A few months ago, I wrote a blog post that gave you a brief look into what my chiropractor had discovered in my arm that was causing pain from crocheting. But what I didn't share was that just prior to that I began having ocular migraines, bell's palsy in my face, and numbness down the right side of my neck and right arm. After seeing medical doctors who wanted to prescribe medicine for my migraines and muscle relaxers without being able to tell me "why" they started and increased in frequency so quickly, I turned to the chiropractor and put my trust in him when he was able to look at my X-ray and show me why this was happening! I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief, but that was just the beginning of my journey.
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My journey began with twice (sometimes 3 times) weekly chiropractor visits for 3 months and then we added in twice weekly physical therapy visits for 6 weeks. I am now down to once a week chiropractor visits...hoping it'll soon be once every other week, and my last physical therapy visit is scheduled for tomorrow. While I'm nowhere near the end of my journey to getting my neck, shoulder and arm healed, I am well on my way and I wanted to share a few important stretches with all of you to help keep you from heading down the same road I was on. 🙂
Posture: The #1 cause of all aches and pains! I can clearly remember my mom's voice from when I was little, "Don't slouch, Jennifer.", "Shoulders back." "Stand up straight." I'm sure you heard the same thing from your mom. 😉 Boy oh boy how I wish I were a better listener back then...if I had been, my spine may not look like that of a 65 yr old now! (at least that's what my chiropractor told me)
So, let's talk about our posture. Crocheting does not lend itself to perfect posture. Unless you are able to sit with your head up, shoulders back (shoulder blades pinched together) and hold your work 3" from your nose, your posture is being affected while crocheting. 😉
I get it. It's not ideal to sit like that, is it? So how can you combat the aches and pains that having poor posture creates? A great place to start is by doing a few simple stretches. I will share with you a few of my favorites, but if you're having a lot of discomfort, I urge you to visit your chiropractor or physical therapist to get a plan that is tailored to your specific needs.
Stretch #1: Cervical Spine Corner Stretch^^~ A basic exercise that is important for stretching the chest and shoulder muscles is the corner stretch and it is done...in a corner of a room.
- Stand approximately two feet back from the corner, facing into the corner.
- Feet should be together.
- Forearms are placed on each wall, and elbows are a little below shoulder height.
- Lean in as far as possible without pain. You should feel a stretch in the front of the chest and shoulders.
- Hold the stretch for about 20 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.
Stretch #2: Suboccipital Stretch^^ ~ The suboccipital muscles connect the base of your skull to the top of your spine. They are in charge of extension, rotation and tilting your head. So if they become tight, you can see how they can be a "pain in your neck". 😉
- Roll a small towel and place it at the base of skull and upper neck.
- Gently tuck your chin until you feel a stretch at the base of your skull and upper neck.
- Hold 5 seconds. Relax. Repeat 5 - 10 times.
Stretch #3: Thoracic Self-Mobilization ~ Another quick and easy stretch to help combat your posture from crocheting.
- Roll a small towel, sit in a chair and place the rolled towel at your upper back (at or just below your shoulder blades).
- Gently lean back until a stretch is felt.
- Hold 5 seconds. Relax. Repeat 5 - 10 times.
Awesome Tools for Reducing Pain
The stretches above are a few of my favorite stretches, but I'd also like to take a minute to share with you a couple other "tools" I've added to my arsenal to combat my pain from crocheting.
My most favorite tool is this Shiatsu Back Massager, which is also available through our affiliates. Oh is this thing heavenly!!!! I can position it all around my shoulders, neck and back. I love how easy to position and use it is. It helps to loosen tight muscles...another culprit of neck pain from crocheting!
Next up is The Miracle Ball Method. If you have back pain from crocheting, you'll love these! It is available for purchase through our affiliates:
The Miracle Ball Method is a great product that was suggested to me by my chiropractor. It's a quick read that includes several different stretches using the miracle balls that come with it. The first time I used one of the neck exercises, I fell asleep on my ball. lol
Also recommended to my by my chiropractor is this small handheld massager. If you have arm pain from crocheting, this little tool works wonders to relieve it!
If you have a lot of hand pain from crocheting, or wrist pain, I highly recommend Clover Amour Hooks.
I used to have such awful hand pain from crocheting for hours and hours leading up to the holidays, that I could hardly use my hands for small daily tasks such as opening doors. Since switching, I have not had a day of hand pain since!
Last, but not least!
Let's talk about last very important factor... icing our sore and inflamed muscles! Yes, laying on a heating pad helps reduce your pain temporarily, BUT the fact of the matter is that heat can worsen your inflammation. Ice packs should be your new friend if you have shoulder pain from crocheting.
I love my clay ice packs. They cool down much more quickly than gel and they form to my body easily and comfortably. *Please do not use them for more than 20 minutes at a time on the same spot.
The one I use can be purchased from our affiliates:
I think that's enough information overload for today. Keep your eyes peeled in my Facebook Community or on my Facebook Page for a giveaways and more!
Thank you for stopping by today! I hope you're able to put these stretches to good use and keep yourself in good health! 🙂
Thank you for sharing your story. I currently do not do any stretches, but will now. ?
Thanks for sharing your story Jennifer. Thanks for the giveaway. I really don't do any stretches, but I am going to start now.
In love with your new release!! <3 And excited to for a chance to win something to help with stretching! I don't usually do anything special to stretch, so thanks for the tips! Sometimes I stretch just to stretch out muscles that feel over used, but just like pulling my shoulder blades together then pulling my shoulders forward. Nothing special. 🙂
Thanks for the excersices. I lay across my bed and put my upper half slightly off the side and reach my arms out and down. It seems to help my neck and shoulders.
Thank you for sharing your stretching tips, and your journey!
Thanks for sharing your story Jennifer. I also use the Cervical Corner Stretch and the Subocci..subocci...yeah..that one where you tilt your head! 😀 Love your patterns and appreciate all the work that you put into them for us!
Mainly I have problems with my lower back so I do some leg raises and hip stretches.
I have multiple stretches that I use for my posture, hands, and wrists. I live with undifferentiated connective tissue disorder, meaning my immune system mistakenly attacks my healthy joints, so I have to be far more careful than most about how I treat my body. My doctors have recommended several sets of stretches from the Anderson Stretching Book. They'd love it if I'd give up crochet for the good of my hands, but it's what keeps me sane through my multiple chronic illnesses.
I need to do stretches! I often have to lean my head to one side to stretch out my neck, so that I don't get locked in position.
You are inspiring us to stretch more!
My favorite stretch starts with hands and bent elbows held up at shoulder height, then bring the elbows back (on the same level) as if pushing the shoulder blades closer together, opening the chest muscles. I like to let it glide more than bounce. My dad played a lot of tennis, and he said it is more important to make all stretching comfortable and keep doing it than to get competitive and make it hurt.
My back is just so out of whack. I have gotten into some accidents that have caused issues with my back. Lately I have been doing random neck rolls like I learned in school. Thank you for the opportunity to learn new stretches and for sharing your story.
I totally believe in stretching. Thanks for the new ideas and for the giveaway. Thank goodness for chiropractors!
Thanks for sharing your story and giving us some great tips!
I don't have any specific stretches that I do..Just generally stretch my back, shoulder and arm muscles once in a while when crocheting.