Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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How to Deal with Wrist Pain

Someone asked my about how to deal with wrist pain from hand sewing. These tips generalize to most other handicrafts and repetitive motions such as typing. They also address a variety of wrist, hand, and finger issues. Here are some things you can try ...

* Consider the ergonomics of your work station and posture. Some problems are caused by poor equipment, positioning, or motion habits.

* Stretch out before you sew. You can use the same routine afterwards too. Here are some stretches for musicians. They should work for most handicrafts as well.

* Strength exercises may help. There are also exercises for therapy putty and therapy balls. Here is a complete routine with putty.

* Stress balls have different textures, and this matters. I've only found one that is appealing and soothing to me with regards to hand/wrist/finger stress. It's called an Atomic Bead Stress Ball. I have the version with tiny multicolored lenticular beads. It also comes in a version with big round beads. There are balls filled with liquid, gel, sand, and all kinds of other things. A gyroscope adds its own motion. Try many different types in a toy store if you can. The right one will create a massaging effect that relieves stiffness and muscle cramps.

* Work in modest sessions until you build up stamina. When you start to feel uncomfortable, stop and do something else for at least a few minutes. Try the stretches or stress balls here too. Most problems from handiwork come from repetitive stress. Changing the motion will usually stop that from getting worse. Pay attention to your body and try not to zone.

* Some people find relief by using mechanical aids such as wrist rests or braces.

* Heat relieves pain, stiffness, and muscle cramps. You can buy or make a hot sock with your choice of fillings and fragrances such as herbs or essential oils. Use heat if your wrists feel stiff and/or cold. It can help before or after a session.

* Muscle-relaxing or circulation-improving medication or herbs may also help if your wrists feel stiff and/or cold.

* Cold soothes pain and inflammation. Use cold if your wrists feel puffy and/or hot. Ice in a baggie, or a reusable gel pack, will work if wrapped in a flour-sack dishcloth. You can chill a "hot sock" in the freezer and use it as-is because it's already got a cloth cover. Cold works best after a session.

* Anti-inflammatory medication or herbs may also help if your wrists feel puffy/hot.

* Bear in mind that some medications and herbs can have side effects that cause problems described above. Consider checking if this could be a contributing cause for you, especially if the problem is new and you're taking something new. It isn't always the new craft you're doing that's the root of the issue.

* Massage can help a lot of different problems. Here is a self-massage technique using a tennis ball.

* You can buy or make massage oil with herbs to help. Consider warming, cooling, soothing, or analgesic qualities. Adaptogens help a wide range of problems.

* Most problems of this type can be sorted out quickly and easily. If you cannot track it in your head, however, consider using a pain tracker online or on paper. You want one that will help you identify which causes make the problem worse and which solutions make it better. If you're not sure, change only one variable at a time to help pin down specifics.



Tags: crafts, how to, safety
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