Growing Pains in the Shop

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Forum topic by , posted 01-31-2015 02:46 PM 1489 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2387 posts in 3784 days

01-31-2015 02:46 PM

Not really a question here, but my body seems to have pains as I get older, I am 42 now wishing I could go back to my 30s. I began our business in 2010 and we are going strong and I love every bit of our small family run business. However, while in the US Navy in my 20’s I ripped my left should up while at Sea while being pinned by a wave under an AAV for a short period of time. After surgery and therapy my shoulder became fairly strong, but never perfect again. Now my should has slowly regressed over time and is now significantly weaker. I have forced myself to learn to live within this limitation.

Then a few months ago I began feeling signs of Tennis Elbow in my right arm. I have never had elbow problems. Now the Tennis Elbow like symptoms have increasingly become severely painful. A week ago I helped a friend move since it appeared he had no other help at all. Goodness, I really began to realize just how weak I have become with a bad left shoulder and what appears to be severe pain with Tennis elbow on my right arm.

One reason I became so excited at acquiring our CNC was the idea of just sliding sheets horizontally without having to physically process the sheets myself. This I knew would minimize a lot of the physical labor on my left shoulder.

And then of course I get what I feel is just normal or average aches in my back, nothing that I consider serious.

So this is not really a question, more than anything I am just sharing here as I am certain many others experience similar aches and pains.

But I don’t want my physical limitations to interfere with what I love to do, and the one thing that provides for my wife and young girls. I do believe the day will come, sooner or later, that we will have to sell off our business as a result of getting older. There are times I entertain the thought of selling off our shop/business for whatever value it has, and going to work for a larger shop while focusing on one aspect of the cabinet trade such as design and drawing work or project manager.

I think I need to ice the elbow and get it healthy again, and then hit the weights and attempt to strengthen the muscles around my joints so as to minimize any joint weakness.

Too be honest, I feel I should not even be posting this because I should really be very thankful for the overall good health I do have. Many others in this world have far more health issues than a bum shoulder and elbow.

-- .

15 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3208 days

#1 posted 01-31-2015 03:17 PM

Could be just a reaction to something in your diet or medication.
I have a bum shoulder and went to the doctor. He had tests run.
Cost me $768 with all the help from medicare and obamacare.
I had too much work to do to go through the recommended rotator cuff surgery and months long rehabilitation.
Took it easy a few days, watched my diet, got extra rest. Problem went away.
And, my shoulder was so bad I could’t even use my right arm to eat, had to put it in a sling.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3104 days

#2 posted 01-31-2015 03:36 PM

Working on our machinery in the plants for 45 years is what gave me all of my aches and pains. I have a bad back, two bad knees, a bad right foot and a bad left elbow. None of them are serious enough to prevent me from working but they all give me some pain. The only thing that I can’t stand to do anymore is work on my hands and knees. I also am fearful of working on ladders anymore since one of my knees has given out on me several times causing me to fall and I sure don’t want to fall off a ladder.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Puzzleman's profile


417 posts in 3181 days

#3 posted 01-31-2015 06:07 PM

I understand where you are coming from.. Have been getting the aches and pains as i get older as well.

I have taken to changing work flow, production layout and other things to help. What I found was that I was doing a lot of unnecessary work that could be done much easier.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View Redoak49's profile


3740 posts in 2226 days

#4 posted 01-31-2015 06:41 PM

I too understand aches and pains. I have had to have several surgeries to fix things. The last one was to my right hand. One doctor said that the wrist needed to be fused and I was not happy with that. I ended up finding the best hand orthopedic surgeon in the region which turned out to be a Rush Hospital in Chicago. He did a different type of surgery which allowed me to keep movement in my wrist and reduced most of the pain.

In your place, I would go see a couple of orthopedic doctors and get a diagnosis and potential ways of improving it. Do not be satisfied with the first doctor that you find. Do research on various doctors and find out how good they are. It will take some time and effort to do the research. The doctor I ended up with was well know to other doctors and had written several peer reviewed articles concerning the type of surgery that I eventually had. Not all doctors are equal and you need to find the best that you can.

Growing old can be a pain but good luck.

