Reduce Back Pain and Love to Sew Again

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Sunrise through my window.

Silence in the house. Steaming coffee by my side, my journal in my lap. My shoulders are relaxed and my mind is starting to bubble with ideas, strategies and enthusiasm for the time I have ahead of me.

I’m ready to sew.

An hour later, just as I’m buzzing along with the brrrrrr of my Berrrrrnina, I  feel the shoulder ache begin. Do I stop? Do I stretch? I do not. I sew and sew like some kind of crazed so-and-so and pretty soon I look like this:


How did my neck even stretch like this?

This goosenecked scrunch is not a good look and it isn’t a good feeling. Here are some ways you can avoid the pain and sew (or write, or paint or cook) for as long as you want.

  1. Invest in proper equipment. Yes, that may mean a monetary outlay. If your passion is sewing or writing, you probably do it in a chair and that chair has to provide certain specific benefits. While your local sewing shop will gladly sell you an adorable chair specifically designed for sewing, you can also get an armless office chair for less than $50 and spend the difference on fabric. Certainly it’s your call. If your passion is cooking or woodworking you probably stand and your investment may be in a shock absorbent gel mat  you can stand on while you work.  A proper workstation is crucial to enjoying your hobby without pain.
  2. Do as I say, not as I do! Take some short breaks. Even a quick stretch or walk around the house will shake out the kinks.
  3. If it’s your back that hurts, its probably your belly that’s the problem. No, I’m not saying you need a snack. You probably need to get on a regular exercise program that targets the core muscles deep in your abdomen. Try a free video exercise approach like Holy Yoga. When you’re toned, your muscles will support your back properly instead of letting you slip into bizarre postures. That goosenecked scrunch pictured above overextends the muscle group under my shoulder blades. They get painfully inflamed and I get grumpy.
  4. Take a day off. A complete twenty-four hours away from your passion does a lot to improve your relationship with it. May I suggest a Sewing Sabbatical on a regular basis? You will end up with more joy and less back pain in the long run.

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