Sciatica, carpal tunnel, and crafters: a public service announcement


Most crafts (and jobs for that matter) involve some repetitive motion that can take a toll on your body over time. If you take nothing else away from this post, please remember this: if it hurts, stop doing it.

Carpal tunnel is caused by inflammation in the wrists that pinches nerves. If you knit, crochet, spin, play a musical instrument, type or use a mouse, you are at risk for developing this crippling pain in your hands, or you already have experienced it.

This is not how your wrist should be when you spin. See the kink?

Last year, my Mom and I were doing so much knitting during the holidays that we both had to start wearing wrist braces to help combat carpal tunnel. Wearing them while we worked and at night while we slept seems to help, because the braces force you to hold your wrists in a natural, neutral position. To prevent it from getting bad again, I’m mindful of the angle I hold my wrists at while I’m working. I try to keep my knuckles in line with my elbow as much as possible.

Sciatica is pain that starts in your lower back and radiates down the back of your leg to your knee. It’s caused by inflammation pinching the largest nerve in your body. The first time I experienced sciatica was an hour after the first time I spun on a wheel. Marathon programming sessions at work, long spinning sessions, and curling up on the couch all seem to make it worse.

See how my right thigh is almost parallel to the floor? That's actually good.

I haven’t had as much success battling this one since I sit all day at work. Standing up often, stretching by trying to touch my toes, ice, anti-inflammatories, and whiskey all seem to help. My wheel is lower to the ground than most, so I think I need to modify my spinning chair to be shorter. I still seem to have episodes every now and then for no discernible reason. Like today.

So…long story short, take care of yourself people. It seems kind of obvious, but if it hurts, stop doing it. And if anyone has any ideas for sciatic pain, send them my way.

About cliffhousealpacas

Once upon a time, my dad drove by some funny looking animals standing on little dirt hills in a field. Thus, the dream of an alpaca ranch was born. Now, we are embarking on a grand adventure of raising alpacas and becoming fiber artists.
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5 Responses to Sciatica, carpal tunnel, and crafters: a public service announcement

  1. Patty says:

    I have the same pain, Kir. The yoga pose called Pigeon is really good at releasing tension in your hips and lower back. I do it all the time 🙂 Good luck!

    • Actually, now that you mention it, I’ve been better since I started doing yoga consistently. I’ve only ever tried the pigeon once though. Those hip stretches…are difficult. Which probably means I should do them more. One of my coworkers does a stretching routine everymorning. I think I should do that too. And if the pigeon has helped you, I’ll try it 🙂

  2. Laura says:

    Sciatica is a bitch. Sorry…

    Pigeon pose looks like a great glute strech in the forward leg. I had far less sciatica once I was doing glute-involving aerobic exercise 3x week.

    Still doesn’t help the fact that you sit all day. Have you considered constructing a standing desk?

  3. Roz says:

    Hi, I also have developed sciatica and we too have a herd of alpacas here in England. I love knitting and would sit for as long as I could but now I am in pain. I hope it will slowly disappear. I will look up some yoga stretches. Do look up our alpaca farm…Mulberry Alpacas in Shropshire. Your web site is fascinating, thanks.

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