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Thread: Ideas: To Help Quilter's With Arthritis,Muscle,Nerve,et. Disorders?

  1. #26
    Senior Member ShabbyTabby's Avatar
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    I also have fibromyagia, arthritis, COPD, 2 knee replacements and one hip replacement. Here are some things I do.
    1. Use my "grab it" to pick up things I drop. It has magnetic tip to pick up pins and needles also.
    2. Lower the ironing board next to my sewing table so I can just turn and press rather than get up. It's also great to put a small cutting mat on if I have to cut something or trim or cut.
    3. Have a regular cutting table so I don't break my back leaning over to do cutting on larger pieces.
    4. I have a small 3 drawer clear plastic unit that sits on my sewing table in which I keep scissors, rotary cutter, measuring tape, pins, some plastic templates (flying geese, triangles, etc.) instructions that came with specialty rulers, seam rippers, and all other small tools I need for my quilting right at my fingertips.

    The one thing most helpful to me is my GD who lays everything out on the floor and pins to make the sandwich...LOL. That's one thing I just cannot do...if I ever got down there I'd never get up. !!!
    Families are like old quilts....although they tend to unravel at times...each can be stitched back together with love.

  2. #27
    Super Member JNCT14's Avatar
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    So three things that cme to mind:
    1.Arrange your sewing area in a U shape so that you can get to your machine(s), ironing board and cutting area without having to get up from your chair. Make sure everything is height adjusted and use that timer to make yourself get up and walk or stretch but this way you are not constantly readjusting when doing your various quilting activities.
    2. If you do FMQ, use the puddling method and rather than grip the fabric with your hands, use foam pipe insulation (I posted this trick a while back). You cut a piece about 12" long and take the fabric you would normally grip and slide it into the slit of the insulation. It is much easier to grab when you are manuvering your quilt under the harp.
    3. For sandwiching quilts, buy an inexpensive folding table 72" long that you can put in a closet or against a wall. It is a bit narrow but it beats crawling around on the floor or clearing off your dining room table!

  3. #28
    Super Member patchsamkim's Avatar
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    10 years ago I had surgery on my right hand for osteo-arthritis. It took a couple of years before my hand was back to "normal" after the surgery. My best advise is to not overuse your hand. Take breaks-often. Do hand exercises after using. I love the fiskar soft-touch scissors that have the spring in them. I mostly use the Olfa largest rotary cutter-that is easiest on my hand. Had a curved handle one, and for some reason, that was harder on my hand than the Olfa...could have been the hand position.

  4. #29
    Junior Member mash43quilter's Avatar
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    I have had Arthritus for some time. I was a sales rep and it was nothing to drive 2-300 miles a day. When I retired I wanted to quilt. I started working part time at a quilt shop to learn to quilt. Man, my hands sometimes hurt so bad because of all of the fabric we cut. But, really, days my back, feet and everything hurts.
    I heard of a product called "Two Old Goats". I can put some on my hands, neck, knees etc and within 5 minutes the pain is gone. It is a natural product so I do not worry. I have even put it on my face for bad sinus headaches. There was a lady that comes to the shop for her old goats and she was getting ready for knee replacement and since she started using old goats she does not have to have it done at this time. The lady who makes this product suffers from arthritis and fibromyalgia. We do sell it through our website. Pocketful of Posey's,

  5. #30
    Junior Member qltncat's Avatar
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    Yup - we've got pain and problems, but these suggestions help.
    My biggest pain is in my thumb joint. I have moved to a Sizzix Die Cutter and am using my rotary cutter less.
    When I do need to rotary cut, a sharp blade is essential. I have tried every brand (I think), and the Martelli is the easiest on the thumb for me.
    I also switch hand projects - from needle work (quilting, embroidery, applique) to knitting - every couple of hours or so.
    I use ice-heat-ice (15 minutes in immediate rotation) as often as I can make myself do it. It seems to "trick" my metabolism. Learned this trick when I had a cervical fusion and a plate inserted to keep me upright...
    No matter how far you've gone down a wrong road, turn back!

