I know what you're thinking.... "Crocheting, a seemingly harmless hobby, can cause permanent damage? You must be referring to the damage it does to my pocket book." Oh how I wish I were, but I'm not. I am referring to your health, or rather my health and personal experience.
I'm sure most of us have experienced the occasional hand and neck cramps that come from having poor posture while crocheting (especially before the holidays when we crochet until we fall off the couch at night). But this.... this is much more than a hand or neck cramp. The effects of this are lifelong and I felt the need to share my story with all of you and spread awareness.
If you're like me and are a wife/mom/grandma, you probably have a tendency to ignore the little aches and pains you feel throughout the day because you have others who you need to focus your attention on. You may also try to tell yourself, "They're just the aches and pains of getting older", "I must've slept funny last night", or "I really should try and use better posture while crocheting."....and you go about your day. I have done this time and time again and usually, within a week, that ache subsides.
The past 6 weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions and medical mysteries for me. I will spare you from most of the events that led up to my visit with the chiropractor and just start there.
It was the beginning of October and I had been having 'normal' aches and pains from late nights of working on projects that had deadlines quickly approaching. I chalked them up to restless sleep, too little sleep, poor posture and stress. Little did I know what I thought were normal aches and pains were actually signs of something much worse going on, but it would be 3 weeks before I finally caved and made an appointment to see a chiropractor. (I had gone several times while pregnant with my 3 youngest, but have never taken the time for myself since then) I figured if nothing else, I would get adjusted, maybe get a nice massage and be on my merry way, right? Boy was I wrong!!!
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Since I hadn't been to a chiropractor except for pregnancy, they needed to take films. No problem. I arrived at the office in the early morning, went over my history and they took films and asked me to come back in the afternoon for my first adjustment.
That afternoon I was led to a room with a large television to view my films on. The chiropractor was going over every 'problem' spot he had found and may have even commented that I was going to be his "problem child" for a while....we laughed! But that laughter would quickly turn to concern when he stopped mid-sentence while reviewing a film that included a portion of my right arm. His voice changed as he asked, "Have you recently broken your arm?" I responded, "No." He paused and I knew something was causing him great concern. He asked me to follow him back to x-ray and to humor him as he took more x-rays of both arms.
I stood in front of the x-ray machine growing more and more concerned as he stood silent behind the plexiglass staring at my films. He finally called me over to show me what he was looking at, but didn't offer much for information. It was then that my heart sank and my thoughts began to race. I was looking at a very large lump on my right humerus. He didn't say it, but all I could think was, "I have bone cancer"...... We went back to the room where the tv was, he told me that he was going to send my films off to a specialist, then I gathered my jacket and off to another room I went to get adjusted.
The entire time he was adjusting my back, his demeanor was different. I could sense that he was thinking just what I was. He kept asking me questions about my arm... "Does your arm ache?", "Does it feel like a muscle ache or more like a toothache?", "Does the pain wake you up at night?", "Does it hurt when you wake in the morning?", "How long has it been hurting?", "Does it hurt deep in the bone?" ....yeah, I won't lie...that last one freaked me out because it was then that I knew for sure that he was thinking the same thing I was....bone cancer!
After the adjustment, I made an appointment for Thursday morning and he told me that he'd speak with the specialist before then. I headed out the door to go home, but honestly do not remember the drive home....my mind was racing.
The next 36 hours were the longest in my entire life. I googled.... (yeah, I know you're not supposed to do that, but I had to do something to occupy my time and I just wasn't in the mood to crochet). I was trying to find a film that resembled mine, but in all honesty, they all seemed to resemble mine.
Thursday morning finally arrived and I walked into the office with sweaty palms and a stomach that was turning inside out. I was called to the back and we headed to the room with the large tv and up on the screen I read the words 'Pseudotumor Deltoideus'... I froze... I am SO grateful that the very first words out of the chiropractor's mouth were, "You do NOT have bone cancer." I breathed a huge sigh of relief and he went on to explain what was wrong with my arm.
I have a 'Pseudotumor Deltoideus' on my right humerus. The easiest way to explain it is, let's say you have a top sheet on your bed, you pinch it and lift up....it pulls it away from your bed and forms a small tent. Well, this is what has happened to my humerus bone...the bone has been lifted up (deformed if you will)!
