Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from Sewing

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is most commonly caused by repetitive movements typically used when sewing, typing or using small tools, ie. rotary cutters, seam rippers.  Medical issues such as arthritis, menopause and thyroid conditions can also effect the tiny bones in the wrist that can squeeze the median nerve that runs through this "carpal tunnel" causing numbness, tingling and weakness in the hand and fingers and even cause pain to shoot up the arm and shoulder.
I first noticed tingling fingers after my chemotherapy for breast cancer and attributed it to residual neuropathy from the drugs used in my treatment.  Four years, more symptoms and several new doctors later, I'm recovering from Carpal Tunnel Release surgery as a result of severe Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Could I have prevented my condition?

Several precautions can be taken to reduce your risk for carpal tunnel syndrome.
       ~ Take breaks frequently while cutting, sewing by hand or using repetitive movements.
                      Good time to get a cup of java!!! or maybe walk the dog??
       ~Relaxing your hands with a cup of hot tea or coffee releases tension and can soothe strained
       ~ Stretch the fingers open wide.
         Rotate the wrists in clockwise and counter-clockwise circles.
         ~Wear wrist braces at night to allow the median nerve to flow freely through the carpal tunnel 
              without impingement.

         ~Practice sitting in ergonomic positions to receive any pressure you may be adding to your
  • It's VERY important to invest in a good chair that will allow you to sit comfortably with your shoulders and hips lined up, elbows and wrists in a straight line along with feet and knees being at a 45 degree angle.  Just ask me how I know!!!!
    I recently purchased a new Koala chair from The Sewing Room that has made worlds of difference in how my back, neck and shoulders feel after sewing.
    So anxious to get back to my machine and new (ergonomically correct) rotary cutter!!
    Are there any other stitchers, seamstresses with recommendations for great tools to aid our sewing?  What about sewing furniture or chairs?  Do you have favorite tools?

    Literally in "stitches" (ha-ha),
    P.S.All tutorials, information and images are the property of Renee Galloway at Ney Ney's Nest and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin, share with attribution to Ney Ney's Nest.  For all other purposes, please contact me at reneegalloway@me.com.  Thanks!

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