How to Avoid Body Pains While Sewing?

Sewing can be a satisfying and therapeutic hobby, but it has downsides. Many avid sewers have experienced the frustration of body pains from spending hours hunched over a sewing machine or hand-stitching intricate designs. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced seamstress, these body pains can dampen your enthusiasm and hinder your progress. But fear not! This article aims to explore some practical tips and techniques to help you avoid nagging backaches, neck strains, and wrist pains while indulging in your love for sewing. From proper posture to ergonomic tools and exercises, let’s discover how you can sew without pain and easily enjoy every stitch of creativity.

Kind Of Body Pains And How To Avoid Body Pains While Sewing

Wrist Pain

Sewing is a beloved pastime for many, but it can take its toll on the body. One common issue that may arise while sewing is wrist pain. When we sew, our hands and wrists are constantly in motion, manipulating fabric and holding needles or other tools. As time passes, this repetitive movement can strain and discomfort the wrists.

Interestingly, it’s not just the repetitive nature of sewing that causes wrist pain; it’s also the pressure exerted against the fabric. Pushing or pressing down too hard with our hands or wrists while sewing creates additional stress on these delicate joints. This added pressure can cause inflammation, leading to discomfort and even more serious conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Paying attention to your posture and technique while sewing is important to alleviate this issue. Ensure you keep your hands and wrists relaxed and in a neutral position as much as possible. Utilizing ergonomic tools such as cushioned mats under your project or wrist supports can also help distribute pressure more evenly. Taking regular breaks to stretch your fingers, hands, and wrists throughout your sewing session will further reduce strain on these vulnerable areas.

You can prevent unnecessary pain and injury by being mindful of how much pressure you place on your wrists when sewing. Remember: relax those joints, take breaks often, and prioritize proper ergonomics while creating beautiful garments or crafts through sewing!

Arm Pain

One such issue is arm pain, which can hinder your progress and even force you to take breaks during projects. As frustrating as it may seem, arm pain is a common problem among sewists due to the repetitive movements involved in this craft. But fear not! The discomfort can be eased with some measures, and you can keep stitching.

Evaluating your sewing setup and making necessary adjustments is essential. Ensure that your sewing machine’s height is appropriate for your body, with the needle at eye level or slightly below. This alignment will prevent excessive strain on your arms as you sew. Additionally, consider investing in a chair or cushion that supports good posture while providing comfort during long hours of sewing.

Next, take regular breaks to stretch and relax your arms and shoulders. Reach overhead with one arm and gently pull it towards the opposite side to stretch the shoulder muscles. Rotate both wrists clockwise and counterclockwise several times to relieve tension in your forearms. These simple exercises rejuvenate tired muscles and help alleviate any stiffness or soreness.

Shoulder Pain

If you are experiencing shoulder pain while sewing, one possible culprit is how tightly you hold the fabric. When engrossed in a project, it is easy to unknowingly grip the fabric too tightly, putting excessive strain on our shoulders and causing discomfort. To alleviate this issue, try consciously relaxing your grip on the fabric. Focus on maintaining a light hold that allows for smooth movements and prevents unnecessary tension from building up.

Shoulder pain while sewing can also indicate poor posture or an inadequate setup. Slouching or hunching over your work can stress your shoulders and neck, leading to pain and discomfort. Similarly, if your sewing machine is not at an appropriate height for you, it can cause strain on your muscles as you reach or extend to reach the foot pedal or controls. Be mindful of your posture when sewing and make necessary adjustments to ensure proper alignment of your body with the machine.

It’s important to pay attention to any physical discomfort during activities like sewing as it may indicate habits that need adjusting. By consciously monitoring how tightly we hold fabric, maintaining good posture, and creating an ergonomic sewing setup, we can help reduce shoulder pain while embracing our passion for creating beautiful pieces with the joy they bring us.

Back pain

Back pain while sewing is a common problem that many seamstresses experience. The constant sitting and hunching over a sewing machine can strain the muscles in your lower back, leading to discomfort and pain. It’s important to be mindful of your body positioning while sewing and to take regular breaks to stretch and move around.

Adjusting your chair height and posture is one way to alleviate back pain while sewing. The feet should be flat on the floor, and the knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Sit up straight with your shoulders relaxed, avoiding slouching or leaning forward. A lumbar support pillow or cushion can provide extra comfort and support for your lower back.

Knee/Leg Pain

Sewing is undoubtedly a relaxing and rewarding activity. As a result, if you’re experiencing persistent knee or leg pain while pursuing your passion, it’s crucial not to ignore it. Ignoring such discomfort can lead to long-term issues that could hinder your sewing journey. One possible solution to alleviate this pain is opting for a higher chair or stool while sewing.

