Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Knitting Exercises - Reducing Repetitive Stress

The past few months I've been forced into a more sedentary lifestyle due to a couple of sinus infections, an infected tooth and a stomach virus. So I haven't exercised a whole lot, and I've spent more time sitting and knitting. My knitting is looking good, but my hands, fingers, neck and shoulders ache. I've knitted up to 4 hours on some days, and my body is starting to complain. I know that some of this will take care of itself when I get back on my feet. I'll go back to my usual exercises, and I'll just move more around the house. In the mean time, I'm not knitting in such long sessions. I take breaks, and I'm stretching out my whole arm.

Since I'm having some difficulty and I want to knit for many years to come, I thought I would do a little research on the topic:

~An exercise that I learned from a massage therapist way back when I was a cashier is to push my fingers in and then gently pull them out, one at a time. Sometimes this will pop my knuckles, but not always.

~This chart I found on hand stretch exercises to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome really helps stretch out my hands and arms from knitting.

~Berroco recommends the Handeze Glove and these exercises.

~There are a lot of exercises out there that focus on wrists. For whatever reason, I don't have issues with my wrists although I do hold my wrists fairly straight. I think that this is the key -- good posture. I only have issues in the areas of my body that are not aligned: my little finger (I tend to stick it out apart from my other fingers. I don't know why???), my forearm (which I tightly tense), my shoulder (where I hold stress), and my neck (only when I stoop). My point is that observation of how I hold my body greatly helped me to identify why certain parts ache.

What I have figured out about myself --
~Stretching my hands and arms helps my range of movement and to reduce aching.
~Giving myself movement breaks and limiting my knitting sessions helps reduce the strain of knitting's repetitive motions.
~Good posture and body alignment just feels good!

Please note that I am not a doctor, nor do I have any medical training. I just want to be educated about how to take care of myself. Please use discernment and if you are in real pain, not just a couple aching muscles, then get off the internet and go see a real doctor.

1 comment:

  1. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!