What causes this? In your upper arm, you have a deltoid muscle that looks like 3 separate muscles that come together with tendons at an insertion point on your humerus called the deltoid tuberosity. If these muscles are constantly tight and never allowed to relax like they should, they begin to pull on the insertion point. Day after day of the constant tight muscles and pulling on the bone, it begins to cause a deformity of the humerus bone...one that will always be there....one called a Pseudotumor Deltoideus!
As soon as the chiropractor explained that it was from the muscles never relaxing, I knew exactly what caused it.... it was caused from hours and hours of crocheting without allowing my muscles to properly relax. Crocheting has caused permanent damage to my humerus bone...
I begin laser therapy Monday morning to get my muscles and tendons to relax again, but I will always have a big lump on my humerus and will likely have several more aches and pains in my upper arm because of it.
How can you keep this from happening to you? The chiropractor highly suggested that I use a pillow to prop my arm up while crocheting (or sit in a chair with an armrest) so that my deltoid muscle doesn't have to do all of the work. He also suggested letting the hot water run on it for a few minutes while showering and frequently massaging the muscle....and of course... taking breaks!
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While this is something that will always be there, I am very grateful that it is not bone cancer and there are simple things I can do to keep it from flaring up and getting worse.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope that it sheds some light on some of the aches and pains that can occur while crocheting and that the chiropractor's tips will help to keep it from happening to you.
Thank you for sharing. Will get a pillow. Get well soon!
An orthopedic surgeon actually thought I tore my rotator cuff because I literally overnight went from a slight pain to couldn't raise my arm and they thought I had a rotator cuff massive issue. They sent me to therapy and didn't do any Imaging but I didn't get any better in three weeks. So then they decided to do imaging. They found the rotator cuff was fine! What's up then? Turns out my trapezius muscle was so tight from holding my daughter, working at a desk, and crocheting an exercise that it had Tightened to the point it was not dropping when my arm would lift and so my muscles surrounding the rotator cuff were hitting my trapezius muscle making it painful. Basically, I had locked shoulder. So now after some exercises I've gained Mobility but crocheting is on hold for a while.
Thank you for sharing this with us. I like you have a habit of leaving my own aches and pains on the back burner so I can take care of my family.
My doctor has never said those words, but I suspect I suffer from this very thing. It is so painful!
As a massage therapist, this is why I always recommend regular massages (at least monthly) and regular adjustments from the chiropractor. These two things on a regular basis can prevent problems in your body that a medical doctor will give you pills for, injections and sometimes surgery. They're not just luxeries, they should be a big part of your health care.
Yes! As soon as my chiropractor has me all straightened out I will be going at least monthly (although I suspect more because of this). One thing that led me to him was the fact that the medical doctors couldn't give me answers, only more prescriptions. I haven't taken the prescriptions since my first visit last Tuesday and I couldn't be happier! I've also been using frankincense oil to help with inflammation and that's been helping as well. <3
You are not alone. And I agree with Jessie about seeing a chiropractor and getting massages, very very good for all. I have RA and did what I was told by Dr and took ALL the prescribed meds for 5 yrs, I was miserable, had more aches & pains than ever before. I was taking even more meds and feeling worse. When I lost insurance, my Dr told me good-bye, come back when you have insurance. That is when I started researching and I found Vit C, Tumeric & Ginger Root. In the beginning to took lots of Vit C, like 25K mg daily, I've since lowered that to 5K mg daily. I discovered that Vit C lowers inflammation as well as healing the body, also tumeric & ginger root help with inflammation and pain. To relax, get magnesium & zinc. Ladies & Gentlemen I have not taken any meds in 6 yrs, not even an aspirin, and I feel great. Oh, I did stop dairy, processed foods, red meat and have lowered sugar a lot. Diet is important. Now I can crochet again, I'm a happy camper!!
thanks for the info how much tumeric and ginger do you take and is it in pill form thank you
Thank you so much for writing this story and all and for all the information from the reply’s ! I’m suffering so bad with my shoulder pain and I decided to google crochet and shoulder pain and found this ! I’m making a appt asap Monday !
