Ergonomics for Beaders
Ergonomics - equipment and practices designed for the human body to prevent injury as well as optimize well-being and performance.
As those of us who often get lost in our work sometimes come to realize: beading for long periods of time can cause pain. This can be a pain in the back from sitting improperly or pain in the hands, wrist or arm from repetitive tasks such as opening and closing a lot of jumprings. Here is some advice and tips to prevent injury and relieve pain while creating your jewelry designs.
Let's start with your workspace or studio. It should not be cramped. You need enough room to find your jewelry-making components without having to twist, bend or otherwise gyrate to get in and out of position, which can lead to injury. Organizers will help keep your most often used components within comfortable reach and will reduce overall room clutter.
Before you sit down, you may want to do some simple stretches to improve muscle elasticity and control. This will give you more flexibility and range of motion.
You should sit as close as you can to your work table or surface. Avoid bending over or stretching too far to reach the work or supplies. Bring the work to you. Make sure you have plenty of light from a workplace lamp you can direct onto the work area. And for intricate work, a magnifier or jeweler's loupe will reduce eye strain and prevent headaches. Again, you want to bring the work closer to you as much as possible instead of bending over it excessively.
Repetitive Stress--Awareness is Key
As it is in overcoming many difficulties, awareness about repetitive stress is the key. Because you are so passionate and driven about jewelry-making, you may not be aware you are working longer and harder than is good for you. Repetitive stress, or repetitive strain injury, is a painful condition of muscles, nerves and tendons that can lead to bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis and two of the most common: trigger finger and tennis elbow.
The first step to avoiding repetitive stress injury is taking lots of breaks. About every hour, get up and walk around, stretch any tight muscles, take a sip of water and give your eyes a rest by looking out the window at something in the distance. Set a timer or alarm on your phone or computer to remind you.
Use the Right Tools
Wearing a wrist brace and using the right tools will also help prevent stress and strain. We offer a line of ergonomic tools expressly designed for beading and jewelry making including pliers such as Wubbers® pliers, FISKARS® scissors and many more. And to help you learn proper techniques and how to use the tools properly, we have a library of how-to videos.
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