I was at the zoo the other day and had my camera handy just in time to snap a terrific shot of movement habits that ultimately lead to back pain in photographers. Once you’ve checked out these shots you’ll also start seeing in every one who holds a camera their unconscious bracing that compromises neck and back.
This young girl already has strong curvature in her back just in standing…a long-term postural habit. You don’t have to be highly trained to recognise this do you? It’s pretty much a mirror of her father’s posture. i.e. hips swung forward, knees locked, heavy curvature through her middle back (thoracic spine).
But watch what happens when she starts using her camera.
Can you see the increase in the curvature through her back? Can you see the tension in her arms, her neck, her locked knees? (sorry, I skimped a bit in the photo)
OK, but wait until you see what she does when she takes the camera off and raises it above her head.
Do you think she could compress her spine downwards any more than this? If she did…it might just snap in three places…lumbar, thoracic and cervical!
Ultimately, her shoulders are so tight that she is unable to lift her arms high enough to get the camera strap over her head. Why are her shoulders so restricted? Probably due to the overall downward compression throughout her entire spine.
This young girl may not be experiencing back pain or sciatica at her tender age, but what precedent for the rest of her life is she setting by using her back in such a way now? I guess the question is, “does she have a choice?”
In my experience, she absolutely does have a choice at this age…to not only do it differently, but to prevent a lifetime of problems as her body solidifies into its adult structure.
What Can You Do to Prevent Back Issues When Photographing
- Take a look at the next time you use your camera. Are you able to lift the camera all the way to your eye without tightening your neck or bringing your head down to the camera?
- Apart from lifting the camera to your eye, do you do anything extra to take a photo that you don’t normally do?
- Can you bring the camera up to your eye without tightening your shoulders?
- Do you hold your breath?
- Do you tighten your jaw… or jam your tongue somewhere in your mouth to concentrate?
It might be easier to see other people doing these things before you notice it in yourself…I find that observations of others help me learn about myself.
If your neck and back are complaining after a session of photography, then you are oblivious to what you are doing.
So often our focus is so drawn to a stimulus that we have no idea how we are compromising our physicality for no reason.
What if someone called her name and she suddenly twisted around whilst in this compressed state?
What if someone bumped her and knocked her off balance whilst she was already in this super tense and collapsed state?
What kind of body shape is she going to have in 15 years time if she continues to use her body like this?
I sincerely hope she doesn’t become a photographer…as it will be a painful career choice.
The big question is,
- Does she move like this throughout the rest of the day?
- Is she compressing her spine like this every time she sits down in a chair?
- Is she creating massive tension in her body every time she brings food to her mouth?
Simple movements, over and over again determine our health and shape over time. Take a look at yourself and notice what you do every day…it might be the trigger your health care professional is completely missing when they are attempting to get down to the root cause of your back pain and sciatica.