A couple of years ago I began having a mysterious pain in the outer edge of my left breast. It ran all the way up into my underarm. I went to see both my gynecologist and my general physician. The first had a mammogram done and told me he could see nothing to discuss the issue with the general physician which I did. She looked at the results of the mammogram and told me there was nothing wrong with me. I knit and crochet both and am right handed. The pain had gotten so bad I could no longer do either on a daily basis. What I did find though was that if I did not do either for three or four days then the pain would go away but as soon as I picked up hook or needles it would come back within 15 minutes or so. It was always worse when I knitted though, which is where me being right handed comes in to be important. It meant I was supporting the whole weight of my project with that left arm. I do sit in a comfy arm chair that gives me plenty of support for my right arm but not much for the left. My conclusion was that the weight of those projects was what was causing the pain. I began do all knitting with circular needles rather than the regular straight needles. and over time most of the pain has stopped. I do have it though every now and then and it always requires several days away from any projects for it to ease. Not much I can change where it comes to crocheting. My Doctors still tell me there is nothing wrong with me to cause this pain and say it is my imagination basically. Now why would anyone want to imagine they hurt so bad from doing something they have done for nearly 50 years because they fell in love with the craft when they were 6 years old and have never wanted to stop? maybe I should see a chiropractor and insist my husband (who went to school to be a massage therapist) give me weekly massages and concentrate on that left side! Thanks for sharing your story it is always nice to know you are not alone!
If I were you I would find a chiropractor for a second opinion. They treat totally different than a medical Dr.
The chiropractor is the one who was finally able to diagnose me after seeing 2 ER doctors at hospitals 10 hrs apart, a family doctor, a cardiologist, 2 CT scans, an EKG, lots of bloodwork and an MRI. 😉
Catherine Buck Jose
Hi, thanks a lot for sharing your experience, as of now i do have shoulder pains down to my arms and to my right hand, i do crocheting a lot to meet my target to my customers, but sometimes i cant resist crocheting, you're right, i must relax my shoulder. Have a nice day and get well soon.
I had a similar problem after I took up crochet last winter. I crocheted 3 baby blankets in quick sucession, and developed ache and soreness in my right shoulder which I also picked up on it at my pilates class. After it got really bad, I figured it may be the fan I have for the menopause at night time causing problems. After stopping the fan, it went away for a bit and then came back. After trips to for a massage and then to the physio and still no easing, I then asked for accupunture on my next physio visit. This didn't help, so I knew that it was something I was doing that was causing the problem. I stopped crocheting for a week and the soreness and aching went away.
I now crochet for less time and not every night either. I still have problems at pilates with some floor exercises, but the less crochet I do, the less the pain is.
It's really a no brainer - less crochet = less body damage. I will still crochet and will just take my time over everything as my health is more important than crochet.
(For all of you who've crocheted for years and have no pain etc, you are very lucky)
My love for crochet has help with my shoulder therapy. I broke my shoulder several years ago, and have a partial shoulder replacement. With the fall I lost the use of the rotator muscles on that shoulder in which I will never regain - I can't touch the top of my head or my face. So during all the rehab, etc. I thought I would never be able to crochet again, but I gradually returned to crocheting but only for a little while every day, sometimes with days between due to the pain that I am having at that time. So crocheting has helped me with regaining the strength in the muscles. I love crocheting, I rather be able to do a little at a time than none at all.
After crocheting for three months I developed trigger thumbs and needed to get two rounds of steroid injections. The problem was solved without surgery but it was a close call. I need to rest my hands and be careful not to overdue it.
Thank you for sharing your story Jennifer. We need to take care of our bodies so we can continue to make beautiful things for our world.
Wow i never thought that knitting/crocheting could cause this, Thank you for sharing your story with us as i now know what precautions i have to take, I hope you feel better soon, <3
I'm wondering if anyone knows if this can happen to the bone n the forearm the side where the ulnar nerve is and the outside of the hand encompassing the top of the hand and middle, ring and baby fingers, with all the above pains including numbness. Both nerve problems and carpal tunnel have been ruled out, Had a complete bone scan of entire body this week, will be 2 weeks before the results are in.
It certainly couldn't hurt to pay a visit to your chiropractor. One of my other symptoms was numbness in one side of my face, jaw, neck, shoulder and right arm. There are places in your neck that could be out of place causing your numbness. Mine started with just numbness in my right arm and escalated. It hasn't returned since my first adjustment and boy do I hear how badly my neck is out of place each visit! But it's getting better so he's definitely doing something right! There are certainly other reasons for arm numbness, but a quick visit to the chiropractor might just do the trick! 🙂
It turns out mine is related to arthritis and arthritic deformities from trauma and breakage, next stop family dr for meds
I recently began crocheting again. Ayer not doing it for a long long time. I keep a headache and neck ache.. I'm pretty sure it's from long hours of looking down at my work and lack of sleep..
