How to Avoid Body Pains While Sewing?

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Have you ever felt pain in your arm while sewing? Or maybe your wrist became so sore that you couldn’t press the needle down and had to stop? If you’ve experienced any of these issues, then this post is for you. Here are some tips on how to avoid painful body pains and how to recover quickly after sewing. 

Sewing is an activity that requires patience and concentration over time. It is something that you can’t learn on the fly. If you’re not sure what to do, take a break from sewing to stretch and do some deep-breathing exercises.

In this article, I will give insight into what causes different body pains while sewing and also reveal some helpful tips on how to alleviate pain while continuing with the project.

Kind Of Body Pains While Sewing

Wrist Pain

While sewing, you may notice that one of your wrists starts hurting badly. This can be caused by the pressure of your hand or wrists against the fabric. Let go of your fabric if you feel pain. To relieve wrist pain, try stretching as much as you can while sewing. You can also try using a simple elastic or rubber band around your wrist and elbow area to support the pressure.

Arm Pain

This is a very common problem to encounter while sewing. If you’re having problems with your arms, it can sometimes be really hard to continue with your project. The best thing to do is take frequent breaks while sewing lengthy projects so that you can have time off to stretch or readjust yourself in your chair. If it gets too bad, take a break and soak your hands in some warm water

Neck Pain

While sewing, you may feel pain in the area close to your neck. This can be caused by sewing through a collar or cuffs onto an area where the neck is sewn. Neck pain can sometimes lead to headaches as well. To ease this pain, you can make sure your head is not too low while sewing and make sure that the area around your neck isn’t too tight. Put on loose-fitting clothing and make sure to take frequent breaks when you feel the pain getting worse.

Shoulder Pain

If your shoulders are feeling pain while sewing, you may be holding the fabric too tightly. Make sure that the fabric isn’t too taut and that you aren’t holding it so tight that it causes pain in your shoulders and arms. You should also take frequent breaks to give yourself a rest from tension.

Back pain

While sewing, you may start to notice pain in the lower back area. This can be caused by your body positioning while sewing and not having enough support while performing the task. The best way to prevent back pain is to sit well-supported in your chair so that there is no pressure on the spine. You can also avoid making large movements with your body while performing tasks like walking or turning around.

Knee/Leg Pain

If there is a serious pain in your knee or leg while sewing, then you may need to sit on a higher chair or stool while sewing. Or maybe your sewing machine’s pedal height can be adjusted higher so that your knees rest on the pedal. Also, try to avoid kneeling while working with the needle.

What are the causes of body pain while sewing?

Many reasons cause you body pain like:

  1. Unusual postures while sewing
  2. Poor vision
  3. Lifting heavy objects
  4. Scratching skin
  5. Using incorrect needles or thread
  6. Constantly sewing without taking a break
  7. Ignoring the first signs of pain
  8. Lack of maintenance
  9. Tension setting on the sewing machine
  10. Back strain

Unusual postures while sewing

You can often do more harm than good when you are not in an unusual posture while sewing. Make sure that your body is in a comfortable position so that you can focus on the task at hand. Be careful when you have to bend down for any reason as well. It is important to not let your body put a strain on muscles or joints that are already sensitive to previous injuries or spasms.

Poor vision

Poor vision can make it hard to see what you are doing which can cause body pain in the hands and fingers. Make sure that your vision is good enough to enjoy sewing before attempting any projects that require accuracy with stitches or fabrics.

Lifting heavy objects

Do not lift heavy objects on your own. You can injure yourself by using improper lifting techniques or strain on muscles or joints. You may injure your back or neck if you do not support the weight of the object with proper posture while lifting it.

Scratching skin

Try to avoid scratching up your skin while sewing as this will increase the amount of body pain while you are working. If you are working on a large project and struggling to handle the weight of the fabric, consider using an extra strong sewing needle to tackle the weight of the project.

Using incorrect needles or thread

Make sure that you are using the right size needles and thread for your type of fabric. When sewing with stronger fabrics like leather, make sure that you use a thicker needle if your machine can handle it. If it cannot, then you should consider using a heavier-duty needle which will help reduce the pain felt while sewing on leather.

Constantly sewing without taking a break

Make sure to take frequent breaks while you are sewing. This will not only help prevent injuries but will also help relax your body from the tension caused by long periods of working at the machine.

Ignoring the first signs of pain

The first signs of pain should be taken seriously and acted upon. If your body is experiencing pain, take a break and try to relax your muscles. Do not push yourself too hard as this will only lead to more problems down the line.

Lack of maintenance

If you want to avoid injuries while sewing, you should make sure that you are maintaining your machine properly while performing general sewing tasks in between projects as well. If you neglect the maintenance of your machine, it will break down, and you may have to spend money on repairs that would have easily been avoided.

Tension setting on the sewing machine

There is a certain tension setting that works best for each project. If your tension is set too loose or too tight, you may end up causing muscle pain as a result of working with either an unstable or too strong material respectively. Make sure you know what your tension needs to be for each project and change it accordingly for optimal performance results.

Back strain

Back strain is one of the most common reasons for body pain while sewing. Try to take frequent breaks as well as make sure that your posture is comfortable when you have to sit for long periods like during a sewing project.

Top 12 Tips To Avoid Pains While Using A Sewing Machine

How to get rid of these pains? There are also some helpful tips on how to recover quickly after sewing.

