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Thread: How to sew after neck surgery

  1. #1
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    How to sew after neck surgery

    My good friend recently had neck surgery that will greatly reduce her ability to bend her head down. She is very concerned about how she will cut, sew and generally maintain her favorite hobby. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    boy, that is one to ask the Doctor or therapist for sure. lots of breaks and heat at times should help too. she may have to sit and cut, etc. getting the work more level with her than standing over it.

  3. #3
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaJulie View Post
    My good friend recently had neck surgery that will greatly reduce her ability to bend her head down. She is very concerned about how she will cut, sew and generally maintain her favorite hobby. Any suggestions?

    With something so serious and with such high risks .... she'd better ask the trained medical personnel, rather than relying on a bunch of anxious quilters! By doing the wrong things, she may delay or recovery, or worse still cause irreversable damage.

    By sharing with the Drs, physio and occupational therapists her concerns, they may be able to help her figure it all out ... and maybe even make the gradual return to sewing, part of her therapy plans!
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    Super Member BarbaraSue's Avatar
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    Others with this ailment/difficulty can give hints as to what worked for them, but I agree that talking with an occupational therapist would be helpful and likely not harmful. Occupational therapists are usually with the "rehab" group, so that is a good place to look.
    Changes in her set up may need to be made such as: more ergonomic placing of her sewing machine--higher and tilted, tables for cutting may need to be elevated, etc. This is what the occupational therapist can assist your friend in doing.
    My thoughts/prayers are with your friend for a full speedy recovery. Good Luck!
    To make lots of quilts, is to have lots of scraps, and I do, and I do.
    BarbaraSue

  5. #5
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I agree with earlier posters about asking the professionals. My only tip is maybe she should consider a cutting machine for her fabric, such as Accuquilt or Sizzix.

  6. #6
    Senior Member kathyd's Avatar
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    I remember seeing at one of the major quilt shows a setup for your machine on a slant. That may help, also getting the height right for the bed of the machine. Try doing a google search.

  7. #7
    Super Member Chasing Hawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaJulie View Post
    My good friend recently had neck surgery that will greatly reduce her ability to bend her head down. She is very concerned about how she will cut, sew and generally maintain her favorite hobby. Any suggestions?
    I had major cervical spine surgery several years ago. I was in a neck brace for about 6 weeks. After that I had therapy for about a month to get my shoulders and neck used to activity again. I would follow doctors orders to the letter on this type of surgery. Nerves to both arms are in the area and bending or straining the neck area may cause nerve damage.

    How long ago did she have surgery?
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  8. #8
    Super Member Quilty-Louise's Avatar
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    I agree with the others on your friend talking to her Dr.
    about sewing. It is VERY important that she follow the
    professionals advice and not us NON professionals.


    Now some information about how I personally handled
    that same exact situation with neck surgery not once, but
    TWICE!

    I have 1 titanium plate, and 4 screws in the "front" side of
    my cervical (neck) the first surgery. For the second surgery
    done in Jan 2009 I have 2 titanium rods with screws on the
    "back".

    For both surgeries, but mainly with the first how I handled
    the sewing was to set my machine up on a surface that was
    higher then the most comfortable chair I could sit in to sew.
    As I had seen someone else mention that they set the machine
    up on a "slant" this was a BIG help for me.

    But the MOST important thing that I found worked for me was
    SLOWWWWW and easy! not spending more then 5-10 minutes
    (MAX) at a time. No matter if I was sewing or cutting.

    Yes it was a slow going process but it was the only way for me
    to help curb the desire to sew. But mostly what I did was go to
    fabric stores to look and touch fabrics and see all the notions on
    display.

    Even though it has been over 3 years since my last surgery I am
    still having more "issues" than I would like mostly with the nerve
    pain and muscle spasms. But that is neither here nor there, but it
    DOES limit me many days to doing NOTHING with my sewing, fabric
    or cutting.

    I wish your friend the best of luck in her recovery, tell her DO NOT
    over do things and DO NOT push herself to the limits of pain once in
    bad pain it is much harder to get out of it.



    Louise - I collect mugs from the U.S. and around the world . Also collect homemade pincushions, and sewing/quilting themed fabrics.

  9. #9
    Super Member Crqltr's Avatar
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    When I had surgery on my upper back about the only restriction was NO lifting..that is within reason!

  10. #10
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    I suffer from a neck and shoulder injury from 18 years ago and sometimes find I have to quit for awhile, go do something else and then return to sewing/quilting. Found that if I have machines set up below shoulder level I do better. I just do what I can as long as I can and then change positions or do something else for a short period then go back to the sewing/quilting.

    I would check with dr and therapist before I set up anything to cause you the least amount of pain.

    delma

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