Difficult lessons in posture: a public service announcement


It’s been awhile since I (Kirstin) posted. I’m down at the ranch for Thanksgiving, and it’s time for an update from one of the family spinners. But first, let’s do a little exercise in observation. What is wrong with these pictures?

Kirstin Spinning Holly Creek ShowKirstin spinning new roving

My hair is all over the place, but that’s not what I mean. How about this one? Concentrate on the way I’m holding my arms.

Kirstin spinning at the artist show

Now that I’m looking critically at my posture, it’s pretty obvious that I’ve been holding my left arm in a very unnatural, difficult position as I spin. And, as we discussed in this post about how much I spin, I hold this posture for many long hours a day.

Well, three years of bad form has finally caught up with me. The day after the Holly Creek holiday show (first picture), moving my left arm was difficult and painful. My doctor says I’ve sprained my rotator cuff. It’ll be at least four weeks before I can spin and I’ve got limited use of my arm at the moment. So. The moral of the story?

Spinning is a rewarding activity, but take care of yourself. Your elbows should never be behind your body, or way out in front of you, as you draft. Our ergonomics adviser at work says you should be able to hold an orange between your ribs and your upper arm as you work. If your arm is too tight against your body, or behind your body (like mine) you’re putting unnecessary strain on the joints and muscles. Likewise, if your wheel is too far in front of you, you will be reaching out too far, and also straining your arms, shoulders, and upper back.

While we’re discussing this topic, I should mention your chair should be the right height (your thighs should be parallel to the floor). If it is too low, your knees will be higher than your hips. Imagine sitting on the bottom step of the stairs. If the chair is too high, your knees will be below your hips. In both of these situations, that puts strain on your sciatic nerve, which causes sciatica.

Despite this setback, our family is taking some time to give thanks this week. We’re grateful to you, who support us so loyally. Happy Thanksgiving.

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4 Responses to Difficult lessons in posture: a public service announcement

  1. Aunt Geri says:

    Great advice – I think I am fairly aware of my body angles when I spin but I will heed your words and check it closely next time I spin. Thank you and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

  2. starproms says:

    Yes, it does look as if you hold your left arm behind you and as you rightly say, that’s not good for you! As I am older than you, I am well aware of joints and muscle pain. Every day something hurts so maybe I am more careful to get comfortable posture before I start. In the main I limit my spinning time. I do hope your arm feels better soon. Take care. By the way, your hair always looks lovely. I think the curls are most attractive.

    • I think your idea of limiting the spinning time is a good one. I sometimes feel obligated to spin long after my body tells me to stop. I’m going to have to learn that in the end, I’m actually doing more harm than good by overdoing it.

      And thanks! I used to hate my curls, but I’ve adjusted. Now they are part of what makes me look like me!

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