  1. Take a break
  2. Exercise early in the day to get rid of excess pain
  3. Actively stretch after every stitching 
  4. Leaving the machine running while not using it
  5. Try using a footstool or higher chair
  6. Use an ergonomic chair
  7. Proper posture
  8. Remove distractions
  9. Machine table balance and level
  10. Pinching fingers
  11. Use pins instead of nails
  12. Remove thread from hand sometimes

Take a break

One of the best ways to get rid of body pain is by taking frequent breaks when you need them. Make sure that you are not working on your project for too long at a time as this will cause more harm than good. Not only can breaks help reduce pain, but they will also prevent carpal tunnel syndrome if constantly worked on without giving your body rest. Taking breaks will help your muscles and hands rejuvenate themselves.

Exercise early in the day to get rid of excess pain

Exercise is another way to alleviate body pain while sewing. Your hands will likely become sore as you continue to sew. Make sure you take a break and do some exercise with your fingers so that they get the blood flowing through them. The exercise will make your muscles feel less sore after working them too long while sewing. It will also help relieve any stress that has built up in your muscles.

Actively stretch after every stitching 

Stretching can help reduce body pain while sewing when on breaks or during the task itself. Stretching will reduce tension build-up in your muscles and help ease the pain. Also, it is recommended that you move around your body regularly while sewing so that your back doesn’t become stiff during long sewing sessions.

Leaving the machine running while not using it

Leave your sewing machine off while you are not using it. Leaving it on can cause the motor to become overheated and burn out. Also, leaving your machine on when you are not working is a waste of electricity and money.

Try using a footstool or higher chair

If you are experiencing pain in the knees or legs because of long periods of sitting, try using a footstool to elevate yourself. This will help reduce the pain and allow you to relax more while sewing.

Use an ergonomic chair

Ergonomic chairs can help reduce body pain while sewing and at work too. You should be able to fit your entire body in the chair so that there is no pain as a result of body pressure while sitting. Using an ergonomic chair will also enable you to sit comfortably which will make your experience more effective and not tiring over time.

Proper posture

Make sure that you are sitting in a comfortable position while working at the sewing machine or doing any other task. Make sure that your back is supported by the chair and that there is no pain in any part of your body as a result of the sitting position.

Remove distractions

Distractions can cause your body to tense up which will increase the pain felt while performing tasks like sewing. Try to remove all possible distractions from your workspace so that you can focus on what you need alone without any unnecessary pressure.

Machine table balance and level

If you are using a heavy-duty sewing machine, make sure that your machine is balanced and level. If you have a heavy-duty machine, you can use the provided accessories like the optional foot pedal to support the weight of your sewing machine.

Pinching fingers

Pinching your fingers is one of the most common ways to cause body pain when sewing. Try to take frequent breaks and allow your hands to rest. Also, try to be careful when pinching any fabric to not accidentally pinch your skin.

Use pins instead of nails

If you are using pins instead of nails, it is recommended that you use the right size pins or use a fabric pin cushion to avoid pinching or cutting your fingers while working on projects.

Remove thread from hand sometimes

Thread can get caught between your fingers and cause pain as a result of friction. This can be avoided by making sure that you remove the thread from your fingers as soon as possible while sewing.

FAQ about Avoiding Different Pains While Using Sewing

What can I do to avoid needle prick injuries?

If you are having problems with needle pricks while sewing, try a thimble. Thimbles protect your fingertips while sewing as they act as cushions between the material and your fingertip.

How do I stop my neck from hurting when sewing?

If your neck is in pain, you should make sure that your posture is correct. If the pain doesn’t go away after making sure that you are in the correct position, you may have to stop sewing and allow your neck muscles to relax. Do not push yourself by continuing to sew if you are experiencing body pain as this will only make it harder for the pain to stop since your body will be constantly tense from working.

How do I stop my fingers from hurting when I sew?

If your fingers are hurting, the first thing you should do is relax. If the pain continues after you have relaxed your fingers, there may be something wrong with the way that you hold your sewing machine.

How do sewists avoid back pain?

Sewing can cause back pain if you do not find a good seating position. You should not sit with bent legs or with your back hunched backward. Make sure that you have the correct height chair so that your back does not hunch over to avoid any unnecessary strain on the muscles. If your sewing machine can be adjusted on its frame, make sure that your chair is at the same height as the machine’s frame.

Does sewing hurt your hands?

Yes, sewing can hurt your hands. If you notice that your hands are in pain while sewing, it could be one of the following: you may have stayed on your hand too long while working, you may have worked with improper tension which led to hand fatigue, or you may have strained your fingers while sewing. Try to take a break if your hands become sore.

How do I know what type of shoulder pain I have?

You can determine your shoulder pain by doing a shoulder touch of the shoulder joint with your hand. How much pain you have will be different for everyone. Notice how much pain you have by using a scale of 1 to 10. If your shoulder pain is rated a one, you can still sew without any difficulties. If your shoulder pain is a 10, you should take a break from sewing and not resume until the pain ceases. If an injury does occur, rest for the proper amount of time to allow your wound to heal naturally.

How long does it take for shoulder pain to go away?

The shoulder pain can be very dangerous, so it will take a while for it to go away. Usually, shoulder pain can last for 1 to 2 years. If you continue to sew using the shoulder pain, you could continue to hurt yourself. Make sure you do not overdo it because the shoulder pain can come back at any time.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this article was informative and will help you to avoid body pain while sewing. In case of an emergency, if you have body pain, try to take an aspirin, take a bath and relax your muscles before trying again.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave us a comment below. We will reply to you as soon as possible. Thanks for reading my article.


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I have been working as a seamstress since I was 12 years old, and I would be happy to teach you what I know. I, along with the rest of my team, investigate numerous sewing, quilting, embroidery, and fabric related how-to guides, and present our findings to you.

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