sewing machine


No, I haven’t taken up a new hobby! This is the name of one of my favorite (easy!! low-impact!! quick!!) exercises to improve the stability of your shoulder joint.

In MS, we tend to slowly lose our muscle mass, so our joints will become less stable over time. But we aren’t the only ones with joint stability issues–there’s a whole category of people with general hypermobility syndrome. This exercise will also help people with computer posture.

Why “sewing machine”? Well, after my description, you’ll see that your head (in particular, your nose) performs the up-and-down action of a sewing needle. (Even I, who barely passed the sewing portion of home ec, have that one figgered out.)

Here’s what to do:

  1. Get on your hands and knees (preferably on a padded surface, for comfort–good carpet or a mat). Keep your spine in a neutral position–I like to think of it as “standing with good posture” even though you’re sideways. This includes your neck–you should be looking at the floor rather than straight ahead.
  2. Be sure to keep your elbows straight but not locked throughout the exercise.
  3. To start your first repetition, slide your shoulder blades in toward each other, allowing both of them to meet in the middle. The movement should come from your shoulder blades, not your elbows.
  4. Complete the repetition by moving your blades the other direction–as far apart as possible from each other. Again, this should involve no (or minimal) elbow motion.
  5. Keep going back and forth with your shoulder blades, 8-10 times. It may not feel like much, but you are indeed strengthening small supportive muscles!

When you’re done, you may want to roll out your wrists.

Try it out and let me know how you do!


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