I would go visit your chiropractor if at all possible. On x-rays (aside from my arm), my neck has a couple issues and one of them being two spots that affect my eyes and migraines. What started this entire roller coaster was actually an ocular migraine and then ultimately the frequency of these migraines increased rapidly until they were happening only a day apart. I have not had an ocular migraine or a regular migraine since my first visit with the chiropractor. I can't remember the exact medical terms, but it was something in my neck causing them. The 3 medical doctors I saw just wrote me a new prescription and sent me on my way. None of them could answer my biggest question "What is causing the frequency of them to increase at such a rapid rate?".... I'm so glad I had made the appointment with the chiropractor. He was the only one who could show me what was happening and fix it!
I hope you're able to find relief soon. <3
Did you get a diagnosis from anyone else besides a Chiropractor?
Yes, the chiropractor was the last professional that I saw after seeing 2 ER doctors (from different hospitals), my family doctor, a cardiologist, 2 CT scans, and EKG, tons of bloodwork, tests on my carotid and an MRI. It's been a very long 7-8 weeks. I just didn't want to post every single detail of what's been going on. I chose just to share the information relating to my arm. 😉
Thank you for sharing this! I have the same symptoms on my left arm. I hold my hook in my right hand and my yarn in my left hand. I also habitually sleep on my left side (trying my best not to these days). My Dr did not take an X-ray but sent me to physical therapy for possible rotator cuff damage. My PT begins next week. I'm going to show my Dr this blog post and insist on an X-ray to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Thank you so much for sharing this. I hope you get well soon.
I have tendonitis in my right thumb. I injured it twice in July at work. I went to physical therapy, took ibuprofen and didn't crochet for 6 weeks. But I had to get some prayer shawls done. The inflammation has not gone down on my thumb. I re-injured it hitting my thumb at work.
Does anyone use compression gloves? Do they help? After the holidays, I'll stop crocheting for a few months and see if that will help in healing.
I've changed how I crochet. I only go 15-20 minutes and then I stop for a while. Thanks for sharing this story.
I too notice that when I am crocheting for too long I feel pain.. maybe I will take your advice on the pillows.. gees.. I better not show this to my boyfriend..
Thank you SO much for telling your story!! I have had a similar experience, and this made me feel like I was not alone. I was actually signing up for your blog for the drawing of the crochet hooks, and got carried away, just reading and looking at everything you have to offer! Both real life and "fiber" life! Thank you SO much for all you do for us!! I learned of your blog and Ravelry site through Melody's MCAL! Its a pleasure to meet you! 🙂
Crocheted for over 40 years many doilies bedspreads with finer thread, blankets but my RA deformed my right hand and now can no longer do something that I on blue ribbons In at state fairs, morning still 2 years later, was able to make a tablecloth for my daughter for when she married and I knew it was the last thing I'd ever make, as it was all I could do to get thru the pain to finish it! Would give anything to crochet again been very depressed over it, as it was a passion!
As a massage therapist who crochets and knits, this is a very real problem. It can also be prevented with regular massages, even just a 30 min massage and have your LMT work primarly on the extensors and flexors of the forarm. You can even massage yourself periodically, the little knobs on either side of your elbow where your extensors and flexors attach(you can google it) is where the problem originates. Make sure to take magnesium citrate or magnesium chelate(as long as it's not magnesium oxide) it also helps to somewhat relax the muscles. Do stretches every 20 minutes, sit with good posture or get a pillow.
I have spent hours of crocheting over the last few years only to notice I'm very tense when crocheting.. I now have problems with my left arm (I'm a leftie). The physiotherapist diagnosed arthritis. Its only every now and then that I'll crochet now.
I feel your pain. I have crocheted for years but my shoulder freezes up, I have a wall full of yarn and may not be able to use them.. but it’s good to read others have the problem also. And I will find a good chiropractor. Thanks all!