View Tony_S's profile


953 posts in 3320 days

#5 posted 02-01-2015 12:43 PM

I hear ya Jerry.

I’ve seen too many years of building and installing stairs. They keep getting bigger and bigger, and I keep getting older.
One bad knee, a bad back, a bad elbow, a bad shoulder….It’s a good day when I don’t have to get into the Advil and Aleve. Some days, I think they’re one of the 4 food!
I don’t install very much anymore unless I really can’t avoid it, but even ‘in house’, the stairs average about 300 pounds(heaviest yet was 3800 lbs…lucky we only built 4 of em huh?) and awkward as hell.
I’ve paid my dues 10 fold…but I’m not the type to stand around and direct traffic while others break their back, so I still have the ‘odd tendency’ to kick the shit out of myself. It’s tough to let go of the hands on part though.
Standing on concrete 10 to 12 hours a day is murder also, and one thing that helps me HUGE in the knee and back department is a really good pair of boots. I wear Redwing 2412’s and 2414’s exclusively when working. They’re spendy as hell, but worth every penny. Unfortunately they don’t help with bad shoulders or elbows.

Sell you say? After how hard you’ve worked to get where you are now….that must be a tough thought to entertain, even if you do only ‘entertain’ it.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View TravisH's profile


641 posts in 2172 days

#6 posted 02-01-2015 01:19 PM

Overall I have been very fortunate in regards to injuries, aches, and pains. I believe most of this has to do with that for much of my life I maintained a healthy weight and really got decent exercise that covered the entire body. I can no longer say the same and laugh at things that make my joints or muscles ache.

My exercise now is whatever is associated with the work I am doing. For so many of us that equates to not much and is very targeted. I may be able to hand plane all day, saw, etc… but don’t ask me to run a mile, heck a 100 yards. I used to make sure to do a lot to maintain flexibility and think that is what really paid off. Many may have an exerting job but the actual workout with it is so limited in regards to the entire body.

Several years ago I had some neck/shoulder issues. After 3 months of physical therapy and traction it was becoming evident that some things needed to change. I decided to lose a little weight and dropped around 25 lbs and actually was hitting the treadmill, riding the bike, sit ups, push ups, following some sort of stretching/yoga, and lifting light weights. Aches and pains were a thing of the past and my neck/back issues subsided and things that used to make my lower back hurt, my elbow, and knee no longer bothered me at all or were decreased to the point I couldn’t even say it hurt. I have maintained the weight but can’t say the same for the exercise and stuff reverted back to earlier issues but not as severe. Even though age has continued to tack on (other alternative is at the bottom of my list of things to do) I believe fully it has to do more with my inactivity and less than ideal diet.

View OSU55's profile


2026 posts in 2227 days

#7 posted 02-01-2015 01:25 PM

You’ve already stated the answer:

“I think I need to ice the elbow and get it healthy again, and then hit the weights and attempt to strengthen the muscles around my joints so as to minimize any joint weakness.”

Most think that after a severe injury and/or surgery, they need to do the rehab until the therapist says “ok you’re good to go” and they can return to life as it was. Unfortunately, as you are finding, this doesn’t work. Most of us don’t get enough exercise of our bodies in the correct way through normal daily activities, and those old injuries come back to haunt. A maintenance program of strengthening and stretching the body is the best way to extend it’s useful life – really no different than a machine. If not properly maintained it’s going to fail. Instead of the old cliché “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, think “an hour a day keeps the doctor away”, and that’d be an hour of exercise.

I have too many old injuries to list, many a product of 15 years of competitive contact sports at all levels (including the paying level). Without maintenance, I can’t get out of bed, but I also hurt too much to sleep. Daily maintenance allows me to work and do other things I want to do.

View Tennessee's profile


2893 posts in 2752 days

#8 posted 02-01-2015 01:35 PM

Sometimes increasing the muscle mass can offset poor joints, sometimes you only aggravate it.
After I crushed a couple of discs over the years, and dislocated my shoulder in a tractor accident on ice, and my knees finally started barking from all the arthritis, I just admitted to myself that I am older, (65), and I will live with chronic pain and push on, or give up.