A higher seating position allows for better alignment of the spine and hips, reducing stress on the knees and legs. Maintaining a proper posture with your feet flat on the ground allows you to distribute your weight more evenly, minimizing strain on specific areas. This simple adjustment can help promote better blood circulation and prevent the onset of chronic pain resulting from prolonged sitting in an awkward position.

What are the causes of body pain while sewing?

Avoid Body Pains While Sewing

Various factors can result in bodily discomfort, such as:

  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

Sewing can be a relaxing and fulfilling hobby but can also come with its fair share of body pain. Poor posture is a major contributing factor. We often find ourselves leaning over our work or hunching our shoulders forward when we sew for extended periods. This strains our neck, back, and shoulders, leading to discomfort and pain.

Another cause of body pain while sewing is repetitive motion. Think about it – when we sew, our hands are almost constantly moving in the same repetitive motions: pushing the needle through the fabric, pulling the thread tight, and repeating repeatedly. With time, this repetition can lead to muscle strain and tension in the arms, wrists, and fingers.

To combat body pain while sewing, it’s crucial to be aware of your posture. Ensure your back is supported by a chair that sits upright. You may even want to invest in an ergonomic sewing chair designed specifically for long hours of sitting and sewing. Additionally, taking breaks every 30 minutes can help alleviate muscle fatigue caused by repetitive motion. Stretching or walking around for a few minutes can relieve and prevent further strain on your body.

Poor vision

Sewing is an art that requires precision and attention to detail. When you have poor vision, it can become incredibly challenging. The strain on your eyes to focus on small stitches and intricate patterns can lead to headaches and eye fatigue. But many people don’t realize that poor vision while sewing doesn’t just affect your eyes—it can also cause body pain in your hands and fingers.

Lifting heavy objects

Avoid lifting heavy objects alone, as using incorrect techniques or straining muscles and joints can lead to injuries. Failing to support the weight properly with good posture can result in back or neck injuries.

Scratching skin

When you’re sewing, avoiding scratching your skin is a good idea, as this can make your body ache. If you’re dealing with a big project and finding it hard to manage the fabric’s weight, think about using a super strong sewing needle to handle the load of the project. Taking care of your comfort while sewing is essential for a smoother experience. 

Using incorrect needles or thread

Matching the right needle and thread size to your fabric type is important. When working with sturdy materials like leather, choose a thicker needle if your machine allows it. If not, opt for a heavy-duty needle to ease the sewing process and minimize discomfort when working with leather. This small adjustment can make your sewing experience much smoother. 

Constantly sewing without taking a break

Don’t forget to give yourself breaks when sewing. Regular pauses are important to avoid injuries and ease the strain from extended sewing sessions. These breaks allow your body to rest and unwind from the stress of working on the machine for extended periods. So remember, take breaks to sew without discomfort.

Ignoring the first signs of pain

It’s important to pay attention to the initial signs of pain and take them seriously. If you feel discomfort, give yourself a break and focus on relaxing your muscles. Remember not to overexert yourself; pushing too hard can worsen the situation and lead to further issues. By taking care of your body now, you can prevent more problems in the future.

Lack of maintenance

Taking care of your sewing machine is important to keep yourself safe while sewing. Regular maintenance is essential, even during simple sewing tasks between projects. Ignoring machine upkeep can lead to breakdowns, and you might spend money on repairs that could have been prevented with simple maintenance routines. Safeguard your sewing experience by looking after your machine!

Tension setting on the sewing machine

For every project, there’s an ideal tension setting to consider. If your tension is too loose or tight, it can lead to muscle pain – either from working with unstable material or using excessive force. It is crucial to understand the right tension for each project and adjust it accordingly for the best results. Keeping the tension in check ensures you can work comfortably and avoid unnecessary muscle strain. As a result, take the time to find that perfect balance and enjoy your projects without discomfort. 

Back strain

Back strain is a major cause of discomfort while sewing. Taking breaks often and maintaining a comfortable posture is important, especially during long sewing sessions. When working on a sewing project, ensure that you sit in a way that doesn’t strain your back. Adjust your chair and workspace to support your back and prevent pain. Remember, a few simple adjustments can go a long way in making your sewing experience more comfortable and enjoyable.

Top 12 Tips To Avoid Pains While Using A Sewing Machine

Avoid Body Pains While Sewing

What can be done to relieve these pains? As well as some helpful sewing tips, there are some tips on recovering 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

Regular breaks are The most important tip to avoid pain using a sewing machine. Sewing for long periods can put a lot of strain on your muscles, especially on your neck, shoulders, and back. Taking short breaks every 30 minutes can help prevent stiffness and muscle fatigue. Use this time to stretch your muscles, walk around, or do gentle exercises.

