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Quilting or Crafting and Solutions For Arthritis Type Pain

This week instead of sharing work, I wish to offer some practical advice on Quilting of Crafting and Solutions For Arthritis Type Pain.

Obviously, you need to see a GP and get a proper diagnosis because arthritis covers a multitude of sins from auto-immune diseases to related problems like carpal tunnel syndrome and they often need different treatment. I chose to write about this subject because so many self-diagnose and that is dangerous.

There are things we can do that cost nothing or very little and will help. There are also rather expensive remedies that are not scientifically proven. It’s more that they work because you believe in them than anything else.

It is almost inevitable that repetitive movement of any type leads to pain. It is your body’s way of telling you to stop. That’s the first thing to understand. The second is that pain is subjective and it is best to take your mind off it.


If you have been quilting for an hour, then you need to stop and move. In fact before you start quilting, or doing any repetitive movement, do the following Quilting or Crafting and Solutions For Arthritis Type Pain:

A. hand exercises (these can vary depending on the problem, so as I said, get a diagnosis) follow a GP’s or consultant’s advice.

B. hand massage – you can do this yourself, look for reflexology

C. try Rosemary Conley’s 7 Day Slim, I rarely get past Day 1 but that alone is worth it

D. Keep your hands warm


I find it best to divide the hours I work. So I might machine stitch for 45 minutes, then get up an move. Massage again or do hand exercises and if I feel I can continue, do another half hour.

It’s best to admit that your body after a certain age, can no longer act as if it is 21. Work with your body. Stop before it starts to hurt. So if you think you can sew for two hours, only do one. Quilting is hard on the hands, neck and back. If you are in serious pain, you need to rest the affected body part for at least a week, maybe longer. Consult a GP.

  1. Change task – if you have been sitting, if you can, stand and cut, or iron.
  2. Listen to your body – it is telling you to stop. The idea is not to use something that allows you to continue. This is applicable to osteoarthritis and repetitive strain or carpal tunnel. If you continue, basically you just do more damage until you could lose the use of your hand.
  3. If you cannot continue and it bothers you, soak your hands in warm water, take a bath, read or do something that is not using the part that hurts. REST.
  4. Some find alternate cold/warm therapy useful.


None of the over the counter medications are scientifically proven to do anything. No matter how many tell you these work. In most cases they are extremely expensive and if you take them to be able to continue work, then see 2. above. Like all medication they can have unwanted side effects. Also if they are not prescribed, you might continue to use for longer than you should or use more than you should. So think twice about using them for Quilting or Crafting and Solutions For Arthritis Type Pain. You need specific treatment for your type of arthritis, which falls into two groups – inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Some types of arthritis are auto-immune, others are not. I will mention a few

Glucosamine – there is little evidence that it works. It can have mild side-effects like stomach and bowel problems. It is also thought to cause weight gain and possibly insulin resistance. Some people with osteoarthritis swear by it, but they have never been given a placebo, so it could be entirely psychological.

Capsaicin Cream – used for nerve pain, and again some swear by it. Price can be quite hefty, although it seems to be available on prescription in the UK. Trials (N.B. very small trials under 200 people) seemed to suggest that it might help osteoarthritis. Apart from a burning sensation often felt by around 30% when applying the gel, it seems to have no side effects. However, you need to apply it 4 times a day. As a block I would use a TENS machine below.

CBD oil – one of the most expensive over the counter medications. Trials on animals not validated on humans. Can adversely affect arthritis drugs that have been prescribed.

Turmeric – again not proven as limited trials of very small numbers of people. Heartburn and dizziness were reported in one trial that found people you walk with less pain. Keep the dosage low. I think this is best taken as a tea.

Black Pepper – has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s use is a ‘may help’ at best and only in early stages.

NSAIDS – there is now plenty of information available that NSAIDS are to be avoided. They cause stomach ulcers. This is also where it is essential to know which type of arthritis you have, as they were prescribed mainly for rheumatoid arthritis. These include aspirin, ibuprofen and voltaren. There are numerous names and the USA uses different names to the UK. All worsen osteoarthritis. They have rather nasty side effects, often with prolonged use.

Voltarol and other gels – these are NSAIDs in gel form. Again they should not be used by people who have ever had an ulcer, have asthma or allergies. Also if it is nor recommended by your GP, do not use for more than 14 days, and contact a GP if you feel no relief after 7 days.

It is much safer to find relief from hand exercises/massage if appropriate.


These are normally given for Rheumatoid arthritis, and can be short acting or longer acting, up to six months. Personally I would not want steroid injections. I believe it is something best avoided. Steroid tablets rather than injections seem to be associated with weight gain. In the short term both affect the body’s immunity.


Some things can help with Quilting or Crafting and Solutions For Arthritis Type Pain:

  1. Compression gloves can work but buy good quality and not cheapest available. I use a pair of fingerless compression gloves, ones I bought in the USA in 2000.
  2. I am just in the process of investing in a TENS machine. Again buy a reputable one, Med-Fit supplies the NHS. Compared to the over the counter medications you can buy, a TENS machine is comparatively reasonable. They are much cheaper on Amazon.
quilting or crafting and solutions for arthritis
quilting or crafting and solutions for arthritis


  1. Look at your diet. Will it help if you change it?
  2. Lose weight if you need to
  3. You might feel you cannot exercise at all – but the message is use it or lose it. Look for gentle exercise and keep moving. Swimming and cycling are good for osteoarthritis. Do strength exercises. Gentle dancing is brilliant and uplifting.
  4. Physiotherapy
  5. If you cannot cope, seek help

The NHS has much information on this and exercises. Also on compression gloves.

You could also look at ergonomic gadgets such as rotary cutters/chairs, how you sit and stand and posture in general. Use your body weight to rotary cut, not pressure from your hand.

I am not a GP. I have written this because I was appalled that people recently recommended many of the over the counter remedies to someone in a quilting group. I write from personal experience. I am not associated with any product. You follow my advice or not at your own free will. Best advice is speak to your GP before you do anything at all.

Copyright Karen Platt 2021