I know there are many fellow quilters out there that suffer from chronic pain and as I am a long time sufferer of chronic pain and have used quilting as my therapy for the past almost 3 years. So along the way with new issues arising and working with a chronic pain psychologist and chronic pain physio I have figured out some ways of still being able to quilt that doesn't add to that pain level.
Tip number 1
So the first thing that I always use is to pace myself. This was something that through working with the chronic pain psychologist and chronic pain physio that we came up with was for me to work out how long I sewed for before I was at a point of no return for the pain to flare up, so say I could only sew for 15 mins then the pain flared up and was so bad and that was it for the day I would now only sew for 10 mins at a time then stop and take a break for a while then go back to it. So for me I can sew for about 10- 15 mins then I take at least a 30 min break. This has helped me immensely and works wonders. And you would be surprised at how much sewing you can still get done in 10-15 min intervals.
Now if you have to, set yourself a timer so that you stick to that time frame and don't lose track of time and keep pushing through the pain.
Tip number 2
My next tip is to make sure you have things at the correct height for you. So for me I have had to adjust cutting tables and things like that so that I am not having to bend over tables. That can really flare up things like lower back injuries or upper back and arm injuries. I had my husband build me a cutting table that's at the correct height for me and it's on wheels so that it can be easily moved around but you could just as easy use a kitchen bench which is at a much better height for cutting than say a table or you can try to source things called bed risers to bring the height of a normal table up to the correct height.
Also when I am hand binding my quilts I like to be sitting at a table that has the correct height or sometimes I use my ironing board because it's adjustable in height and set it to the correct height so as I am not having to lean over and put extra pressure on my neck and shoulders. And I will also pace myself on that too by setting myself a 10 min time frame then I walk away and come back later on to do a bit more.
Tip number 3
Table top basting
I also very quickly learned that basting my quilts on the floor wasn't going to work for me so I figured out a way that I could baste them on top of a table which there is an earlier blog post on and it has made that whole process so much easier and more pleasant.
Tip number 4
Using an ironing board when quilting
When I am quilting my quilts I like to use an ironing board beside me to take the weight of the quilt instead of having it up over one shoulder and this has also helped me so much. Have the ironing board adjusted to the same height as my desk that my sewing machine is sitting on and to the left of me and have the bulk of the quilt sitting on there and then the rest of the quilt that needs to be under the machine under the machine.
Tip number 5
And lastly just have fun. It's not a race to beat anyone else in how much quilting they can do you need to relax and just go at your own pace. Everyone has different amounts of time they can spend on it and also depending on flare ups you will go through stages where you can't do any at all. So try and not put too much pressure on yourself with too many things at one time that have specific deadlines because stress can very easily cause a flare up and if you are going to be stressing yourself out about having to do too many things all at once you really are taking the fun out of it and lets face it this is something that we are doing for fun not to create more stress in our lives. So just relax have fun and things will get done when they get done. If it's no longer fun it isn't working.
Just remember everyone's journey is different.
Hope some of these tips can help you out if you are suffering from chronic pain disorders. Hope you are having a lovely week and take care my lovely people.