I have a deadly serious problem. A problem I was in denial about until a week ago.

For the past several weeks, every time I knit for an hour or three, I’ve been experiencing a twinge in my left shoulder. Nothing serious, and it never hurt while knitting; but immediately afterward, I started to notice that when I leaned on something with my left elbow, pain would shoot from front to back under my collarbone. At first, it was just after I was knitting on a chair without arms, with my elbow swinging free. Then it started to hurt even if I knit on the couch.

I didn’t think much of it, aside from occasionally trying to make sure my elbow was supported while knitting. But two days ago, after I spent several hour plying, I couldn’t ignore it. I couldn’t lift my arm past 45 degrees at my side or move my shoulder or arm behind me without shooting pain in that same spot, and even while relaxed, there’s a dull ache like I need a massage.

And it only gets worse when I knit or spin.

If I go to the doctor, I know the first thing they’re going to tell me is to stop knitting and spinning. This innate knowledge is probably related to my complete denial of the situation before this point. I’m not a dummy; I know that a short break now might be the difference between healing something weird and causing a permanent injury. So I’m going to stop now, at least until next weekend, when I will be beyond disappointed if I can’t spin at least a bit. (Maybe I’ll perfect one-handed woolen spinning?) I’ve been walking around the house sniffling, trying not to look at new knitting patterns, and reading articles on weaving.

It’s not in any way affected by typing, so I can still write my last four designs, I just can’t knit the samples at the moment. I can catch up on that if my test knitters stay on top of things, which they always do.

It’ll probably take ages for me to get an appointment in the clinic, so does anyone have suggestions for things I can do to help in the meantime? Pushups? Bench presses? Cross-front shoulder stretches? I don’t think it’s related to the migraines, because those usually happen on the right side.

In the meantime, I am going to find a hook, and start on this. It doesn’t hurt as much to crochet, probably just because it slows me down. I already cranked this out in two days.

6 thoughts on “RSI

  1. Chiropractor!!! It will cure what ails you. I was a total skeptic until I tried it, and I’d have married my dr if she wasn’t a she and I wasn’t already married. It can make a huge difference. Likewise a massage could actually help, b/c it could just be muscles that are getting tense/knotted up causing problems.


  2. LOL Niki! I have a vague recollection of proposing marriage to my chiropractor when I was 21. (That was a LONG time ago… and my doctor was a a better-than-average looking (but married) “he.”)

    But seriously, Rebecca, it’s no a bad suggestion.


  3. I started having RSI problems a while back and ended up going to physical therapy (which is probably what the doctor will tell you to do). The things that ended up best keeping it under control for me were:

    – Hand/wrist/shoulder stretches throughout the day (as in, do some of these every 30 min or so any time you’re knitting or typing). Kinda like this:,
    – Upper back strengthening exercises. Kinda like this:
    – Ergo eval. I got my desk at work adjusted to fit me better. Dunno what the knitting equivalent is for that.

    Whatever you do, don’t let it get worse before finding a way to make things better!


  4. I agree a chiropractor can help – find one who actually does an adjustment rather than hooking you up to electrical stimulation (although that helps tood). Definately tell him/her that you are a knitter – my chiro adjusts my hands, elbows and shoulders whenever I see him.

    Massage is good also – I get this same pain and my husband works on the muscles in my neck, shoulder and back (especially under the shoulder blade).

    The doctor told me (without the benefit of tests) that I had a tear in my rotator cuff when I told her about the pain. I don’t think that is the problem – knitting and mousing (computer work!) work the muscles that get tight when I am under pressure and a little TLC really makes it all better.


  5. Thanks so much for your advice, y’all! This is what I wanted to hear. The idea of doing stretches and stuff is great; and getting the hubsband to massage. Easy strengthening exercises too, I hear are good.

    I am also discovering that when I macguyver a sling to rest my elbow in while I knit, it helps; I think it’s the effort of holding my needles (or even my hands!) in the air that aggravates it, explaining why typing is no problem.

    I’ve gotten a couple lectures on Alexander technique, and am trying to improve my posture, for future prevention. Bench presses are also in my future to make that less of a pain.

    I would LOVE to get me some chiropraxy, and therepeutic massage. But I could barely afford the former even when I had decent insurance! This bottom-of-the-barrel stuff leaves one hanging. But still, I am not about to wait until I need surgery.

    Thanks for reading and advising. Typing it all out encourages me to stay accountable.


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