Intense cross-stitching pain stupidity
February 10, 2019 6:05 PM   Subscribe

I worked on a piece for my daughter not realising that 7560 stitches with a birthday deadline was a lot (this is the pattern - I made it into a little bag) and after a week of working on it, stayed up all night stitching 18 hours straight to finish. Three days later my right hand and lower arm still ache. Is this RSI? How do I fix my hand? I have things to do!
posted by dorothyisunderwood to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Ice, wrist brace, anti-inflammatories should all help. 18 hours doing small, repetitive motions is a lot on the hand, wrist and arm muscles.
posted by Fig at 6:12 PM on February 10, 2019 [7 favorites]

Definitely try sleeping with a wrist brace on. That usually helps a lot when I overdo it.
posted by clarinet at 6:19 PM on February 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

Oh dear, as a knitter who has done similar things, you have my sympathy! Seconding Fig's and clarinet's advice, and adding if you've maxed out on ibuprofen, try taking ginger on top of it. I can't take ibuprofen for stomach reasons, but I find chewable high dose ginger tablets can really help with inflammation and pain. Turmeric is also supposed to be helpful.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:25 PM on February 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Depending on where you are sore and how well you can identify the problem: massage yourself and or enlist some help. The meaty part between your thumb and index finger, the soft spots between each metacarpal, also up the forearm, including that but between your forearm bones.

Also wrist stretches: straight arm, palm pushed down, palm pushed back, twisting each way, etc. hold each stretch for longer than you think, at least 30 seconds, several reps several times each day.

Finally you can do exercises with a hammer, hold it out and gently turn it to each side, holding it parallel to the ground for 30 s on each side.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:35 PM on February 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

I am not a doctor, but look into Penetrex.
posted by mecran01 at 6:42 PM on February 10, 2019

I find Voltaren helpful for this sort of circumstance. Also, advil.

If it doesn't go away in a couple more days, massage therapy.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:23 PM on February 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

The good thing is that though this is a soft tissue injury, it’s not really RSI. Now if you were to power though for weeks and months, then you can absolutely turn it into RSI (ask me how I know!) but if you treat it right now(rest, ice, massage, NSAIDs) you’ll be fine in fairly short order. Also, movement is still important. Muscles start to atrophy and joints start to stiffen in short order after being kept still, so even if you wear a splint, make it a habit to regularly take it off and run your hand and wrist through a full range of motion.
posted by rockindata at 7:30 PM on February 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

I managed to get tendonitis in my hand from squeezing a squirty bottle for too long over consecutive days. Similar action to gripping a needle, though with more force.

Because it was at work, I got sent to a doctor. From memory, rest was the main cure, the internet also recommends ice. It flares back up if I knit for too long.
posted by kjs4 at 10:10 PM on February 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Just a note that an ice pack is a great idea but you need to be careful with ice not to leave it on too long and cause damage. If it is more painful or *especially* if it becomes numb, that's too long. I've been advised to make sure there's a barrier between skin and cold pack or ice (shirt, paper towels...) and also to set a timer and not leave the ice on for more than 15 minutes on, then 15 minutes off. (Sometimes they say 20 but it depends on your own familiarity and comfort I think.)
posted by Lady Li at 10:59 PM on February 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Do you have a flexible shower wand? Try directing the blast (your choice of water temperature) at different locations on the hands, wrists and arms.

Ditto practicing some hand exercises. I go a bit strong on crochet sometimes, and belly dance hand moves help me.
Also do moves at different levels -- above the head, shoulder level to front, shoulder level to side, down. Try doing them while lying down.
Various tools are available for squeezing, to add some resistance to your routine. A simple tennis ball rolled under the foot can relieve tension and foot cramps, and likewise the same resistance can be used to massage the surfaces of the hand.

Do not overdue ibuprofen (kidneys), acetaminophen (liver), or aspirin (bleeding).
posted by TrishaU at 11:43 PM on February 10, 2019

You don't really get the antinflammatory benefit of NSAIDs like ibuprofen unless you've been taking them for a few days, so keep taking it every 6 hours or so for a while. (I actually prefer naproxen because it has wider intervals.) Also, you can stack tylenol on top of NSAIDs as it is a different class of drug. It won't help with inflammation but it will help with pain.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:20 AM on February 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Rest is SO important. Any time you are doing something and you feel the pain coming back, STOP. It's really hard for me, because in almost all of my free time I'm either knitting or spinning yarn, but I've learned that if you rest early -- as soon as it hurts -- you recover faster. Even if that means stopping in the middle of a row.

The cold/hot, NSAID, and massage suggestions are all good, too, but in the end, it will just have to heal. Be sure your nutrition is on point, too.
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:05 AM on February 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

It took about three weeks to go back to normal. The brace made the biggest difference, and sleeping with the brace on was very helpful. Icing helped a lot. I can't take NSAIDs so I forced myself to take a break. I also deliberately tried to vary my hand movements a lot to stretch the muscles.

I'm going to pick up another embroidery project in April and stick to just an hour or so a day!
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 8:37 PM on March 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

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