  6. #31
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    * Important * Please remember that each ailment is "unique", and what works for one may not work nor be the best thing for another person. Keep the communications going with your professionally trained medical support team to confirm that you are doing what is best for your personal situation, rather than adding to your problems thru mis-diagnosis and mis-treatment.
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  7. #32
    Senior Member Rubesgirl's Avatar
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    Wow! You ladies rock! I thought I had some health issues, but you make me realize how minor they are. I have had 3 major back surgeries, but I can kneel, walk, sit & stand without pain. The surgery on my neck left me with permanent nerve damage in my left hand and arm, so my good right hand does double duty. At least it works really well until I overuse it doing PP! I work in a carpeted room but still get back fatigue if I stand or hunch over the sewing machine too long, so I am looking for a secretary's chair to use at the machine so I can swivel to the ironing board. I have adapted to most situations by using several of the gadgets you recommend. Harbor Freight and Northern are great for little things and much less expensive than the fabric shops. The only thing I am having trouble finding is an inexpensive compression glove for hand work. I tried the one from Walmart and it was like not wearing anything, much too thin. Anyway, I think you gals are awesome!
    Wendy in FL

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  8. #33
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    I quit eating flour/bread/pasta, my hands are doing a lot better, never would have thought a food allergy/sensitivity would settle in the joints but for me it did. You might ask your doc if need to consider foods not to eat.
    http://ozarkcastle.blogspot.com/

  9. #34
    Super Member Grace MooreLinker's Avatar
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    Clips instead of straight pins has been one of the biggest helps for me. I have termors so pins are a hazard for me.
    The fibromyalgia is the pits , the legs,arms,shoulders and wrist suffer most. all of the suggestions are most of what I found worked for me
    in finding what helps when cutting ,ironing and sewing. You just learn what helps you.
    Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one out there that suffers to quilt.
    Freedom is costly and quilting keeps us busy...

  10. #35
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    I am quite curious, also. I have neuropathy really bad - some days it hurts just to be alive, I think. I travel horribly, even if I do get out periodically to walk a little. It's heart breaking, actually.

  11. #36
    Senior Member sylviak's Avatar
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    One thing I forgot to mention: For those who suffer from leg cramps (RLS) when sitting for long periods, my Dr. recommended drinking about 5 to 6 oz of tonic water. You get immediate relief! I take it with me when I travel and order it on planes. It is not very tasty, but it contains a small amount of quinine which does the job. You can't buy it in pill form in the US, but the Dr. said he could get me some out of Canada! But the Walmart brand (Mixer) is $0.98/liter and works fine. You can mix it with something else to make it more palatable, but I can drink it straight. I know it's meant to be used with alcoholic drinks, but if you're on pain meds, particularly those with acetameniphin included and want to keep your liver in decent shape, mix it with something else.

  12. #37
    Super Member wildyard's Avatar
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    It's great to be in such good company here on the board. We have had other threads where we shared this kind of information in the past, also. You might want to search and read those to see what else may have been said that would be useful. I have fibro, chronic pain from a neck and shoulder injury and arthritis in my feet, knees, hands and neck and lower spine and hips. Medication has helped to minimize headaches which were at one time debilitating.
    All of your suggestions are good, and I just want to stress that it's so important to keep doing our stretches and exercises to maintain as much range of motion as possible. Also to remember to drink lots of water each day to keep those toxins from the fibro and arthritis flushed out as much as possible. That way, we are forced to take breaks from sewing when we have to get up and go to the bathroom. LOL..
    I, too, keep my ironing board in another room from my sewing machine to force me to get up and walk when I have to press. I do have a mini-iron and board next to my machine for quick pressing when doing lots of seams in a row, though. Anything long or large area, I take to the big ironing board.
    Not setting deadlines is important as that adds stress and we with chronic pain need to keep our lives as free of stress as possible.
    Linda Wedge White

    I believe UFOs are like scraps, ferns and dust bunnies. Once you get two, they send spores out into the air and more just happen anywhere the spores meet.

  13. #38
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    Senior Member T.'s Avatar
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    Thank you, we take a lot of things for granted, these are great reminders for all of us.
    Have a wonderful day!

