Stupid hand sawing can be dangerous

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Forum topic by Ray posted 12-21-2014 02:55 AM 1145 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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126 posts in 1999 days

12-21-2014 02:55 AM

In December 1992, a 58-year-old man injured himself on an outing with his family to saw down a tree, said Dr. Scott Davies, chief of medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minnesota. After the man found the perfect fir, he lied down on the ground, on his right side, and started sawing with his right hand.

The man held his head off the ground and twisted it to the left to give himself some leverage to cut the tree, but he felt a pain in the right side of his neck. The pain intensified as he continued sawing, but he was almost done, so he finished the job.

The discomfort persisted over the next few days, causing a stiffness and pain in the right shoulder and arm. Some nights, he had trouble breathing on his back, and tried sleeping in a chair instead. Heat and painkillers helped a little, but an X-ray of his chest found the real culprit: his right diaphragm — a muscle that sits below the lungs and helps people breath — was elevated. Moreover, later tests showed it was paralyzed.

An unrelated X-ray taken nine months before showed that both of the man’s diaphragms were the same length before the accident.

Davies explained how the injury likely happened. “Naturally, as you push the repeated saw strokes, the muscles in your neck start to cramp up,” he said. “You’re twisting your neck away from the ground to get leverage to saw the tree. Normally, if it starts to hurt, you stop.”

But the man persisted, and his position put pressure on one of the body’s two phrenic nerves, which start in the neck and help control the movement of the diaphragm.

“It’s a very odd, peculiar way of inuring your phrenic nerve,” Davies said. “It’s probably never happened to anyone else.”

The man’s other phrenic nerve was fine, allowing him to breath with the left side of his diaphragm.

“He got the Christmas tree, but he would have been better off to cut it down with a chain saw,” Davies said.

-- Creating less fire wood every day

5 replies so far

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3038 days

#1 posted 12-21-2014 03:30 AM

I agree hand tools are scary and cause carpal tunnel, frustration, malcontent, and some beutiful furniture. Chainsaws are the way to go for sure, no woories there.


View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2967 days

#2 posted 12-21-2014 03:37 AM

Any way to correct a typo in a title?
I wasted several minutes thinking about what AHND SAWING was. Duh! It’s HAND ASWING. Right?

View Ray's profile


126 posts in 1999 days

#3 posted 12-21-2014 05:02 AM

Typo corrected- thanks

-- Creating less fire wood every day

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15348 posts in 2615 days

#4 posted 12-21-2014 05:07 AM

Crank, that’s funny stuff! Thanks for the chuckle!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1315 posts in 1931 days

#5 posted 12-21-2014 05:11 PM

Interesting. Weird how we can overcome pain if we concentrate on it. 99.9% of the time it doesn’t do much damage. BUT, sometimes it does.

I was doing leg squats in college and had a similar experience. My back was sort of hurting, but not real bad, and the weight was light. Finished my workout and tried to walk out to the car. I had to sit down 3 times on the way to the car and it took about 30 minutes to go about 500 feet. I had slowly herniated a disc in my back. It still hurts right now, 8 years later. Stupid…

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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