Sunday, February 20, 2011

Knitting - Bad for Your Health?

I knit a lot. No, really! I knit ALOT! I have recently discovered that maybe, just maybe, I knit more than I should! Horror of all horrors! I can't even believe I said that! Unfortunately my body seems to be telling me otherwise.

About four years ago I had to have surgery on my wrist. I had constant pain and numbness in my hand. I thought it might be carpal tunnel syndrome but turns out that constant repetitive motion (aka knitting) was causing some issues with the tendons in my wrist. The surgery rectified the problem and I continued knitting away.

I have had various aches and pains in my arms and hands over the years due, no doubt, to excessive knitting, but they have always gone away.

In the past year I have started having pain in my neck and shoulders. I ignored it. It didn't go away. In fact it got worse. For some reason I didn't attribute it to knitting. I finally took a friends advice and went to see a chiropractor. He asked me if I worked at a computer all day. Well, I do work at the computer looking at KNITTING stuff but not for that many hours a day. Do I do something that is constant repetitive movement? Oh yeah, could that be knitting? Hmmmmm let's give this some thought. You think?!

I am now going through adjustments twice a week and, yes, trying to be less obsessive about knitting. It's starting to get a bit better but is not fun.

So I am writing this to give you fair warning. Be careful when you knit. It is so easy to become obsessive. Stop and stretch out your hands, arms and neck and shoulders. Don't sit for hours on end without taking a break. Repetitive motion injuries are serious. Many knitters end up with carpal syndrome that requires surgery. Back and shoulder problems are common as are aching arms. We all love to knit but we need to be mindful of what our bodies are telling us.

Mary Glendinning


momsue84 said...

I know whereof you speak. Last May I had surgery on my right wrist for tenosynovitis from, you guessed it, too much knitting. I stopped knitting for 6 months and have just now returned to it. The rest and surgery worked. I will heed your warning about getting up, stretching and moving around. Thanks!

Mary said...

Even though I know I need to be even more vigilant now that my upper back and neck have issues, I still find myself looking up after knitting for awhile saying - really? I've just been knitting non stop for two hours? Do what I say not what I do!

knitpickr said...

I guess I'm lucky so far, my dogs keep me getting up and down to let them out, etc. I also usually have something else going on so as to force myself from staying too long at what I love.

One Planet said...

knitpickr, how many dogs do you have?

whitebearwoman said...

my biggest issue is gaining weight - i'd rather sit and knit than get out and do something! no, i don't snack while i'm knitting; but i can't yell at my boyfriend for being a tv couch potato anymore - i've become a knitting couch potato!

One Planet said...

LOL! Couch Knitters.