally, and while it may not be the only cause it is likely a contributing factor.
      I found a lot of relief putting a rubber mat down, did not have one of the fatigue mats but used a mat typically found in front of commercial doorways, nubs maybe 3/4". Some think it is the cushioning effect, others say its just getting some "insulation" between your body and the concrete. I found the mat a lot more effective than changing shoes.

      I've been involved with sports most of my life and fairly often the weakness (muscular) is on the opposite side of the body from the ache itself. Not saying you do but many, myself included, don't sit very well, that slouch with shoulders rolled slightly forward and down. The chest muscles become so shortened the muscles of the back are just not strong enough to hold the shoulders rearward where they should be...
      Like Tony said, it sounds like things are just too low.
      OT but we've got sinks at work that are just in the wrong spot for me (I'm 6' 4") little lower and I would bend at the knees, little higher and I would just lean forward...its just at the most awkward spot, hate it.
      Last edited by RussZHC; 08-10-2014, 06:06 PM.

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      • #4
        Start taking low dose asprin, that pain might not be your back at all, go see your doctor, you may be suffering with angina or some ticker related problem, not saying you have but its worth a check, having collected heart attacks myself the back pain was present before
        Mark

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        • #5
          I had a very similar pain from riding my Triumph Sprint RS "sport tourer" for years, in a leaning forward position. It got better when other riders told me to look up with my eyes rather than bending my neck. It's gone now that I switched to a sitting upright Triumph Tiger 800 "adventure bike."

          How much do you (GKman) bend your neck while running your machines? Consider putting them up on risers of 4 to 6 inches (100-150mm) if at all possible. I have my lathe, a Victor 1640, sitting on 2" (50mm) risers and do get a little bit of the same pain when working on it for more than a couple of hours at a time without a long break.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by boslab View Post
            Start taking low dose asprin, that pain might not be your back at all, go see your doctor, you may be suffering with angina or some ticker related problem, not saying you have but its worth a check, having collected heart attacks myself the back pain was present before
            Mark
            x's 2 a heart problem can present itself as a backache.Could also be a hiatal hernia or even acid reflux.
            I just need one more tool,just one!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by GKman View Post
              Backache between my shoulderblades. ...<snip>...

              Any ideas from you doctors of machinery?
              Try talking to a doctor of medicine. I would suggest as soon as possible.

              And take an aspirin (low dose or full size) a day until then, just in case.

              SERIOUSLY!!!
              Paul A.
              SE Texas

              And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
              You will find that it has discrete steps.

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              • #8
                Thanks for all the replies, sounds like I have numerous peers (hiatal hernia, acid reflux, heart, stooped posture, 81mg asprin). Have had excellent results with specific exercises to target LOWER back and knee problem and over the counter meds work on both too but not finding anything (online anyway) for upper back. Think I'll bite the bullet and see my doc, vacation in England in 30 days, sure want to feel good for it. Thanks again and keep those cards and letters coming in folks.

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                • #9
                  Early on I was taught, because I complained about back pain while working a lathe, to simply rest my foot up on the chip tray or something rather than make my back take the brunt of the effort. It helps TONS.

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                  • #10
                    Have not done much lathe work lately, but yesterday and the night before I spent about 3-4 hours in front of it. I have the rubber mat, and it helps, but I did get a backache. I was thinking that maybe the lathe is too low- I'll have to consider raising it.

                    Also I caught myself stressing- not wanting to make a mistake. I had to consciously make myself relax several times. For some reason I do tend to hold my mouth funny when doing the actual machining. I learned that here- thanks guys

                    I started going through the mental routine- does it help? No? Stop doing that. Tensing my back muscles- does it help? No? Stop doing that too- . I went for a walk, then came back to it.
                    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                    • #11
                      +1 on see-ing the Doc, but you may have to do a good job with details,
                      and if he's a poor listener (as many doctors are) he'll have decided on a thing
                      before you're done with your first sentance.

                      You gotta know your Doc.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Old Hat View Post
                        ... he'll have decided on a thing
                        before you're done with your first sentance. ...
                        laughed out loud at this one. so true. I think the statistics say that general practitioners usually
                        tune out after ~15 seconds. So hit them hard and hit them fast.. kind of like a good google search,
                        just the important key works.

                        Also your machines might be too low. I picked my grinder up about 4" from the floor and it makes a
                        world of difference. Am considering doing the same with the lathe.

                        I get it in the lower back.. not so much pain.. but when I spend more than an hour hunched over
                        a machine I find myself hunched all day long.. like can't straighten out again. I really feel it when
                        I lay down at the end of the day.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tony View Post
                          laughed out loud at this one. so true. I think the statistics say that general practitioners usually
                          tune out after ~15 seconds. So hit them hard and hit them fast.. kind of like a good google search,
                          just the important key works.

                          Also your machines might be too low. I picked my grinder up about 4" from the floor and it makes a
                          world of difference. Am considering doing the same with the lathe.

                          I get it in the lower back.. not so much pain.. but when I spend more than an hour hunched over
                          a machine I find myself hunched all day long.. like can't straighten out again. I really feel it when
                          I lay down at the end of the day.
                          Tony you are getting old! You better get your daughter trained up soon.
                          Location: The Black Forest in Germany

                          How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

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                          • #14
                            I'd go see a masseuse before I'd see a doctor.
                            Gary


                            Appearance is Everything...

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                            • #15
                              I get it between the shoulder blades when I am hunched over a machine for long periods of time. It's sort of a stabby pain that can radiate up into the shoulders and neck. The actual spot that it radiates from is very tiny.

                              Massaging that spot helps a lot, but it is difficult to do yourself. I'll sometimes lean back on a tennis ball, against a chair back. They also make them on sticks, so you can more easily position it on The Spot.

                              Maybe you could suggest your wife attend massage therapy school?

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