Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads


capucine5 | Posted in General Discussion on

Hello everybodys!

I am new at sewing projects and I am a french speaker language. Therefore I apologize for misuse the English language.

My question today is the following one:

Is any one have some trucs to avoid pain in the upper back when you are cutting tissus for a new project? As a retired nurse I take the position of a surgeon while operating for long hours. I mean to keep my feets widely open, and my shoulders perpendicular to the direction of my scisors. Plus my working table is on a top of an iron board at his higher level.

But still I do have that pain in the back under my shoulders blade, on the left side close to the spinal cord.

I would like to suggest to Threads magasine to publish an article on that subject. I understand that is more a heath subject but may be your readers can enjoy few trucs to avoid that fatigue from the pratice of there favorite hobbys.

Thank you, I hope to hear from you soon  🙂


AUGUST 24, 2006

I would like to thank WOGGY, WOODRUFF, MEM, NURSEWING.

I agree with you all, it is like a cramp because I demande to a very little muscle to do a job for a long period of time without relaxing because I’m to concentrate to the task. I will pratice the exercise that woggy descrive to me. For sure I will come back to that chatting room and tell you about all the new and nice experiences I did enjoy in learning this new skill. And let me tell you I’m very proud to be part of your group and share your knowledge.

Let’s back to the sewing machine! 🙂


AOUT 25, 2006


Here the address: http://www.working-well.org you click on the label TREATMENT and the part of you body you want exercise…. It is just perfect 🙂 

Have a good day!

Edited 8/24/2006 11:44 am ET by capucine5

Edited 8/24/2006 12:26 pm ET by capucine5

Edited 8/25/2006 12:19 pm ET by capucine5


  1. woggy | | #1

    Welcome to this board!

    I have a suggestion to help with the pain. It is a great exercise and I do it frequently when sewing or sitting at my computer.

    Stand up straight

    Bend your knees slightly

    Tuck your fanny so your pelvis is pointing towards the ceiling - like a dog tucking his tail underneath his body

    Inhale and raise your rib cage up out of your waist area


    Raise your arms shoulder level and keep arms in line with shoulders - not in front of shoulder joints

    Stretch arms away from body as if you are trying to touch opposite walls

    With each hand, touch thumb to first finger (forms a circle)

    Bring hands toward upper area arms - touch upper arm - it is as if you are "making a muscle"

    Sretch hands out towards walls

    Keep your head straight and alined over spine

    Keep rib cage up and breath deeply

    Do this a few times and you can feel relief in your upper back and down your spine

    You can even do this while sitting and get relief.

    Good luck!

    1. User avater
      capucine5 | | #5

      Hello woggy, I do have a question concerning the exercise you did suggest to me.

      "Tuck your fanny so your pelvis is pointing towards the ceiling - like a dog tucking his tail underneath his body" 

      Do I band completly in front of me or I just project lightly my fanny backward or I project lightly forward?

      Thank you in advance for your help,

      THERESE  :-)



      1. woggy | | #7


        When standing straight just bend your knees slightly then rotate your pelvis forward.

        Think about pulling your belly button up and in towards your spine.  It as if you are trying to zip up a pair of pants that are snug - you suck your tummy in - but you are trying to pull it up at the same time.  This movement protects your lower back from stress.

        You don't want to stick your fanny out  but rather pull it forward.  Imagine a string attached at the end of your zipper on the front of your pants.  Someone is above you and is lightly pulling on the string to make your pelvis come forward.

        I hope this make more sense.


        1. User avater
          capucine5 | | #9

          ok I understand better the exercise now. And I did practice it all day long today with the target muscle in mind.  And it is working. I'm much more confortable to keep working.

          Thank you again for the information.  Me to I do work a lot at the computer, we do have that in common!

          Amicaly,  Therese  :-)

      2. mygaley | | #13

        Dear Therese: Welcome to gatherings. Your written English is very good. I live not far from the south part of Louisiana and quite a few of my friends are first-generation english speakers; their parents spoke only French and were part of the Acadian culture that Louisiana is proud to claim as part of our heritage. The advice about the pelvic posture exercise really helped me when I first heard it. I sew custom draperies and not only are the panels large and heavy, but the end of the project is always to press them. Now I can iron all day long without back pain. God bless you Galey

  2. woodruff | | #2

    Hello, Thérèse,

    I wish I could observe you while you are cutting fabric. That would be a big help. However, since you are new to sewing, I will guess that part of your problem is related simply to lack of experience--perhaps with a bit of tension or nervousness, which is common when one is still learning. Many people contract the trapezius on one side when they are just beginning, and, of course, the advice for that would be to relax and keep the shoulders down.

