Crocheting can soothe our nerves and allows us to make beautiful garments or objects. Unfortunately, if we are not careful, this wonderful hobby can also cause neck pain that leads to headaches or aggravates tension in our hands and wrists.
Surprisingly, our eyes are a major cause of neck pain when crocheting. Sometimes it is simple to resolve. Going to a doctor for an eye exam and getting prescription lenses may be the solution you need. Or, if you already have lenses, particularly progressive lenses with multiple focal lengths, you might need to have your glasses adjusted by an optician.
A recent discussion with my optician reminded me that working with adequate light while crafting is very important. Even slightly dim light can make it difficult to see your work, causing eye strain.
A daylight spectrum light bulb is a good investment. Ott-lites are some of the most well known, though there are now lots of other affordable alternatives available. Look in hardware stores or other shops that carry light bulbs. With the popularity of fluorescent bulbs it is possible to locate “daylight” versions that you can substitute in lamps you already own. You can save your eyes from strain and save money on your electric bill.
The best position for your lamp is shining over your shoulder on to your work. A bright, nearby lamp is better for your crochet posture than a bright overhead room light. Though nothing beats the sun for good lighting, just be sure that you have your sunscreen on and that your yarn is fade-proof if you are crocheting in the great outdoors.
Poor lighting or an out-of-date lens prescription can lead to postural habits that make your neck scream at you. Once you’ve solved those issues, it’s also important to do some gentle stretches on a regular basis to loosen up your shoulders and neck.
Simple gentle neck rolls are a great stretch. Stabilize your neck with your hands pressing down on the top of your breastbone while slowly lifting your chin toward the ceiling. Continuing to press with your hands, roll your head like you are making a circle around your shoulders with the top of your head.
Using the same stabilization technique, drop your shoulders by squeezing your shoulder blades together, then try to touch your ears to the matching shoulder (it is cheating if you lift the shoulder to your ear). Keeping your breath even and deep while doing stretches will increase the benefits.
Before you go to sleep, think about your usual sleeping position—the one you sleep in for the majority of the night. The best sleeping position keeps your neck and back in a neutral posture.
Side sleepers need firm thick pillows to support their neck. If you look at yourself straight on in a mirror you can see there is a great deal of space between your shoulder and your ear. You want pillows that will fill that space.
Back sleepers should be using a relatively thin soft pillow. If you sleep on your back consistently, using a neck roll is often better for you than any type of pillow. Standing sideways to a mirror you can use a hand mirror to see your reflection and see that the space that needs support is primarily the back of your neck.
Stomach sleepers are a little more difficult to help. Most of the time sleeping on your stomach twists the neck, which can lead to a stiff neck by morning. Ideally a modification of side sleeping is best. Some stomach sleepers find it easiest to have firm pillows to support their head, with a large pillow in front of their stomach for their upper leg to rest on.
Avoiding a pain in the neck from your crochet is fairly straight forward. If you try the above suggestions, and nothing seems to help, it may be time to visit your health care provider. Persistent neck pain can be an indicator of other more pressing health concerns. Don’t suffer in solitude. Get it checked out!