Chainsaw Vibration and Hand/Arm Health

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
Great thread!

I’ll s nd out a blanket LIKE to everyone

There’s a triangle here

Nature of the work
Diet
Exercise...stretching and strength sort of stuff

Lots of good advice about changing each leg of the triangle.

After a heart attack 10 years ago I talked w my cardiologist. He said that I was at about the 90th percentile in the population. Why? I followed the lead set by my folks 20+ years previous and adopted heart healthy diet. I haven’t bought salt or out any on food for decades. Plenty of salt in hot sauces that I eat and ingest from prepared foods. Careful of sweets...beer is in this category!

Ergonomics is sooooo important! Body positioning and tool choices. That’s all been covered

My left shoulder aches sometimes even though I’m not climbing much. Decades of saw yanking sure cant be good! My left hand still goes for the recoil on my 20 volt Dewalt saw! Saws have improved sooooo much since starting with a Mini Mac 6 forty five years ago!

Someone above mentioned more power and shorter bar. This makes so much sense especially in your high production process. Get the saw out of your hands as quick as possible

Turmeric is on my evening research queue
 

Merle Nelson

Well-Known Member
Location
SF Bay Area, CA
Lots of good info here. I have not dealt with the specific part of the body asked about in the original post. But as I have looked at ways to keep my body moving and moving pain free through the years I am amused how humans can get a similar result from various causes. Is the cause we point to really the cause? Think, tennis elbow, carpenters elbow. Think tendonitis that the grocery store checker has from punching in prices all day, tendonitis from swinging a hammer, tendonitis from "flying the bucket."

Here is another element to consider, operating a joint out of its design specifications. I once lifted a pick up I had when I was a kid and put big tires under it. I think it was a 4 inch lift but could have been 6. An old timer I was around said you better cut and reweld those spring hangers, there's too much angle on the drive shaft and your going to wear out U-joints. I figured, eh what the heck. Well I ended up going through U-joints so frequently that I kept one in the truck with me all the time and changed more than one by the side of the road.

Operating joints within design specifications is something that could be thought of as fitting into Tom's third part of the triangle, exercise. A plumb line suspended from above should line up with your ear hole, shoulder joint, elbow, wrist, hip, knee ankle when viewed from the side. Viewed from the front and when in motion an onlooker should see symmetry on each side of the line.

This info and exercises to adjust ones body can be found in Pete Egoscue's book and info Pain Free. Have also seen MoveYou guys speaking of this kind of thing on Instagram.
 

GregManning

Super Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chardon, OH
Has anyone had success mitigating fatigue and inflammation in the hands and arms?
I'm 32 and mostly fall trees to clear for new power lines. In some cases I'm cutting hundreds of trees a week with a skid steer slamming it all into a chipper as quickly as possible. Inflammation and weakness in my hands is becoming more common, and I think that the vibration of the saw is the main factor aside from the repetitive movements. I'll switch industries within the next few years because I know I won't last and this seems like more of a gig than a career path, but I'm interested in hearing recommendations on saving my hands from long term damage.
I can run the skid steer more but I dont trust the other guy 100% as a faller. At least on a motorcycle I feel like gloves make me grip tighter, increasing discomfort, but maybe thinner gloves would help. Maybe some sort of soft grip or wrap to absorb vibration on the handles? Saws in top shape also makes the cutting easier of course.
My hands are often stiff when I wake up and I've even felt like I couldnt firmly grasp small parts sometimes. Its really unsettling at this age.
Might want to try contacting:
http://www.CORErgonomicsolutions.com
This is Ed Carpenter & his pHD sister.
I've never used them; but Ed is a world class climber & instructor.

I have been to a chainsaw class by Ed; very illuminating.
If you are not close, perhaps they can provide links, contacts, suggestions, .............
 
Last edited:

Gorilla

New Member
Summer:
Turmeric
Multi-vitamin
Fish oil
Joint medicine
Potassium

Winters :
All stuff listed above and I just added arginine for blood flow in winter....ailments start arising when I’m not as physical....seems to be working
 

JD3000

Most well-known member
Location
Columbus
Fruits, veggies, and potatoes provide plenty of vitamins and minerals, including those that are important electrolytes. They're also quite rehydrating in the heat too.
 

*useless info*

Well-Known Member
Location
usa
I pushed it far enough to get 'White Finger' in Florida summer.
Also, visible half inch bump on wrist from carpal tunnel sin.
.
Massage hands, finger pulling helps on finger.

There was also this crockpot of scented melted paraffin neighbor girl would have me stick hand in (used to be therapist)
>>coating/sealing hand,then wrap in plastic shopping bag then towel after work.
>>Very comforting/calming to inflammation >> 20 mins. of very moist heat
.
I'm convinced this straightened out tendons thru tunnel, eliminated bump and pain.
Took time, already had to back off and manage own abuses more.

