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Thread: Posture

  1. #1
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    Posture

    I love to sew, and I hate it when things get in the way of it.

    I have developed some pretty severe shoulder pain in my left shoulder. It has gotten to the point that it makes it very hard for me to sew at times. I went to my doctor, and she thinks that I have either developed a bursitis, or I have damaged the muscle that leads up the back of my arm and into the joint. All I know is that it hurt like crazy, and I don't like to take a lot of pills. Ice works until I take it off. You can't sew with an ice pack on your shoulder!

    I have medicine for it that I can take if I want to, but I am also wondering if I am doing something with my posture that may be irritating this. How do you generally sit at your machine? Is there something ergonomic that you do?
    Last edited by tdgiffin; 08-01-2012 at 09:45 PM. Reason: typoes

  2. #2
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    There is definitely an ergonomic way to sit at the sewing machine. Here is a link to OSHA recommendations for sewing stations:
    http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/sewi...iondesign.html

    Height is probably the biggest consideration, as the wrong height will put considerable stress on the shoulders.

    However, also consider if you are sewing centered on the machine. The needle should be directly in front of you, not the front of the machine. A lot of sewing machine cabinets do not take that into consideration, making you sit too far to the right of the needle.

    Another consideration is the distance between the cabinet's edge and the needle. For quilting, it is usually better to have that distance larger than normal. A table (say, from Ikea) can be modified with a cut-out and drop-down to hold a machine at the ideal distance from the front.

  3. #3
    Super Member burchquilts's Avatar
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    I have to constantly remind myself to sit up straight while I'm sewing because I tend to hunch over & not only does it hurt, it shortens how long I can bear to sit at the machine. I think they make some sort of harness you can wear to keep you more upright. I should look into that, I guess.
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  4. #4
    Super Member barri1's Avatar
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    How about giving your sewing a resting vacation of a week or so, so the muscles have a chance to rest. Then go back, and try to relax while sewing.. You might be tensing up unintentionally.. You also should be taking more frequent breaks.. Research some excercises that will loosen up the area.. but please give it a rest before you do anything..

  5. #5
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    Hi, you should also look at how long you sew at one time. I make sure my ironing board is in a different room and my cutting/assembly table is in a 3rd room. That way when piecing a quilt I'm getting up and moving around every 5 minutes or so. Some people would consider this inefficient, but I think the few extra minutes it costs in an hour are worth it to stop my muscles from tensing up and my whole body from stiffening by being in the one position for too long -- and we can all use a little more exercise!

  6. #6
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    I don't know if someone else suffering with you will help but I am in the same boat. Mine is my left shoulder and it started out with severe pain!!! Less than 4 hours sleep with pain meds through the night. The doctor has me on celebrex right now and 2 months later....the pain in my shoulder is just about gone. I had Xrays that showed a slight narrowing of my discs but that may or may not be the problem. Could be bursitus, it is hard to figure out.
    I don't know what caused mine to act up but I am being careful not to slouch, I have the mesh insert on my office chair back for the correct curve in my lower back. I also have my magnifying glass on my machine so I don't have to lean in to see where I'm sewing. Rotary cutting is a no no for a while yet because my left shoulder is the one I hold down the ruler with. It's frustrating and painful and takes time to heal. Hope you are feeling better soon.

  7. #7
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    Thank you. That gives me some ideas.

  8. #8
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    I have a really good desk chair on wheels and I can adjust the hgt. when I move from table to table.Since getting the chair I can sew for hours without back or shoulder pain.Go test drive a few chairs at your local office supply store.And I hope you feel better soon.

  9. #9
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    This happened to me. my good dr sent me for an xray and then physical therapy. The therapy has helped me to relieve the pain and adjust my posture by strengthening my muscles. Then several months on, it happened in my pelvis. The dr I went ordered an xray for the pelvis and found a lot of damage on it, but just advised Aleve.....no meds will take it away, I know that. Meds give you a break so that you can exercise. I asked her to write an order for physical therapy and changed doctors. I have been miffed at her ever since as I feel she held back advice to make more appointments with her! Physical therapy taught me to observe what I was doing wrong. It must be continued following your sessions to keep pain at bay. It does not change the problem but relieves you of constant pain. I don't go a day with out the shoulder/neck exercises and the leg and hip exercises. If I want a better day that is the way to insure it. I still continue with Aleve taken with food in my stomach.
    Last edited by mcar; 08-03-2012 at 04:09 AM.

  10. #10
    Junior Member pdriggs's Avatar
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    Have you tried physical therapy? My husband had about the same thing. They said he had an impingement of the muscle or something like that. He went through a series of exercises and as long as he does them periodically now he does not have many problems. I have about the same thing on the other arm, I am left handed so it is on the left side. I have started the exercises and it helps when I do them. I just need to remember to do them before I start in the sewing room!

    The exercises strengthen the underlying muscles so they can overcome the impingement. They told him to use some inbuprophen for the inflamation while it was hurting so bad.

    Phyllis
    Phyllis Driggs

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