For a good few months now I have woken in the night, sometimes for many consecutive nights with completely numb arms and hands. Having worked for many years as a Palliative care nurse I automatically assumed I had developed a serious and degenerative neurological condition but was talked down by my husband. Once calm and rational again I thought back and linked my symptoms to times when I had significant projects on the go – like now!
What I have been experiencing is Repetitive strain Injury (RSI):
Knitters with RSIs tend to have problems in their wrists, backs, hands, necks, or any combination. Their problems can be caused by sitting for long periods using poor posture, gripping the needles too tightly or putting too much weight on the wrists with a large project.
This article explains the condition and gives advice on how to manage it. However it also advises the knitter, in some instances, to stop knitting completely (boo hoo), until the symptoms resolve. This is far too drastic for me, although if I had my sensible head on I would abstain for a while because I am suffering a lot at the moment due to knitting deadlines. However I think I have another option to add
In a quest to delay my body looking more like my mum’s than my daughter’s I recently started Pilates. It’s not working for my boobs or my tummy but I noticed that the only night in the last 10 that I have not woken in the early hours paralysed, was after my 7pm Pilates session.
We do numerous exercises but I think the one which has been particularly useful, especially for my type of RSI (very stiff and tense shoulders, arms and neck), is what my instructor calls ‘corn circles’. This is largely an extreme stretch, which is very controlled and works through the full shoulder range, and when done right, feels amazing .
Pilates generally is great for posture and I would advise anyone who knits regularly, and can take time to do a class, to consider it. It is really excellent. It’s better to be taught because its amazing how you can think you’re doing it right when you’re not, but there are on-line guides, DVDs and books if you really can attend a class.
I’m going to start doing my corn circles most nights, especially when I’m having mega knitting sessions and will post if I have anything to report back.
If you have found other ways of relieving the symptoms I would be very keen to hear, anything that can keep us knitting is worth a comment, don’t you think?