 

treebilly

Well-Known Member
Location
N. Lawrence
More water. And cut out sugar as much as possible. I agree that winter months suck for drinking water. I can go all day and realize that I’ve only drank coffee. It’s no wonder I hurt like hell the next morning.
I went to the ER a few years ago right on the first of the year. Both of my hands were swelled up like they were broken. All I did for a week prior was run the log splitter, hence the visit since it scared the hell out of me. Severe tendinitis inflammation. The answer was drink more water. I’m working on cutting sugar from my diet because I really don’t want to feed any cancer that I could possibly get.
 

ghostice

Well-Known Member
Woa, dunno if this’ll help but here goes - some stuff from my old IH days. Occupational health standards (TLV's) exist for hand/ arm vibration (HAVS) in most western jurisdictions. There is tons of information on the web about this stuff.
An example can be found at:
https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/83-110/

Diet and stretching may help but for the most part these types of injuries are actually physical ones - to the blood vessels, to the nerves or to the tendons and tendon sheaths.
So reduction or elimination of some of the vibration will go a long way to prevention of these types of injury. Why wait for symptoms - start to take care now!
1) Where possible, choose lower vibration tools - have a look at the vibration specs for the saws/ grinders you use or are going to purchase - just like noise standards, manufacturers do test equipment for vibration (required in Europe). And are you sure you want to use that chainsaw powerhead powered stump grinder for hours rather than a big one that has remote controls? Plan to reduce the wear and tear on your body over time. It all adds up (vibration damage is cumulative)
2) Try using electric/ battery saw/ tools where possible - these generally have less vibration
3) Always wear gloves*** see below
4) Consider taping up before work - a sports physio can probably show you how to do this
5) Keep hands dry and warm and try not to cut above your head or work with your arms raised for extended periods - as has been mentioned above, cutting with a more neutral body position rather than at weird angles will help prevent strains and pulls. Two handed saw use also distributes the load a bit more - another reason not to single hand.
6) Maybe try using the “hardwood” file guide for rakers rather than the “softwood” side to give you a less aggressive cut/ less vibration?

I can vouch for the MSM and ibuprofen (old soccer referees prayer at 4 day tournaments - “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ibuprofen”) but long term use of any NSAIDS (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) aren’t really that great for your kidney function way down the road - they still are drugs. And NSAIDS shouldn’t be combined with alcohol or other drugs such as blood pressure medications ’n stuff. Alcohol and smoking can both affect the peripheral flow of blood to the fingers and toes so hold off on these, esp. when working in cold weather.

If you do trash a tendon sheath or start to have a bunch of pain at night and stiffness in the morning - see a doctor, preferably an occupational health doctor - they’re apt to be more familiar with ergonomics types of injuries than your family GP. And physio can help wonders in recovery.


*** The international standard ISO 10819 for reduced vibration gloves (called “A/V or Anti- Vibration gloves”) was introduced in 1996. Only full-finger protected gloves are tested since HAVS always begins at the finger tips and moves towards the palm. Finger exposed gloves are not recommended. Gloves which meet or exceed ISO 10819 are recommended, but using certified A/V gloves alone will not solve the HAV problem.

can’t beat the UK HSE stuff, I think:
http: //www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/yourhands.htm

and
for more than you’ll ever want to know about this stuff:
https: //www.acgih.org/forms/store/ProductFormPublic/hand-arm-vibration-tlv-r-physical-agents-7th-edition-documentation
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
A simple way to check for hydration, summer or winter, nail bed capillaries


spread your fingers out and then gently pinch each fingernail to squeeze out the blood. Not hard, not even a real pinch. Say 'capillary refill' and the red in the nailbed should have returned. Do several fingers, both hands. You'll know what 'right' looks like. Do this when you know that you're hydrated so you have a comparison.

Its also a way to keep track of how your body reacts to low temperatures. You could be hydrated but the capillaries are shutting down to conserve heat to your core.
 

castanea

Member
Really great to see all the advice and support here, approaching the problem from more angles than I could've ever thought of.
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
Location
Olympia, WA
@evo I pruned some trees the other day, Topping Restoration. A lot like the mechanics of fruit tree work.
Sore.

I'm looking at getting a Zenport electric pruner for around $800, I think.



I figured something out. A watersprout, flexed to offer the hand pruner blade some tension-wood, cuts much more easily than just natural tension/ compression.
 

JD3000

Most well-known member
Location
Columbus
@evo I pruned some trees the other day, Topping Restoration. A lot like the mechanics of fruit tree work.
Sore.

I'm looking at getting a Zenport electric pruner for around $800, I think.



I figured something out. A watersprout, flexed to offer the hand pruner blade some tension-wood, cuts much more easily than just natural tension/ compression.
How are you positioning the pruners?
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
Location
Olympia, WA
How do you mean?

I position them the normal way, as correct for the cut, and as ergonomic as possibly, just bending the limb a bit away from the blade of the hand-pruners.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
Location
My Island, WA
@evo I pruned some trees the other day, Topping Restoration. A lot like the mechanics of fruit tree work.
Sore.

I'm looking at getting a Zenport electric pruner for around $800, I think.



I figured something out. A watersprout, flexed to offer the hand pruner blade some tension-wood, cuts much more easily than just natural tension/ compression.
Are these like the hydraulic ones? I have been using the ARS style “reach snips” and while they are great the ergonomics suck!
 

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