  14. #39
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    My best wishes to you on coping with physical problems so you can continue to quilt. I have rheumatoid as well as osteo arthritis in hands neck, back, knees, feet, etc. I also have fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel disease. Now I am recovering from a spinal cord injury and I have had to learn to stand and walk again, plus regain the use of my hands. I've made a lot of progress, I'm home now and can't wait to get to my quilting. I will learn patience so that I can return to quilting slowly and learn to quit when I'm tired. Knontinuow that you are not alone, quilters make the best support system ever. Continued blessings to you. MargeD

  15. #40
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    What kind/brand of compression gloves do you use. Or what types of splints/braces are you using. I've had surgery to repair torn tendons and I would like support for my hands/wrists.
    Any suggestions as to brands would be appreciated.

  16. #41
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    tremors

    does any one have a good idea for tremors. mine are getting really bad and i don't want to give up sewing, any ideas out there.

  17. #42
    Super Member anniesews's Avatar
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    Such a lot of good ideas here. Thank you everyone who sent in some.
    Annie

  18. #43
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    All of your suggestions are great. I have two cutting boards, one taller with a matching size chair and a second one on the sewing table that I can use when pains using it start. Switching the cutting boards and the ironing boards (I have two small ones) really help. But my life saver are the strips of LED lights that you can stick on your machine that really lights up the sewing area. You can buy one set, with plugs, etc., for your machine and then just the LED strips for another machine, or where you do your hand work. It has really helped me with geting those tricky seams done right the first time.

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltingNurse View Post
    What kind/brand of compression gloves do you use. Or what types of splints/braces are you using. I've had surgery to repair torn tendons and I would like support for my hands/wrists.
    Any suggestions as to brands would be appreciated.
    I have to splint my left hand when I have RA flare. Doctor insists! I have one I bought at Walgreens - it is beige (other ones are blue or black) - but allows my fingers some movement while holding hand steady. Can look up name when I get home. I find it very comfortable to wear all day. The one I use at night is a full brace from doctor.

    I bought my compression gloves at joanne's of all places when they were featuring such products for quilters. They are bright green and are great. They have just enough hold and support for the achy hands days.

  20. #45
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltme123 View Post
    does any one have a good idea for tremors. mine are getting really bad and i don't want to give up sewing, any ideas out there.
    So sorry you are having this problem. Perhaps you could share how it is affecting you, and others would help solve the problem.

    Here's a few that are the first I think might be helpful ... but perhaps not!
    * if you don't have an auto threader and auto cutter on your machine, it could be well worth switching up.

    * swapping with others the work that is most difficult

    * using precuts to minimize your need for cutting as much
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  21. #46
    Member Gracie's Avatar
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    Using a couple of the wedge-shaped, rubber doorstops under the sewing machine and serger help to relieve some of the strain on my back and neck. They are inexpensive, which is also a blessing.
    Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
    Corrie ten Boom

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewmary View Post
    I have to splint my left hand when I have RA flare. Doctor insists! I have one I bought at Walgreens - it is beige (other ones are blue or black) - but allows my fingers some movement while holding hand steady. Can look up name when I get home. I find it very comfortable to wear all day. The one I use at night is a full brace from doctor.

    I bought my compression gloves at joanne's of all places when they were featuring such products for quilters. They are bright green and are great. They have just enough hold and support for the achy hands days.
    My beige Walgreen splint has the brand name Mueller.

  23. #48
    Super Member gramajo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qltmom View Post
    But my life saver are the strips of LED lights that you can stick on your machine that really lights up the sewing area. You can buy one set, with plugs, etc., for your machine and then just the LED strips for another machine, or where you do your hand work. It has really helped me with geting those tricky seams done right the first time.
    I've had a Bendable Bright Light for some time, but just got the LED lights also. They are fantastic--what a difference in being able to see exactly where the seam line should be. I wish I'd bought them earlier. They're not cheap, but well worth the $.

  24. #49
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    To prevent back and shoulder ache I always tilt my machine using the "tilt table" but many people use door stoppers on the back of their machine to make it tilt.
    You can also use a lambert (mispelling) pillow on the back of your chair. It forces you to seat straight.

  25. #50
    Member Gracie's Avatar
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    I have fibro and several other types of arthritis, so I am right in there with all of you. I've found that if you place a couple of wedge-shaped, rubber doorstops at the back of the sewing machine or serger that the resulting slant of the machine makes it easier on my back and shoulders. I LOVE inexpensive!
    Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
    Corrie ten Boom

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