I am right handed and an avid crocheted over a year now I have suffered severe pain in my left shoulder. I have myotherapy at least every 4 weeks. In recent months the pain in my upper left arm has become excruciating. I can't lift my arm properly and get very little sleep due to this pain which often burns from my shoulder to my wrist. I work in a high pressure job and suffer from anxiety depression. After losing my oldest sine four years ago, crocheting has saved my sanity. If I have to cease this activity... the very thought makes me want to cry. I am finally seeing my doctor next week to get an the xray and ultrasound. I have osteo arthritis nearly everywhere, not in my knees anymore. They are titanium. Please Lord do not let me lose crocheting.
I hope everything went well at the doctors!
I am also feeling the pain in my elbow. My initial reaction was cancer. It’s what comes to mind whenever I have a new pain. Anyway, one day my elbow just started to hurt. I will start propping my arm up and see how that goes. I’m so glad I read your article. If my pain continues, I’ll be sure to go see a doctor. Thanks again.
Thank you for this article. I have had a very painful right arm for quite awhile now and i am glad to hear I am not alone (even though I wish none of us had to go through this pain). I have always had arthritis in my wrist due to a childhood injury so I just figured as I am getting older the arthritis is moving up the arm. I went to my doctor who suspected possibly a rotater cuff issue. The pain subsided for a few months but has recently come back. I never even imagined it could possibly be from crocheting. Back in October, I started making a king size afghan (to date I am almost to the point of putting the border on it), so for the last 3 and half months I have been crocheting in the evenings pretty much non stop. My arm is now so painful again and I noticed last night my elbow is getting tender and there is a small bruise on it now. I was outside last night shoveling snow and cleaning off my car and I couldn't even lift the shovel with the snow in it....and then I went in and continued crocheting (just to add more fuel to the fire I guess). It hurts when I do simple things like slice vegetables and stuff like that. I think it is time for another visit with my doctor and get this dealt with once and for all. I just taught myself how to crochet a couple of years ago. I really don't want to give up my hobby, but maybe I will have to...a least for awhile...
I have to give up crocheting over the summer. I crochet mostly Sept to April. It helps the pain.
So scary! Glad it’s nothing life threatening. Thank you for sharing.
I'm so glad to hear you got it all figured out and on a path of getting better. I started having pain in my left elbow last Christmas after finger crocheting a throw for a family member with the thick yarn. I am right handed and have crocheted for 10 years now.
I never went to go see anyone about it but my mom had a tennis elbow brace and lent it to me I don't actually know if I had tennis elbow but I have to say I have been using it every time I crochet and it helps so much. Also, I have been looking for something to use to rest my arms and I tried chairs and pillows but they didn't really work. But then I thought about a boppy pillow for when feeding babies and so I actually bought one to try that and it works great I love it and the relief is great. Hope all my fellow crocheters find ways to help themselves to keep on creating beautiful things.
Oh my goodness! I thought I was being stupid Googling "rotator cuff crochet", because how could crochet do any damage...right?! Thank you for sharing your story. Definitely going to start adding in more rest breaks and get a pillow!
Oh my goodness. I think I have this same problem. I wasn't sure if it was due to my mastectomy last year or crocheting or both. Thank you for sharing your story. The dull ache in my arm is driving me nuts!
I believe this is what I have too. I see a chiropractor 2-3 times a month, and I’ve seen my Dr too. It’s been 8 weeks since this began, but I’m an avid crochet person and crochet daily. It almost feels like a pinched nerve in my upper left shoulder blade. Any advice?
Hi Jennifer thankyou for sharing your story. It's actually helped me realize I have to look after myself even when crocheting. Since July/August this year I've been testing crochet patterns for designers on Ribblr and for the last 2 months I've had sharp pain in my elbow and the bone looks weird and also shoulder pain. I finally went to my doctor on the 10 days ago got a apor for xray and ultrasound well ive git tendinitis ( Tennis Elbow) and A Torn Rotator Cuff tendon and Bursitis. The only thing I haven't told them I was crocheting??? I had a fall at my mums 2 months maybe longer and I've been hard out crocheting. My daughter advised me to stop but I had all these deadlines now I can't crochet. I have dine a little sneaky crocheting just a couple of crochet tension regulator but after reading your story I might to stop for a while it's not fair I'm still reading crocheting pattern, tiktok, Instagram but I need your advice to cause I'm stubborn and also from 2010 to 2021 u couldn't use my hands mainly left as if Raynalds Disease but I started crocheting and it gulped heal my hands. I'm rather p. D off with myself but crocheting helps me relax, destress and stop my anxiety?,