When Crafting Hurts: How do you make it better?


Wow, guys. I’m seriously blown away by how many responses I got from other people with RSI on my last post. I thought it was more common than people let on, but I didn’t know that it was THAT common! 

Some people developed RSI (repetitive stress injuries) at work, and others pushed too hard on big projects. Knitting and cutting with bad scissors were also mentioned, as well as waitressing and playing instruments! My guess is that the key thread to all of this is that we didn’t use good tools, or we didn’t use them properly. I wonder how many of us missed warning signs that something was going wrong? 

Interestingly, we’ve found all kinds of different solutions, including: 

  • physiotherapy and chiropractors
  • cortizone injections
  • ice packs
  • wrist braces
  • acupuncture
  • sonograms
  • yoga and other strength training

The saddest solution of all for a crafter? Giving up the crafts you love! (True story: I decided to try crocheting this fall, using the same yarn from the afgan that gave me RSI. I crocheted just a single little granny square for a few nights in a row… as careful as I was, it took weeks to recover. Sad.)

Enough whining though! I feel really, REALLY lucky that after years of doctors telling me to live with the pain, I found a physiotherapist who believed I could improve! Here are the exercises he gave me – I hope they help some of you too! 

**NOTE: I am not a doctor or physiotherapist… and since I was living in Japan at the time, my physiotherapist and I spoke in a blend of Japanese and English! If  I missed some subtly of the exercises, I’m sorry!**

The Basic: 

Ok, now you try it! 🙂 

Step 2: Forward and backward

Your turn! 

Step 3: Pelvic roll

That “Wow!” at the end? That was me straining my back by holding it too long! 😛 Must remember to do these exercises more often these days! 

Another version of this was a bit too porny to video: Kneel on the floor, and arch your back up like a cat, then flex your back down while sticking out your arse. Keep your chin up while you do it. My physio called it cat and dog. I think of it as butt and boob! Somehow people always took this exercise as the chance to come practice English with me… 😛 

Step 4: Variations!

Here’s a diagram of the, uh, crucifixtion pose that I mentioned…

Physio Excerises for Crafters

You’d probably need two yoga mats put together for length. This one feels really good though – lie there and let your arms stretch back for about 2-3 minutes. If you hunch forward like me, you’ll really feel the stretch across your upper bust!

Here’s a few I didn’t mention in the video…

Physio Excerises for Crafters

On the left: Do the same exercise as I showed in the first video, but stand against a door frame so that your shoulder blades press against the 90* angle of the frame. The resistance is good strength training. SImilarly, use your rolled mat for resistance while sitting or lying down. 

On the right: Buy a theraband/rubbery resistance band and hook it around the doorknob while you do the same first exercise. You can face towards the door or away from it!

And there we have it! There is no specific order to the exercises. You could do one rep of 20 for each, or repeat a second time. Please let me know if any of my explanations are confusing! 

My goal is to raise awareness of RSI, and to get us talking about it. It seems clear from your responses that there are many possible solutions… but also that it is something we need to take seriously. I wish someone had told me at the time that it could become lifelong and chronic – I would have made smarter choices from the start! At the same time, writing these posts has made me realize that I’ve been slowly letting things deteriorate again… it is time for me to be more vigilant! 

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