GUEST POST: What happens when it hurts?

Being a photographer gives you the privilege to hold some of the most modern and expensive equipment around in your own hands often! Unfortunately the only problem with this is holding and handling these camera’s and their accompanying lenses for hours on end with little breaks in between.

This results in many different issues such as acute and chronic injuries, and could not only leave you with tremendous pain but also not being able to continue your work at hand.

What to do about this? It is not like photographers can just take breaks during shoots or keep on taking pain killers.

Luckily by understanding human movement better yearly, most physical therapists will be able to help and teach photographers how to maintain neutral bodily positions, strengthen the necessary stabilizing muscles and increasing mobility where needed.


Before listing any more information on the help out there, here is a little intro about the movement of the human body:

As humans we evolved from a state where we functioned in manners such as walking, running, picking up things and swinging from tree branches, to a state where most of us are sitting for long hours in one position and walking minimally. This change in bodily positions places new challenges on the body since it is made for movement not passivity.

It is also very much possible that those who are exercising and moving often could unknowingly be moving wrong as well. The cause is learned posture and movement from parents or other siblings, and the general nature of modern days exercise equipment and knowledge of the public.

Modern day movement (or no movement) causes joint, muscle and connective tissue imbalances. These imbalances provide less stabilization and more compensatory patterns, which causes the body to speak up in the sense of creating pain.A person in such a state usually also don’t have a neutral standing posture because faulty movement will result in faulty structures overall.
Correcting these imbalances will place the body under minimal stress during movement since it’s performed correctly which will in its turn result in near perfect posture.

Following here is an elaboration on what injuries to be on the lookout for and how to treat them to become and stay a pain free photographer.


  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

This is a condition where the median nerve in the wrist is under pressure due to various causes such as repetitive movements, obesity, etc. Photographers might experience forms of burning, tingling, numbness or weakness in the thumb and in the other fingers except the pinky. They can immediately consult a physical therapist that will do a proper examination of the whole body. Treatment will include connective tissue release and specific exercises. (See here example treatment here).


  • Various repetitive stress injuries

Because the stabilizers is not always on and functioning, repetition will cause even more wear and tear. By doing simple strengthening exercises on most days and maintaining a regime of regular massage and connective tissue release can help a lot. (See here example treatment here).

  • Cramps

This is usually caused by unconditioned muscles or a shortage or certain minerals. Mineral shortages can be tested by certain blood tests and the necessary supplementation can be taken. See here example of getting those needed minerals through diet.


  • Deep-vein thrombosis (from editing)

People with a history of blood clotting diseases in their family and themselves are more prone to this condition. Nevertheless prevent sitting for longer than an hour or stand up and perform a few calf raises to increase blood flow in the legs. What happens then is blood clots can form in the big arteries in the legs and then possibly break up and move into the lung arteries and cause havoc.

Specific stockings can also be worn during sitting hours.

Immediately seek medical attention if symptoms like calf pain, leg swelling, discoloration, lung discomfort, breathlessness and fast heart beat occurs. Here more information on deep vein thrombosis.

  • Dehydration

Regular water intake is important to not only prevent dehydration and headaches but also to hydrate the tissues that’s responsible for movement.

Rather take small sips often instead of a lot of water instantaneously since this will be flushed out almost immediately.

When coffee or alcohol is consumed double that amount in water should be taken in to prevent dehydration as well.

  • Overexertion

Unfortunately too little rest and sleep mixed with long hard working hours will in the end cause overexertion. Make sure of proper planning to incorporate a routine of 6-9 hours’ sleep and a healthy balanced diet daily.

  • Leg/ankle/foot injuries

Unforeseen incidents can result in ligament sprains especially in the ankle

A lateral ankle sprain is common if the ankle suddenly rolls outwards on full weight on an unequal surface or object. Discoloration and swelling will follow. A medical doctor will diagnose if it was a degree 1,2 or 3 sprain. According to this the needed treatment will be given and can include operating; temporarily immobilizing the area, physiotherapy to reduce the symptoms and finally a Biokinetist will provide a rehabilitation program to strengthen and prevent future injury. Rehab for ankle sprains.


Further reading materials:

Read about the true nature of human body movement:

Contact a medical practitioner:

Go for connective tissue release:



Went to Highschool in Pretoria and Graduated at Tuks as a Biokineticist. Until 8 years ago was a SA Hurdler Athlete and holds the SA record in the 90m hurdles girls under 17. Other courses and qualifications: Lyno Coach Title, National Pilates Certificate, Sports Massage Course and a Top 5 Virgin Active Bio Rock Star in 2015 & 2016.


CREDITS: Images from 


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