Ask Me Anything – Hand Health

“Don’t Your Hands Hurt?!”

I often get asked if all the sewing I do makes my hands hurt at night.

I normally answer with the short answer, “Not really”, and then about my day. Today I thought I would share the tips that I use to keep my hands from hurting.

I spend several hours at a time sitting and crocheting, and while I enjoy it I often worry about what my body is going to feel and look like in 5 years. My main concern is the use of my thumbs, wrist and elbows, as losing use of them by the time I’m 30 would be a disaster!

Below is a short list of the things I do to keep my hands in good shape. (Note: I have absolutely NO medical background and these tips are only coming from my own personal experience. I have spoken with doctors, chiropractors and physical therapists about this, but only in informal ways. These tips are my personal opinion and what works for me. Always see a doctor if you feel pain!)

– I try to sit somewhere comfortable, but not slouch-inducing. Sitting up straight keeps my elbows and wrists in line, thus reducing the stress on my arms. If I can I usually will put a pillow under my left elbow for support.

– I crochet quite loosely now, but I didn’t when I first started. As I got started I noticed that my hands would start to hurt after just an hour or so when I was crocheting tightly, but that if I loosened up a bit there was no discomfort. I concentrated on loosening up my stitches and now that’s just naturally how I sew. When I occasionally work on amigurumi  the tight stitches hurt my hands, which is why I don’t do it often, even though I love it!

-I don’t sit for hours at a time, I try to break up my sewing time. As you read in last weeks post I try to work my schedule so that I only am sitting for 3-4 hours at a time, at the very most. Usually after 2 hours of sitting I will try to take a break and walk around the block, or get some housework done.

– If I feel ANY discomfort I take a break immediately and ice my hands. This may seem extreme, but pain is rare for me so I take it seriously. If icing doesn’t help I’ve been known to take 2-3 days off from sewing before going back. I’m a bit of a hypochondriac about my hands, but I think that’s better then running them into the ground just so I can get an extra hour of work in a day.

– STRETCH YOUR WRISTS!

One-Arm-Assisted-Wrist-Stretch I found this great article 2 years ago, when my business was about 6 months old. It has some simple stretches you can do to ‘help prevent carpal tunnel’. Since I can barely touch my toes I can’t do the third one very well, but I do the first 2 a LOT throughout the day.

– Last but not least, I take Fish Oil tablets pretty regularly, as well as my daily mutli-vitamin. Fish Oil is supposedly an anti-inflammatory, in addition to a having a lot of other health benefits. If you talk to your doctor and decide to take Fish Oil just be sure to get the ‘No Fish Burps’ variety. Trust me, you’ll thank me. And so will whoever you’re smooching.

And that’s what I do to take care of my hands! In addition, I also try very hard to take care of my body.

Sitting all day is bad for your body, and especially hard on my legs. If I don’t exercise 2 days in a row I can really feel it in my legs by the end of the 48 hours. So what to do about it?

I exercise 5-6 days a week, for at least an hour a day. Hubs and I usually walk 3 miles 5-6 evenings a week, which is great because then I start and end my day with exercise.

Do you have any tips or tricks for keeping your hands, wrists or elbows in tip-top shape? Please feel free to share in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Ask Me Anything – Hand Health

  1. They are expensive but treadmill desks are very cool and would keep you walking while crocheting! (and they are just plain awesome) 🙂

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