Tips on Ergonomics for Beaders

Ergonomics may not be something you have paid a lot of attention to while you are beading. But notice whether you get stiff or sore or achy while you are beading or after you have been beading for a while. Do your wrists, hands, or shoulders bother you? How about your back?

Next time you are beading (instead of reading about beading like you are doing now) take notice of your posture and of how your are holding your hands, wrists, and arms. Where is there tension, what is out of line or out of whack? Do your wrists get sore? Your shoulders? Neck?

Improving the position in which you work can really help. I used to bead in a recliner with very low arms, so the arms of the chair never got in my way. We had too much furniture to fit in our new place so the old, tired recliners went to Goodwill and we put a pair of upholstered chairs in the Place of Honor (in front of the TV). Nice chairs, but I noticed that my shoulders and wrists got grumpy when I beaded in one. Then I realized that the chair's arms were a lot higher than I was used to, and I had to either stick my elbows out farther from my body to get them above the upholstery, or keep my elbows inside the chair and use my wrists a lot more, working in kind of odd positions. Not so good either way.

So I put cushions to put on the chair to get me high enough to work more comfortably. Of course, then my legs were dangling like a 3-year old in a restaurant booth, but I just handled that by using a footstool under my legs.

Try Some Experiments in Ergonomics

If your beading location is causing you problems, try out some simple solutions. Does a small cushion behind the small of your back keep you more comfortable? What happens when you move the lighting closer, or to the other side, or put lighting on both sides of your working area to avoid shadows?

Most people will be most comfortable with elbows close to the body and wrists close to straight most of the time. If you do a lot of wire work, you may want to give your wrists a break by getting pliers that bend at their tips, so your wrists don't have to work so hard.

And remember to get up and move to stretch often!

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