Another benefit of taking breaks is that it gives your eyes a rest from staring at the tiny stitches on the fabric. While focusing intensely on your work is crucial for accuracy, it can also lead to eye strain and headaches if done for extended periods without relief. During your break, look away from the sewing machine and focus on something in the distance to relax your eyes.

Remember that prioritizing self-care while using a sewing machine is essential for avoiding pain and enhancing the quality of your work. By incorporating regular breaks into your sewing routine, you’ll be able to maintain better physical and mental health while enjoying the art of stitching.

For pain relief, exercise early in the day

Engaging in exercise is an effective approach to ease body pain during sewing. Since your hands might feel sore from sewing, taking breaks and performing finger exercises is essential to boost blood circulation. These exercises can reduce muscle soreness caused by extended sewing sessions and release accumulated muscle stress. By taking short exercise breaks, you can maintain better comfort and prevent discomfort while pursuing your sewing projects. It’s a simple way to ensure your sewing experience remains enjoyable and pain-free.

Actively stretch after every stitching 

Taking breaks to stretch can effectively alleviate body discomfort when sewing. During breaks or while sewing, gentle stretching can ease muscle tension and help minimize pain. Remember to move around periodically while sewing to prevent your back from becoming stiff during extended sessions. Incorporating these practices into your sewing routine can create a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Leaving the machine running while not using it

While leaving the machine running may seem harmless and convenient, it’s worth considering this habit’s impact on the environment and our energy bills. Many of us are guilty of leaving our devices plugged in and powered on without giving it a second thought. However, we fail to realize that these machines continue to consume electricity in stand-by mode even when not in use.

Try using a footstool or higher chair

If your knees or legs hurt after sitting for a while, here’s a simple solution: use a footstool to raise your feet. Elevating them can relieve the discomfort and make your sewing sessions more comfortable. It takes the pressure off your lower body, preventing pain from long periods of sitting. Hence, get a footstool and make sewing a pain-free, relaxing experience.

Use an ergonomic chair

Ergonomic chairs are a great solution to ease body pain during sewing and work. These chairs are designed to accommodate your whole body, preventing discomfort caused by pressure while sitting. Opting for an ergonomic chair ensures you can sit comfortably, enhancing your sewing or work experience and preventing fatigue as time goes on. Providing proper support and alignment, these chairs contribute to better posture and reduced strain, resulting in a more productive and comfortable experience. Choose an ergonomic chair to support your body and make your sewing or work sessions enjoyable and pain-free.

Proper posture

Sitting comfortably when using the sewing machine or doing any activity is important. Ensure your chair supports your back and you don’t feel discomfort while sitting. Ensure your sitting position doesn’t cause pain in different parts of your body. This way, you can work or sew without unnecessary strain on your body.

Remove distractions

When doing activities like sewing, it’s important to know that distractions can tense your body and increase pain. To make sewing easier, eliminate any distractions in your work area. This way, you can concentrate solely on your work without extra stress. Keep your workspace organized and free from things that might divert your attention. You’ll likely experience less pain and enjoy your sewing time in a focused environment. Remember, a calm space can help you sew with greater comfort. 

Machine table balance and level

When using a heavy-duty sewing machine, it’s important to ensure it’s properly balanced and level in your workspace. If your machine is heavy-duty, accessories like the optional foot pedal can help support its weight and make your sewing experience smoother. Taking the time to set up your machine correctly will prevent any unnecessary strain and help you sew with ease. Remember, a well-balanced sewing machine means better results and less discomfort.

Pinching fingers

One common way to experience pain while sewing is by accidentally pinching your fingers. To avoid this, take regular breaks and give your hands a chance to rest. When handling fabric, be cautious not to accidentally pinch your skin while pinching the material. Taking these precautions will help you sew more comfortably and prevent unnecessary discomfort.

Use pins instead of nails

If you’re using pins instead of nails, it’s important to pick the right size pins or consider using a fabric pin cushion. This helps prevent accidentally pinching or cutting your fingers while working on your projects. The correct pins or a soft pin cushion can make your sewing experience safer and more enjoyable. Before you start, use the right tools to keep your fingers safe while you sew. 

Remove thread from hand sometimes

When sewing, thread might get stuck between your fingers and cause pain due to rubbing. To prevent this, removing the thread from your fingers quickly when you’re sewing is important. This way, you’ll avoid any discomfort caused by friction, making your sewing experience more comfortable and enjoyable.

FAQ about preventing different types of pain while sewing

Are there any techniques to prevent eye strain while sewing?

