This blog post has been sitting in my mind for awhile now. I’m sure you noticed my recent lack of posts… that has been because my carpal tunnel is flared up quite a lot lately. I even had to write this blog post in shifts, so I haven’t been stitching. And the truth is that makes me really sad and very frustrated, literally. Stitching is very therapeutic for me, it’s my stress relief and relaxation. I tend to get a little cranky when I’m not stitching.
A bit about of history here. My “day job” is as a transcriptionist and I also run a few niche websites online, which of course means lots of typing and mouse clicking during the day. When I get to my downtime I want to stitch, but I also know that I need to rest my wrist at least a little bit, or I’m already too uncomfortable to do any stitching. People always assume that I ended up with carpal tunnel because of stitching or typing, and it was neither. I first developed the injury way back in 1998 running a rivet machine on an assembly line. That’s not to say that stitching and typing were innocent in the matter, but they were not the cause.
I don’t know if it’s been the weather or why it’s been so aggravated lately, but it is making me quite the miserable person. And that got me thinking I can’t be the only one with this crazy problem happening. The doctors have offered up pain killers and surgery options, both of which I declined for now. Pain killers make me feel like a doofus during the day and I’m afraid I’ll be one of the people whose wrist feels worse after surgery than it did beforehand (and that seems to be a large percentage of people.)
I’ve always done exercises to help with the carpal tunnel symptoms … and here’s a video that might help you if you are experiencing this:
In addition to doing various exercises I have two different wrist braces, one that is softer and more flexible (Imak Smart Glove ) that I use when I’m at the computer and typing. I can’t type for very long without wearing it. Then I also have a firm brace that I wear on really bad days and occasionally at night after a really long day of working on something, and sometimes when I am stitching, that is an ACE Deluxe Wrist Stabilizer with the metal bar to keep things in place. (Note about the wrist stabilizer: There’s another brand that looks very much like the Ace, but it is not as high quality and the fabric on the off brand one is quite itchy!)
These are the two products I mentioned above that I own that I use every day:
A few quick stitching tips I’ve learned over the years with this issue….
Stitching with a floor or lap stand helps greatly because you don’t have to try to grip the hoop or q-snap. If you can get used to stitch two-handed (one hand on top, one hand on the bottom) all the better, there’s almost no bending and turning of your wrist that way.
We talked about using a stitching stand in this post quite a bit: Stitchqueries, Do you use a stitching stand?
The most important thing is to listen to your body if you are experiencing symptoms of numbness or pain in your wrist, hand, or arm. Our bodies give us these signals for a reason and it’s a good idea to pay attention. If symptoms continue on a regular basis, mention it to your doctor and discuss possible causes and treatments.
I hope this information has been helpful to you. I would also very much like to hear from you if you are experiencing carpal tunnel symptoms. Leave a comment below and share your tips with us, ask a question, or just add a “me too” to the conversation with your story.
Happy (and hopefully pain free) Stitching!