Tips for injury-free quilting from a Physiotherapist

Our September speaker certainly came at the right moment: with our sweltering summer finally giving way to Fall, we’re all keen to get back to our sewing rooms! For hours, no doubt, which could mean injuries if we don’t pay attention to how we’re sitting, standing, ironing and so on.

Deanna McMullen, registered Clinical Physiotherapist and co-owner of Aveeva Physiotherapy and Wellness Studio in North Vancouver, demonstrated how to sit at your machine, keeping arms and legs at a 90 degree angle, and one’s back well supported. Which makes the right chair at the right height very important to avoid common injuries, such as carpal tunnel issues, shoulder tendinitis, neck pain, tennis elbow, sciatic nerve pain and headaches (I bet we all relate!). Using an item to raise your non-pedal foot (telephone directory, anyone?) is also recommended, and be sure the pedal is close to you so that you’re not extending that leg, which can put pressure on the sciatic nerve. It’s all about that 90 degrees!

If you weren’t there, you missed an impromptu demonstration of the “ironing board dance”… move along with the iron instead of leaning over and possibly pulling something in your back!

Deanna also had us practising stretches that might alleviate some of these aches and pains, or avoid them altogether by taking breaks every 30 minutes or so and doing a few before things start hurting. Her complete presentation can be read here, and look out for an email with the link to an illustrated instruction guide to the stretches. If necessary, consult your doctor or physiotherapist about problems you may be experiencing.


Posture & Quilting

Surgical Technology International Journal, reported online in The Atlantic

It can be so easy to get caught up in the pleasures of hand quilting, applique, and machine quilting.  Or perhaps deadlines and the desire to finish drive you on.

Time flies by, and then you wonder why your neck hurts.

Linda S. sent along a link about taking care of your hard-working neck when you quilt.  It is working harder than you may realize.

Click here for some information about the importance of posture for quilters.

Thanks, Linda.

January Meeting for Health

At our January meeting Deanna McMullan, a physiotherapist, was an excellent speaker and gave us guidelines for ways to prevent problems when we are on-a-roll of quilt making.  Her presentation concentrated on:

  • exercises – The exercises she demonstrated are similar to those for people who spend a lot of time at their desktop computers.  The exercises are designed to prevent repetitive use injuries and strengthen posture.   We had a chance to try them out and stretched arms, necks, and backs.  
  • posture – Good posture is important at our sewing machines and cutting tables.
  • workstations, i.e., sewing machines, cutting tables, and irons – She talked about how  we can set up our workstations ergonomically.
  • and breaks – Like people at any repetitive work we should also take breaks and move around, and, lift our eyes now and then to give them a rest.

Thanks, Deanna