How to prevent crochet pain due to repetitive motion
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A few months ago I thought I was getting carpel tunnel syndrome! I had shooting pain in my wrist and up half my arm.
It was scary especially because my business depends on my being able to crochet & type. So I did some research and found out that what I had wasn’t carpel tunnel (thankfully) but repetitive motion pain.
I didn’t have to go to the doctor or use drugs, I could just change some of the things I was doing to reduce or even get rid of the pain naturally and easily. Whew, what a relief!
Have you had that experience? Where you feel pain and you’re almost afraid to find out what it’s from? Well, I understand and I want to help you with the information I found,
A lot of the crochet pain we have is because we’re so excited about our projects that we can’t put them down. For me, sometimes it’s because I have a deadline and feel I can’t take a break.
Well, whether it’s because you’re excited, under deadline or churning pieces out for a show, it’s important to protect your hands as valuable assets.
What causes crochet pain?
The easy answer is repetitive motion but there are other things that cause pain: how tight is your grip on the crochet hook? How do you hold your fingers when holding yarn? How often do you take a break during and between projects? How long are your breaks?
Just because you’re doing the same motion over and over again doesn’t mean you must have pain or stop your work. What causes pain is pressure or repetition without a break, stretch or change of movement while working.
Therefore, pain is preventable.
One way to help reduce pain causing pressure is to use cushions on your crochet hooks or cushioned crochet hooks. They come in many sizes and “ergonomics” (easy to hold) to help reduce the pressure your hold puts on your hooks.
Just like getting a cushioned area rug on a hardwood floor, the cushion helps relieve pressure for less crochet pain.
I know it’s hard to take a break when you only have a few minutes to squeeze your crochet project in, but think of your hands.
For me it’s about beating the clock. . . finishing before my kids wake from a nap or my husband needs my help with the kids or changing gears and working on something else.
But, taking breaks does wonders! If I feel tired or strained I put down my crochet and do something different for 10 – 15 minutes. When I get back to crocheting the stiffness is gone. Take a break, I know it’s not what you want, but it’s the best you can do for your hands.
Hand & wrist exercises
Doing hand and wrist exercises when you’re taking a break will also help relive crochet pain. Here are some exercises I do that really help keep my hands feeling good:
- Wrist Exercises: Exercises to help strengthen your wrists include using weights and lifting with just your hands making the muscles in your wrists work hard.
- Move your wrists in a circular motion as soon as you put your work down to stretch instantly. Here’s an article on ways to help strengthen your wrists
- Tension ball squeezes are just what it sounds like. Get yourself a small tension ball, place it in the palm of your hand and squeeze it tightly for 3 seconds, then release, do that 10 to 15 times to help strengthen your wrists
- Finger Exercises: One of the most common ways to exercise your hands are the stretch exercises done with your fingers. They’re great when taking a break from crochet.
- Stretch out all your fingers as strongly as you can, roll into a fist with the thumb on the outside and squeeze for about 5 seconds, then stretch again. Do that about 10 times to get crochet pain to scatter!
- Touch the tips of your fingers to your thumb in succession. Whatever you do, make sure to stretch well and loosen your muscles.
Another good way to keep from hurting yourself is to wear a Wrist brace. I haven’t done this personally, but I know those who have and swear it works! The wrist brace “holds” your wrist in position so you’re not getting the same repetitive motion strain you would get without them.
I don’t wear wrist braces but I am very aware of how I hold my wrists when not crocheting. For example, when I lay down to sleep I always make sure to keep my hands and wrists in a straight position until I fall asleep, that way my wrists are not working and are fully rested.
I do the same things when I’m watching TV without my crochet. The less stress you put on you wrists and hands when you’re not crocheting, the more likely you are NOT to experience crochet pain
This is a brief list of things to help keep your hands crochet healthy! Do you have any suggestions to add ? I’d love to read about them in the comments below.