my back hates that I love to sew


today is one of those days I started with an exercise routine again, well I hope I stick to it this time. Since I moved here I sadly never managed to get back into a good fitness routine and besides that I really like feeling fit, its mostly because of my back.

My shoulders tend to drop to the front, so I am getting a little hunchback. Sitting in front of the sewing machine or computer, or doing patterns and cutting on my dining table actually doesnt help a bit, but make it worse and often my back hurts a lot.

Do you crafters out there have the same problem? what kind of exercises are helping you? I will try some exercises over the next weeks and Β writing about whats helping me. Of course stopping sewing isnt an option and I fear if I keep going like this my back will one day force me to. πŸ˜₯

I am very open to suggestions, and thankful for any ideas. If there are more with back-troubles reading this, they also might like to know what works for you!

So I am curious what you have to say about spine-aches and exercises!

keep sewing (!?) and smiling

your TailorFairy


  1. Fingers Crossed here for a pain free back for you!!! I suffer from the same problem, but yet to find an answer unfortunately (other than breaks where I lie on a hard floor, but that gets annoying when the cats trample over you :-))

    Hope it gets better soon for you!

    • that sounds bad, but its actually comforting to know, that others have the same troubles. At the moment its still ok, but I know what it feels like if it gets worse…

  2. Identifying with the problem! I sew for a living, and have found I too am hunching over, without even knowing it! I have made an effort to get up & move every hour. Anything from cleaning an area in the studio to taking the dog out for some ball throwing.
    I also save up my hand work, and move to my recliner with the Ott light…….giving me a different position for my back.
    I’ll be interested in what else you come up with!

    • Ill be working mostly on building up muscles that improve my posture. But I am pretty much willing to try anything. πŸ™‚ Especially since its my living, too. I am also trying to sit up straight from time to time, even though I forget it again just a few minutes later.

      • I’m sitting up straighter too! Maybe we can remind each other! πŸ™‚
        I’m also working on raising the height of my cutting table, it is just a tad too short for me, my back screams!

      • yeah, that definitely will help, how are you planning to do so? sadly I am still cutting on a normal high dining table, but its an improvement to cutting on the ground. The day I get a proper cutting table I (and my back) will be so happy!

      • I have a cutting board (big sheet of plywood) on top of a regular table. So, I’m going to try raising it up 2″ first, using 2 long pieces of 2×2 lumber. If that doesn’t feel right, I’m going to 4×4’s.
        I tried (several tables ago) to use blocks of 4×4’s under each of the table legs, but I kept tripping over them.

  3. I can feel your pain!!occupational hazard of crafters… I find fitness balls amazing. To me they are the best for having a great stretch in my spine during a long sewing session, and i can also relax and stretch my shoulders on them.(5-8 mins stretching after every 30 mins can make a huge difference.) What also works for me is yoga. Just some basic postures for the back and shoulders. But sometimes the pain is too much….I suppose when it happens we just have to listen to our bodies and take at least one day off. Hope I could help a bit, wishing you pain-free sewing! =)

    • Thank you for your tips. Stretching sounds like a good idea, I will use a timer that reminds me throughout the day to do a short stretching routine. I never did any yoga, so I guess it would help but I dont know how to do it. πŸ˜‰

  4. I hear you! I get lower back pain when I sew a lot – Theoretically I regularly do yoga, but in reality that’s about 3x a year these day (that’s still ‘regular’ right?). Just stretching sometimes helps me… Hope your new routine works!

    • thats the kind of regularly I did workouts the last 2 years too, but I gonna be better from now on, especially since I have all of you knowing about it. πŸ˜‰

  5. I have the same problem to the point where I got crippling headaches. I went to get it massaged out and the therapist said it was so bad that there wasn’t much she could do and referred me to an osteopath. I’ve since had half a dozen treatments and worked with an exercise physiologist.
    It’s a postural thing. I’ve had to strengthen the muscles between my shoulder blades which pull back the shoulders to keep the back straight. It’s no use just trying to sit straight while you’re at the sewing machine because you’ll just wear out your upper back and shoulders which are fighting against the muscles that run from your shoulders to your chest.
    Sorry if that’s long-winded and confusing! If you take anything away from it, straighten up by drawing your shoulder blades towards one another in the middle of your back.Eventually the muscles will get used to the action and hold themselves better πŸ™‚

    • Actually you totally make sense. Thats what I thought: I need to strengthen the muscles in the back, so they help pulling my shoulders back and better my entire posture, and give more strength to my back. πŸ™‚ So lets hope it works, thank you for explaining it so detailed! I hope your back is pain free soon!

  6. I’ve been in the fitness industry for 20 years…the key is your posture while working and taking lots of breaks. I mean breaks every 15-20 minutes, stand up stretch your back by opening up your chest and bring your arms overhead. Then slow twist side-to -side. I hope that helps. 😦

  7. I’ve got a bad back & sewing makes it worse. It helps if I put a pillow between the small of my back & the chair. Also, those long, dense, foam cylinders are lovely for opening up your chest & in general stretching things out. Craniosacral therapy is a just amazing. The effects last longer than a good massage.

  8. I feel your pain! Although I don’t know anything about exercise because I am allergic to it unless its fun of course πŸ˜‰ nasty stuff should never have been invented!! I had some physio when i was pregnant and the best things I learned was to stand with my feet shoulder width apart and circle my hips clockwise then anti-clockwise for 20 reps each and the same with my shoulders then get on hands and knees arch my back up as far as I can for 10 seconds let it go (gently!!) and repeat for 20 reps. It works wonders everytime my back starts to act that that of a 90year old xx

  9. Hi Tailorfairy, thanks so much for stopping by my blog;)
    Oh, I hear you, and I don’t just curl over at the shoulders, I bend at the waist too – crushing everything inside! A back brace is a great idea, as is a waist elastic like ballerinas wear. If you keep your core muscles tight, the shoulders seem to follow suit and stay back (in my experience). I think most people with domestic machines sit at a poor height for best posture. Using an adjustable chair and a block/step under the table to raise the presser foot can improve the seating position. Thinking of an industrial machine, the sewing bed is much closer to the edge of the table than I have my domestic, and it’s only at the domestic I have problems, I guess from reaching too far. Try changing your work heights, and channel your inner Joan from Madmen!

    • You’re very welcome!
      Actually in fashion school we had industrial machines and they were the worst for me. Just because the pedal was stuck in that one place that was right under the machine and my legs are to long for that, so I always had my knees hit the table. πŸ˜‰
      I would need to raise my sewing table up about 5 to 10 cm, but any way I can think of wouldn’t be stable enough. 😦 so I try to remember to sit up straight and am training my back muscles every second day.
      What exactly is a back brace and a waist elastic? And I guess I am missing something for not having a TV, I suppose Joan from Madmen sits up very straight?

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