I do remember a session with an orthopedic surgeon in Knoxville, who was assigned to see if I was able to do 18 months in Shanghai working for the current furniture company I was with at the time.
He came out with the MRI, and I asked him if he thought I was ready to fly.
He replied, “I think a better question, as I look at this scan, is how in the world are you even standing in front of me?”
We do what we have to do. You may get better for a while, but time and work will continue to abuse your current problems. You will have to learn to adjust. And I believe taking a desk job is not a good idea. I did that for the last three years of my actual day career, (sales manager), and I came away weaker and in more pain than if I had kept my body moving.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3784 days

#9 posted 02-01-2015 01:36 PM

Thanks for the replies fellas. I figured we all likely have this aches and pains issues, I sort of feel like I am just crying about it. It really is mostly my right elbow that is upsetting me because it is a new pain and the pain is fairly severe and shrieking when I apply weight to that arm. My left shoulder I learn to work within limitations over the years.

Anyway, yesterday I worked on the CNC until about 9 pm last night cutting out a job so it will be ready for assembly on Monday.

I don’t take any pain medications, when I used to do social type work for the State, I met several folks that had bad addictive issues with pain medications. So I will just refuse those meds.

As for selling off, I know some day that will be the plan. That day is likely far off from now though. I am hoping to minimize and put off my aches and pains as long as possible and just keep going. I really feel I am too young at 42 to have my body break down.

As mentioned by Travis, I believe a exercise plan would greatly reduce these aches and pains. I also have what I feel are minor back and neck pains but even those pains would be helped greatly through exercise. Maybe I can begin to do treadmill, stretching, light weight workout. Back in my 20s I worked out a lot and those were actually the days my body felt at it’s best.

-- .

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3784 days

#10 posted 02-01-2015 01:41 PM

The last 2 posts happened when I submitted mine.

I do believe there is a lot to be said about that saying, “A body in motion, will stay in motion.”

Again thanks for the replies.

-- .

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2927 days

#11 posted 02-02-2015 01:09 AM

Jerry, Wrestling logs onto my sawmill by myself with a bad back, 2 bad shoulders, and a bad knee keeps me young! Seriously, the harder I work, the better I do. “Getting old is not for sissies”. I’m 65 and counting. Hang in there my friend.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View JAAune's profile


1854 posts in 2554 days

#12 posted 02-02-2015 01:16 AM

Still young and healthy now but I’m already planning for growth and the future. The sort of work I’m doing now isn’t something I’d care to attempt twenty years later. In about ten years I’ll probably start working on an exit strategy so I can have plenty of time to find others to step in my place before retirement kicks in.

On another note…

Sticking to a healthy diet is a huge benefit. Too many people working overtime in the trades get sucked into the trap of dining on fast food and ready-to-eat processed meals. That will wear a body down fast and exercise programs aren’t going to compensate for it. Fitness is 80% diet and 20% exercise.

By good diet I don’t mean weird fad diets that promise magic cures by eliminating one type of food. I’m referring to a simple, balanced diet which can include butter, oil, meat and carbs so long as plenty of vegetables are included in the mix and nothing is over-processed. Nobody ever needed red lake 40 as an energy or nutrient source.

-- See my work at and

View firefighterontheside's profile (online now)


19612 posts in 2094 days

#13 posted 02-02-2015 01:50 AM

I had surgery for tennis elbow in my right elbow. Went thru 2 years of therapy and shots. Shot made it feel great for 9 months then 6 months then only 3 months. Don’t wait too long to either get therapy or surgery. If you haven’t tried it, try stretching the muscle by holding your arm straight out, rotate your palm out and then with you other hand pull your palm in. You will feel that right at the elbow where the muscle inserts. I have it in my other elbow too, but not nearly as bad. I’d say my fixed elbow is now about 95%.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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1028 posts in 1812 days

#14 posted 02-02-2015 02:10 AM

The doc told me I was over compensating with my other arm due to my shoulder injury.

View nate22's profile


475 posts in 3113 days

#15 posted 02-05-2015 01:06 PM

Jerry I agree with what a lot of them are saying. I would start excersing maybe go on line to see what the best excerses are for you arm. Like me I pulled my hamstring back in October. I found out that I wasn’t doing enough stretching and I started to stretch more and it is starting to get better. The diet part I would do to that will help to.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

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