A Pain In The Neck - Literally

Lounge By mjballinger Updated 15 Nov 2008 , 12:55am by mocakes

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mjballinger Posted 11 Nov 2008 , 12:32pm
post #1 of 9

Last night I sat for around 3 hours making roses and rosebuds out of gumpaste. Well my neck was killing me by the end of it. I used to have this problem in my late teens (20 years ago) when I would make chocolate stuff for my mom to sell at her work (this was way before I knew about licenses and stuff). I would go to the dr. and he'd adjust my neck and give me little pointers..... frequent breaks, head rolls, etc... I did these as soon as I felt my neck tightening up last night, but they didn't work. I have about 70 more roses to make over the next week.

Do any of you have this problem, and if so, do you have any pointers that I could try? CHEAP pointers, as I've already sunk a great deal of money into this cake, that I'm making as a gift. It's for my sisters' 25th wedding anniversary, so I don't mind, but I don't want to spend much more money!

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tracycakes Posted 11 Nov 2008 , 3:20pm
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I get horrible tension headaches frequently ( 2 or 3 times a week) that started after I had a car wreck in 1989. I have to be very careful about sitting in any position for very long that puts any strain on my neck, that means looking down, looking up, looking sideways, and my worst, sleeping wrong.

So, as you can imagine, I've learned about every trick in the book. I spent all day on Friday making gumpaste animals for my baby shower cake (Bailey Baby Shower in my pics) and there's no way I could have done that without getting a headache unless I learned a few tricks.

- First, try to do as much work as you can holding things up at eye level and not looking down. We get into that habit but it puts a huge strain on our neck.

- More importantly, take frequent breaks - just a minute to sit up, stretch and do a few neck rolls. At least once an hour, stand up, walk around and work out the kinks in your back, shoulders and neck.

- Aleve. Before Aleve came out, my doctor prescribed naprosyn for my headaches, which is what Aleve is. At the first sign of tightness, take 2 Aleve and it will really help.

- My favorite is a shoulder rub. If you can get someone to massage your shoulders, it will release the tension and prevent the headache. At times, my shoulder have been so tight, that the next day, they are sore as if I've worked out too hard. A shoulder massage is really helpful.

Sorry this is so long but I hope these help. I have to be really careful when I'm doing gumpaste or I'll get a headache that will put me to bed for a couple of days or these are what I do. Again, more importantly is to take breaks. Give your neck a rest.

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Mencked Posted 11 Nov 2008 , 3:21pm
post #3 of 9

Can you raise up your work surface so your neck isn't bent at the same angle it was at last night? You might also try putting your feet up on a stool--just to change the angle you're sitting at? Trying for cheap pointers here ya know icon_smile.gif!

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mjballinger Posted 11 Nov 2008 , 7:10pm
post #4 of 9

Thanks for all the advice. I am going to try it all except the Aleve - I have an ulcer and can't take any anti-inflammatory meds. Your cake is adorable by the way!


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mjballinger Posted 11 Nov 2008 , 7:11pm
post #5 of 9

Thanks! I know that from my secretarial days and completely forgot!

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Mike1394 Posted 11 Nov 2008 , 8:23pm
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Yes, change your arm postition. I.E. 1 rose higher, 1 rose lower.


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tracycakes Posted 11 Nov 2008 , 8:37pm
post #7 of 9

Thanks Jen! I'm sorry you can't take anti-inflammatory meds. I try to avoid taking them because I have reflux but there are times when I won't be able to function without them. I just make sure to take breaks and stretch. I did the same thing you did the first time I worked on gumpaste roses and learned my lesson...and I knew better!

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mjballinger Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 2:50pm
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Thanks Mike, I tried this and couldn't remember to change my arm position but then I couldn't take the pain and I started having muscle spasms so I got out my card table and put in front of my big comfy chair to watch tv and it changed my arm position just enough to help!! I got 20 more roses done last night and my neck doesn't hurt more than it did yesterday - it doesn't hurt less, but whatever. lol
I also switched up doing other things so that it wasn't constant rose making - covering the cake board, glueing a zillion little pearls and crystals to floral wire, etc.... Giving my daughter a bath helped the most - all that nice warm water!

As a side note, I got one of the rose cutters - it has five petals and you can make really fast roses. I always thought it was "cheating" but my roses look so much better using it!
I'll post a picture of this sucker once I get it done, hopefully it will turn out as good as I hope.... cross your fingers!

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mocakes Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 12:55am
post #9 of 9

I have ruptured disks in my neck and have chronic neck issues. icon_cry.gif

I've tried just about everything...I have to be so careful how I hold my head and what I do. I use the gel ice packs everyday (usually at bedtime while I'm catching up on my shows...).

I do 10 minutes on, 10 off and I do that 3 times. It helps the inflammation a lot. Sometimes I resort to a little moist heat....but I always finish up with the ice pack.

Good luck to you...I know how it feels!

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