Artists: Four Ways To Reduce Back & Neck Pain

Artists experience a great amount of eye, back, neck and shoulder strain as they tend to sit in fixed, sometimes uncomfortable positions over long periods of time (is this you??).


Some sit this way purely out of habit and simply don’t realize the uncomfortable positions they are forcing their bodies to accommodate…

What can be done??

1.   Be aware of your work environment and pay attention to pain


Artists can be so engrossed in their work that they simply don’t realize where the pain points are until it’s painful (again, is this you??).  Pay attention to the position of your body, the location of your tools, the height of your chair, and your lighting when you start to notice strain. Sometimes just being aware of the sources of strain will help you make modifications and eliminate them when they arise.

2.  Sit up straight


Use an adjustable, ergonomic chair with adjustable lumbar support and armrests to support your back and the weight of your arms. You would be amazed at how much a chair with armrests helps reduce the stress on your shoulders. A minor adjustment to the height of your chair can make a world of a difference in your comfort.  

armrest drawing

 3.   Wear your complete prescription when working (distance plus reading correction)

Why?  Because it helps you sit at a comfortable, ergonomic working distance.



Many nearsighted people take off their glasses to read or work and they don’t make the connection between taking off their glasses to read and the resulting back and neck pain they get from having to hunch over to see. 

silhouette  man  computing

In addition, added eyestrain can occur if you work without your vision corrected. Trying to work around your actual prescription typically leads to eyestrain and headaches.

4.   Finally, use proper lighting


If you use the same light bulbs you used 20 years ago, it’s time to try some brighter bulbs. As we age, our requirement for light increases (see blog post here: YOU NEED MORE LIGHT). That task lamp that worked for you years ago is likely not bright enough for your work today. It may be forcing you to lean in to see, adding to back as well as eye strain.

For more on the subject, please see this slideshow: