Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Carpal Tunnel and Knitting

Carpal Tunnel and Knitting, will they ever get along?
I have suffered from severe carpal tunnel and nerve damage for many years and my love of knitting, weaving and crocheting can cause me a lot of pain.  I am consistently on a search for anything that will bring some relief.  I will never stop knitting !  I have discovered some of my own little tricks in reducing the pain, but I'm not a doctor or expert in the field. After surgery on my elbow for nerve and tendon damage my doctor fitted me with some HUGE wrist supports that I must wear each night to get any relief from the pain. 
When I knit, it is not always comfortable to wear such HUGE braces, I use compression wrist supports and less bulky braces.  Sometimes I feel like the braces cause more pain than help. When using smaller needles, the braces get in the way and I have a awful time with the thinner yarns getting tangled into them.  I am more comfortable using bulkier yarns and larger needles, but I love doing lace.  I have to limit my use of small delicate yarns and stitches to once or twice a year.  It takes me that long to complete the project!
Anyway, I thought I'd share some information I found doing my latest search on carpal tunnel.
Disclaimer:  I am only sharing this information and not making any kind of recommendation or diagnosis.

Below is some information I found on Our Health Network, I have tried the suggestions and they do seem to help relieve some of the pain.

  • Try to prevent your wrist from flexing and extending when doing chores. The Carpal Lock will do this for you.
  • When using tools, make sure the handle fits your hand, and you can grasp the tool with your whole hand, rather than grasping with the tips of your fingers or thumbs.
  • Reduce the speed your wrist and hands work at.  
  • Exercise your wrists and hands regularly at work. Take a one minute break every 30 minutes to perform some of the exercises shown below.

  1. Range-of-motion exercises: Clench fist tightly for 5 seconds, then release, straightening your fingers all the way and keep them straight for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times for each hand.
  2. Stretching exercises: Using one hand, bend the fingers of the other hand gently as far as you can, stretching the fingers and wrist. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times for each hand.
  3. Isometric exercises: Clench fist with palm facing up. Use other hand to push down on fist, while providing resistance with the fist. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat with palm of clenched fist facing down. Repeat 5 times for each hand.

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