Thank you for the link to John Glick's article; saved me the trouble of searching for it. I read it completely. Sounds like my life history, except now there are MRIs for imaging disc problems instead of CAT scans. My laminectomy/discectomy was at L4/L5, which Glick says is the usual problem for potters. I know I weakened mine through constant abuse, in all of the ways Glick describes. L5/Sacrum is not looking good, nor is L3/L4, so I'm hoping to keep those intact. (I'm 58 and rode horses and motorcycles, too!) I have two top-loading kilns: one small ancient Skutt 180 I use for glaze testing, and a Skutt KM-1027 for larger loads. I'd love to get a front load but not in the budget right now, especially after paying the surgery bills! Lighter shelves for the 1027 will probably be my next step.
Regarding the standing position, did you have much trouble getting over having your elbows on your thighs? That's how I learned, and switching seems like it would be difficult. What was your experience? Did you teach yourself or have coaching?
I've been doing a lot of hand building since surgery. My husband lifts the clay for me. I can stand and walk all I want, just no twisting or bending. I really have to watch the urge to twist sideways to look as I'm working. With the pain gone it's easy to forget. In a couple more weeks I'll have fewer restrictions.
Thanks again for your reply.
PS - Nice crackle glaze in your photo. Your own recipe or commercially available? I love crackles.
Thank you, John, for your feedback and advice. I agree that ergonomics are not usually addressed at all. I have had formal throwing instruction from a handful of qualified individuals, and only one of those said anything about repetitive injury potential. My "real job" as an engineering/computing specialist led to many hours at the keyboard and resultant wrist injuries, so I am all too familiar with that. I hope to find a balance, perhaps even shifting from a standing to a sitting position on alternate days or whatever I can easily rig up. At this point I am only a hobby potter so production pressures don't exist for me and I can rest when I need to. I will look into John Glick and Studio Potter magazine. Thanks again, ClayDog