Prevent neck and back pain during Yarnsports with these 5+1 tips

Neck and back pain are common problems for yarn crafters.

Read 9 Tips to Prevent Hand and Wrist Pain during Yarnsports.

Does this sound familiar?

You finish your work for the day, and it's time to treat yourself to some much-needed downtime. So you curl into your favorite end of the couch, turn on Netflix, put your feet on the coffee table, and begin several hours of relaxing crochet before bed.

So rewarding! 

Until your arms, back, butt, legs, shoulders, or neck begin to pinch or sting or ache or throb. 

~Use these 5 + 1 tips to help you prevent neck and back pain while you knit or crochet.

1. Check your seat

Sitting for extended periods of time is a hazard to your health, as anyone with a desk job can tell you. Let's take a lesson from the vast research that has been done and ergonomic equipment developed to alleviate the effects of sitting for hours.

Evaluate the seat in which you knit or crochet. You have a favorite spot, don't you?

When you sit there to craft, your butt should not be lower than your knees. If it is lower, then choose a firmer seat that supports your back and gives your arms a bit of space. Arm rests of an appropriate height can be helpful. If you crochet on the couch, you may want to prop each elbow with a pillow.

2 & 3. Sit up ~ breathe deeply

According to Healthline, the most likely culprit causing neck and back pain is poor posture (barring actual injury or physical deterioration).

If you spend hours hunching your shoulders and curling your back, you promote shallow breathing. Shallow breathing "creates tension in the upper body" which induces poor posture. Kind of a vicious cycle.

So sit up, straighten your shoulders, and breathe deeply. Become aware of your breath. Breathe in slowly through your nose, 1, 2, 3, 4 ~ now exhale, also through your nose ~ 1, 2, 3, 4. Repeat...

Your body thanks you for the training to breathe this way.

4. Check your vision

Notice if you have to hold your work close to your face to count your stitches. If you severely bend your neck to do so, or stress your arms to lift a heavy blanket to your eyes, then place a pillow on your lap to hold your work. One friend recommended using a bed tray to lift the project and hold the weight.

If you wear glasses, switching your view from your project to the TV every couple seconds can give your neck quite a workout. Make sure you have the right glasses on! 

You want your neck to remain in a relaxed, gently bent position--let your eyes do the moving from handiwork to tv and back.

If you still must move your neck up and down a lot, then it may be time to visit your optician to get eyewear that cooperates with your crafting. Neck pain is no joke! 

5. Listen to your body ~ but take charge

If your body complains of pain, be gentle and treat it kindly. However, to prevent the pain, you must be proactive.

Treat your crochet and knit projects like a sprint, not a marathon. Set a timer for 30 minute sessions. Put down your work, stand up, and go for a glass of water. This gives your body a reprieve from the stress of sitting for a long period. Plus, hydration is always good!

During this little break, do a few side-to-side neck stretches and shoulder rolls. Put your hands to your sides and give them a gentle shaking. Stretch your fingers. Stretch your legs and back. Do a few crossover arm stretches.

Listen to your body. It wants to meet your expectations, but it needs your help to do so.

BTW, who ever said yarnsports must be done in a seated position?


Much non-injury neck and back pain can be treated at home with time, ice/heat, and OTC meds. However, if the pain keeps you from getting a decent night's sleep, then it's time to see the doctor. 

P.S. Another consideration to prevent neck and back pain 

Besides a supportive seat, good posture, and frequent breaks, consider your mattress. 

A 2003 article in The Lancet sums up a study that tested various mattress firmnesses for their effect on lower back pain. The result?

A mattress of medium firmness improves pain and disability among patients with chronic non-specific low-back pain.

Not soft, not firm ~ medium firmness. Is it time to replace your old mattress? 

Begin your search for a new mattress here.

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