There are several techniques you can use to prevent eye strain while sewing. First, make sure you have adequate lighting in your sewing area. Natural light is best, but if possible, use a bright task light that illuminates your work surface evenly. Avoid working in dim or overly bright lighting conditions as they strain your eyes.

Take regular breaks to rest your eyes. Sewing for long periods without breaks can cause eye fatigue and strain. Every 20-30 minutes, look away from your sewing machine and focus on something in the distance for a few minutes. This helps relax the muscles in your eyes and reduces strain.

Consider using magnifying tools if you are squinting or straining to see small details. Various options are available, such as magnifying glasses or attachments that can be added to your sewing machine. These tools can help reduce eye strain by enlarging the details of your work and making it easier to see.

By following these techniques, you can minimize eye strain while sewing and enjoy this creative hobby without discomfort.

How do I stop my neck from hurting when sewing?

You can try a few things to alleviate neck pain while sewing. Make sure your sewing machine is at the correct height. Adjust the table or chair so your arms and wrists are comfortably positioned when sewing. You will be able to reduce neck strain by doing this.

Additionally, take regular breaks and stretch your neck and shoulders. Sitting in one position for too long can cause muscle tension and discomfort. Try doing simple neck stretches, like gently tilting your head from side to side or rolling your shoulders back.

Consider a supportive chair or cushion for proper back and neck support. Maintaining good posture while sewing is essential in preventing neck pain. By implementing these tips, you should be able to minimize discomfort and enjoy your sewing sessions more comfortably.

What should I do if I experience overall fatigue after extended periods of sewing?

If you experience fatigue after extended periods of sewing, taking breaks and listening to your body is important. Sewing for long periods without rest can strain your muscles and cause fatigue. Make sure to stretch regularly and engage in relaxation-promoting activities, such as deep breathing or meditation.

Evaluating your sewing setup and making any necessary adjustments may be helpful. Ensure that your sewing machine is at a comfortable height and that you have proper lighting to reduce eye strain. Ergonomic tools, such as scissors with cushioned handles or a chair with good back support, can also help alleviate fatigue.

Additionally, consider incorporating regular exercise into your routine to improve stamina and strengthen the muscles used during sewing. It is possible to improve posture through yoga and Pilates and to reduce muscle tension. Remember to prioritize self-care and listen to your body’s needs to prevent excessive sewing fatigue.

Can sewing cause back pain?

Yes, sewing can potentially cause back pain if proper posture and ergonomics are not maintained. Sitting in a chair supporting your back and keeping your spine aligned is important when sewing. You should also ensure that the height of your sewing table is appropriate so you don’t have to hunch over or strain your back while working. You should take regular breaks to stretch and move around to reduce tension or stiffness in your back muscles.

It’s also worth noting that the repetitive movements involved in sewing can contribute to muscle fatigue and strain on the back if done for long periods without breaks. To prevent this, listening to your body and taking breaks when needed is important. Including exercises that strengthen the core muscles can help support the back and reduce the risk of developing pain or discomfort from sewing. Overall, practicing good posture, using ergonomic tools and equipment, and taking regular breaks are essential for preventing back pain while sewing.

How do I avoid developing repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) from sewing?

To avoid developing repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) from sewing, there are several steps you can take. First and foremost, it is important to maintain good posture while sewing. Ensure your feet are flat on the ground and your sewing machine is comfortable. Additionally, take regular breaks to stretch and relax your muscles. This will help prevent overuse and strain on your hands, wrists, and arms.

Another way to avoid RSIs is to use ergonomic tools and equipment. Invest in a sewing machine with adjustable settings and features designed to reduce strain on your body. Use scissors with cushioned handles or rotary cutters for fabric-cutting tasks. Additionally, consider using a thimble or finger guards to protect your fingers while hand sewing.

Listen to your body and pay attention to any signs of discomfort or pain. If you start experiencing symptoms such as tingling, numbness, or soreness in your hands or arms, taking a break and rest before continuing is important. Remember that prevention is key when avoiding RSIs, so prioritize caring for yourself while pursuing your passion for sewing.


In conclusion, preventing and alleviating body pain while sewing is crucial for maintaining your passion and overall well-being. It is possible to significantly reduce your risk of discomfort or injury by following these tips and techniques, including using proper ergonomics, taking regular breaks, and practising stretching exercises. 

If you experience body pain despite these preventative measures, remember to listen to your body’s signals and prioritize self-care. Take a moment to rest and recharge by taking an aspirin to relieve pain, enjoying a soothing bath to relax your muscles, and finding ways to unwind. Your health should always come first so you can continue enjoying the art of sewing for years.

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