Artists and crafters spend large amounts of time creating their products. These could be items sold on a large scale or even those designed on a bespoke basis. Depending on the type of item created, the artist or crafter could spend large amounts of time sitting or standing in the same position. This can cause stress and strain to occur on many parts of the body. It is important to look after your own back health and the health of anyone who works with you. You may need to look at your small craft business insurance policy to see whether you need any other policies in place to support employees.
Some of the most common areas affected are the back, neck and shoulders. The longer that we sit or stand in one position, the more likely it is that our posture will start to suffer. It is when we begin to slouch that added strain occurs on our muscles and joints.
There are several parts of the crafting process, that can see problems occur with the strength and health of your back.
Your crafting set up will have an impact on the way you sit or stand and how much pressure occurs on your joints. It is important that you have the right set up for your specific craft, rather than try to make do with a dining room table. There are lots of options available, such as adjustable desks and easels for artists. Other crafters can also find tables that suit their needs, such as work benches.
It is also important to ensure that you are sitting on chair or stool that will support your posture. It can be tempting to use a dining room chair but these are not designed to support your body for long periods of time. Instead there are chairs on the market that have been created to be ergonomic, specifically for crafters. In the case of those people who refer to stand whilst they are working, standing desk can be utilised.
Where possible you should ensure that you are sitting upright in your chair. When creating intricate items it can be hard to prevent yourself from slumping forwards. You can rectify this by using table mounts and risers that will help lift your work up higher.
A chair with lumbar support, moveable armrests and wheels, will help you to move around freely in your workspace. It will also allow you to create a set up that sees all your materials placed close to hand. It is important that you think about a safe way to store your items and you should always have small craft business insurance in place.
Breaks and stretching
One of the best ways to help prevent back pain and issues such as sciatica from setting in is to ensure you take regular breaks. It can be difficult for those working in creative fields to ensure they take enough breaks. This is down to the fact that when in the creative zone, you tend to forget everything else going on around you.
Set a timer to notify you when a hour has passed. You should then, where possible get up and take a short walk. This can be popping to your kitchen to make yourself a drink. Keeping hydrated will also help to prevent muscles spasms from occurring.
Other stretches that you can do throughout the day include the following:
Arm stretches – take your arms above your head and gently reach up. Next take your arms out to the sides and stretch. You can also pass each item across the opposite side of the body and stretch. This helps to release tension in the upper back and shoulders.
Waist twist – take a gentle rotation to each side of your body. If you are using a chair with armrests you can place your hands on the side you are turning to. This helps to give you a gentle shoulder twist as well as release pressure on your lower back.
Wrist circles – working with your hands can lead to cramp in your wrist. Taking a gentle wrist stretch by circling your wrists in both directions can release the muscle tension.
As well as looking after your back whilst creating your products you also need to think about what happens when you sell your products. If you have an online store you will probably spend a lot of time entering items into your shop. The above stretches will help with long periods of time sitting at the computer.
If you have small craft business insurance in place that allows you to sell items at fetes and fayres, you will need to support your back during these sales. Most of these fetes will see you standing for long periods of time. Where possible you should try and walk around your stall and limit the amount of time you stand in one place. If possible, have a family member or friend at the event with you so you can each take breaks during the day.
Exercise and strengthening
Prevention is always better cure and if you build up the strength in your back, you will find that you experience less pain. Many exercises help support your spine and the rest of your musculoskeletal system. Some of the best one are walking, swimming and yoga. They all help to support your core strength which in turn helps to support your spine.
Plan time into your week to enjoy some gentle exercise and you will notice that you have less problems with pain and discomfort in your back whilst crafting.