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Quilting and Neck Problems

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Debra Moore Posted: Mon, Sep 19 2011 8:24 PM

Just finished cutting the background blocks for MQ5 and and clearly remember one of the reasons I took a break from quilting.  I have DDD (deteriorating disc disease) in my neck.  Looking down for extended periods of time is painful.  Any suggestions out there?  Surely I'm not the only 50 year old with a bad neck (and left knee, wrists, elbows and r hip of course)

I don't want to back away from quilting again, because other than my dogs and church, it's one of the few things I'm still passionate about.  (my granddaughters are in PA, life was happier when they were closer)

Thanks in advance to all,

Debra

Davis, CA

 

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Nana replied on Mon, Sep 19 2011 8:32 PM

Debra

I have arthritis that can have really bad flares.  When it gets bad I do my cutting sitting down.  I don't seem to have to bend my neck as much.  I also try to take lots of breaks when cutting,

Vinton, Virginia

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Melissa replied on Mon, Sep 19 2011 8:42 PM

I have heard great things about tilted sewing tables. Here is a link. This is actually not the one I remember seeing. The one I saw was wooden and I think it would better hold a larger machine. But maybe something like this might help? Maybe you have a hubby who could make one up? I also heard that rubber door stops work and that tilting won't harm your computerized machine.


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Linny t replied on Mon, Sep 19 2011 8:44 PM

Debra, I have trouble with my neck when I look down too much, too.  Like Nana says, take lots of breaks and try to minimize that posture as much as you can by sitting or maybe bringing your cutting surface up higher.  I have found that traction helps when it really starts hurting.  I just sit and pull up on my head or sometimes, just bend over and let my head hang down.  It takes that pressure off the nerves.  The body is something isn't it?  For me it was like an alarm went off when I turned 50 and my neck started hurting and some other things went wrong with it.  Ah the pleasures of those golden years!  I am determined to not let it stop me, though.

Linny T

 

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Thanks to all  for the great feedback.  I guess I'll have just go easy on myself and not get my "quilting blinders" on (lol).  Getting old certainly does have it's charms, doesn't it?

'Course I was just asking for trouble, what with taking up quilting after I blew out my wrist after 5 years as a Falconer.  Yep, gave up my hawks and took up quilting... not too smart a move when you think about it.  Especially when you consider I'm on a computer 8 hours a day (and that's not counting at home haha).

Still, we don't choose our passions, they just are.  And we are blessed indeed if we have them.

God Bless,

Debra

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Karla replied on Mon, Sep 19 2011 8:54 PM

I, too, have some neck problems.  Sometimes it feels like my neck just can't hold my head up anymore, so it is also frequent breaks for me.  I also rotate what I'm doing...quilt for awhile, piece for awhile, cut for awhile. 

 

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Melissa,

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.  No hubby anymore, but 2 strappin adult sons that should be able to help out.  If they know what's good for them. :-)

Debra

 

 

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Karla,

Duh... great idea that I should have already had in my bag of tricks.  I can get kind of singleminded at times...

Thanks for the input.

Debra

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Elizabeth replied on Mon, Sep 19 2011 9:28 PM

Totally understand about the neck problems, I broke my neck in an acciden and have very limited range of motion..  I do all of the things mentioned but I found that raising my cutting table to waist height was the best help.  I finally bought a mid arm because the extra task of machine quilting finally got to be to much.  I have to limit any one task to an hour break for at leat half an hour than back at it or switch tasks

 Elizabeth

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Elizabeth,

So sorry to hear about the neck, that's awful.  I had a question about your raised cutting table... do have any any range of cutting motion issues because it's waist high?  Do you have to make any cutting accommodations like shorter or shallower cuts?

Thanks

Debra

 

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Nana replied on Mon, Sep 19 2011 10:25 PM

Debra

I bought one of the kitchen cutting board tables with 2 doors and a drawer at WalMart that I placed an Altos Quilt Cut 2 on top.  It is waist high and is much easier on the neck and shoulders than trying to cut at a regular height table.  The bending absolutely kills my lower back.  So if I use a regular height table I sit to do my cutting.  If I use that Altos cutting mat on the waist high table I can stand.  Don't have hardly any problems with pain when I do my cutting now.

Vinton, Virginia

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Nana,

I've got two Walmarts real close, and am going to check out the tables this weekend. 

Thanks!

Debra

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Kris replied on Tue, Sep 20 2011 12:20 AM

Debra Moore:
Any suggestions out there?  Surely I'm not the only 50 year old with a bad neck (and left knee, wrists, elbows and r hip of course)

Debra,

try one of the ergonomic rotary cutters like the Martelli cutter. It reduces the stress on your wrists/elbows/shoulders. Great for arthritis and CTS sufferers. It's also easier to cut from a sitting position.

Frequent breaks (no marathon cutting sessions) as Nana suggested and neck and shoulder stretches. A warm, moist towel around the neck feels good too.

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Maggie replied on Tue, Sep 20 2011 12:21 AM

Debra, I bought a set of  bed risers for about $7 at Walmart and put them under a 24" x 60" folding utility table.  It works great and is stable.  I keep rolling carts underneath it for supplies too.

Maggie

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Melissa replied on Tue, Sep 20 2011 8:08 AM

Nana, I have a rolling kitchen island in my sewing room too and I love it. It is high, it moves, and it has storage. Bonus, bonus, and more bonus. And I just put my cutting mat on mine and go to town, too. But that made me think of another helper I used (I have an old neck injury from a car accident, sciatic nerve pain, and an achy lower back to go along with my carpal tunnel and bad should - ain't gettin' old great!). I bought be risers and put them under my table legs to make my table higher. That was before the kitchen island came to live with me. I have one of those 6 foot long folding tables. It is too large to keep out all the time, but I sandwich quilts on it and when I get it out, I use my risers.


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