A quilter without neck, back or shoulder issues? I haven’t encountered one yet, and this includes me!. Whether I’m sitting at my domestic machine or standing at the longarm, I find that I cannot escape the army of pain that will soon invade my neck and shoulders.
Me vs. Neck and Shoulder Pain
In order to combat the inevitable I have taken to “warming up” my muscles before I venture into quilting for the day. Why? Well, those of us who quilt are engaging in an activity that is as physically taxing on our body as those that work out at the gym. Would you consider kickboxing, or lifting weights prior to performing some stretches? No, I highly doubt it. Think of quilting in the same manner, believe it or not we are applying pressure and weight on various body muscles to quilt. And just like any other form of exercise, over time and use these body parts begin to hurt!
Life with Bikram Yoga
Last June, I started attending Bikram Yoga and the results have made a HUGE difference. Some of the stretches that I complete in yoga are the same stretches I carry out prior to quilting. In addition, I also try to pause in the middle of my quilting to incorporate further stretching as I attempt to keep my body relaxed as possible. Here are some of the yoga poses that I find beneficial.
Half moon, Eagle, triangle, bow, camel (which I hate), and rabbit. If you are interested in more poses here is a link for ALL 26 (yes 26)… Bikram yoga. Don’t hesitate to investigate YouTube, it’s a great resource for tons of videos that will demonstrate many valuable stretches!
Don’t neglect the neck! Changing your neck’s position whether you are piecing or quilting is crucial to pain-free designing. During periods that require piecing, I will vary the height of my chair by lowering or raising it in order to prevent any undo stress. This is also done when I am quilting. Now if you are lucky enough to have a hydraulic lift for your machine, all the better for your body! This will enable you to alternate your choices of siting, or standing. Moreover, you will have the flexibility of raising and lowering the table. My lift is a must have, I honestly don’t know what I’d do without it!
What types of things do you do to combat the aches and pains while enduring the physical job or hobby of quilting?