    Your experience sounds different, though. Could you describe a little more where the pain is? For example, is it near the upper margins of the scapula, or the lower, or actually deep beneath the scapula itself?

    Is it a constant pain, or do you feel it only when you do certain things with your left hand?

  3. mem | | #3

    Hello and welcome . This is a very common problem . First I would suggest that you do some stretches after about 10 mins of cutting and that you bend from the hip joint which is in your groin but keep your back straight . This is very dear to my heart as i am a physiotherapist and discuss these issues with people all day ! You are right to keep your feet spread.The muscles which hold your spine up are actually very small and weak and when they start to tire the load falls to the ligaments and joint capsules which tire very quickly and then cause pain. The posture which is most sustainable is one where your chin is over your chest and your hips under the shoulders and the lumbar curve is present . When we sew, often the chin is poking forward giving us neck pain or even a headache and we are suspending our backs from our sad pathetic little spinal muscles and expecting them to cope for sustained periods of time . So the best strategy is to vary your posture and do some stretches often and do this on a background of increasing your general physical fitness.

    hope that helps.


    1. User avater
      capucine5 | | #10

      The truc to keep your chin on your thorax is a very good posture. I did notice today that it is true that we do have the tendency to keep our chin higher than necessary so it hard for the neck muscles... I do wear glaces to see close and it is not helping my posture... but with you truc in mind it is much much better.

      My oncle is a Chiropractor and he did mention it to me that it is bad for the neck to be always in strech position and I did notice that I was doing it when I was sleeping, since I care about my position on the pilow my headache diminish in half. So your comment completed the circle!

      Thank you for your advise,


      Amicaly Therese  :-)


  4. nursewing | | #4

    I have a sewing table that hits me around my waist or a few inches above. Also don't stand barefoot. Marcia

  5. MaryinColorado | | #6

    Hello and welcome to this forum.  It has helped me so much.  You might try to google search the word "ergonomics" and "sewing" togeather.  I am also a nurse (retired early due to arthritis and chronic pain).  There are many ergonomic tools and suggestions for sewing and such.  Sometimes at websites or sewing books and magazines.  There is a book on sewing room design that has lots of ideas for appropriate body mechanics and room set up, sorry I cannot remember the name.  I think it might be Dream Sewing Spaces.

    I have secretary type chairs for sewing.  For cutting I use a "drafting chair" that I found for ten dollars at a used office furniture store.  It is wonderful for ironing also.

    Pilates exercise has helped me so much.  Also I sometimes set a timer to remind me to get up and stretch and walk around every twenty minutes.

    Hope you find relief for your pain and even better, a way to prevent it.  Mary

    1. dsrtrt2 | | #8

      I agree with you, Mary.  I have 2 ergonomic sewing chairs but for cutting I use a drafting chair.  MUCH easier on the back but you still have to get up and do stretches.  I remember I used to cut projects out on a cutting board on the floor.  No way I could do that now!


    2. User avater
      capucine5 | | #11

      Thank you for the "Q"... I will certainly complete my research as you suggested.

      Amicaly Therese  :-)

  6. Teaf5 | | #12

    Good advice so far; may I add a bit more?

    Good posture really, really helps, as does taking breaks between cutting tasks. I take a break after I pin all the pieces, then take a moment to unpin and fold and stack each piece as I cut it out. Sometimes, between cutting tasks, I might go find and preshrink the interfacing, wind some bobbins on my machine, or any other task that requires different muscles and posture. In this way, I can complete all the tasks in about the same amount of time, but I don't have to spend long periods in the same position.

    While using my sewing machine or my computer, I try very hard to remember my piano teacher's constant demand that I sit up straight and keep my wrists straight while relaxing my shoulders. As a result, I don't suffer nearly as many aches and pains.

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All


Shop the Store

View All
View More