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 Knitting as Therapy
 Knitting & Fibromyalgia (FMS)
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knitaly
Chatty Knitter

USA
102 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2002 :  10:45:55 AM  Show Profile  Visit knitaly's Homepage Send knitaly a Private Message
I haven't done any knitting in several months because my right arm bothers me too much after just a couple of rows. Fortunately, I picked up spinning, love it, and have been able to spin almost without problems.
One of the problems with fibromyalgia is that repetitive motion makes symptoms worse.
If any of you are dealing with FMS, I would love to hear what your difficulties are and how you are dealing with them. Maybe there is some creative way to keep doing what we love without aggravating our symptoms.


Francesca

mokumegane
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
558 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2002 :  2:10:23 PM  Show Profile Send mokumegane a Private Message
It's practically the same with arthritis! I've had more luck sitting in my computer chair, resting my arms on the chair arms (when I can) than anywhere else. Sometimes I can knit a lot, sometimes I can't knit and sometimes I can only knit a little!

Amanda

quote:

I haven't done any knitting in several months because my right arm bothers me too much after just a couple of rows. Fortunately, I picked up spinning, love it, and have been able to spin almost without problems.
One of the problems with fibromyalgia is that repetitive motion makes symptoms worse.
If any of you are dealing with FMS, I would love to hear what your difficulties are and how you are dealing with them. Maybe there is some creative way to keep doing what we love without aggravating our symptoms.


Francesca



Laugh- it keeps you sane!
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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2002 :  3:40:18 PM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message
No matter where I knit, at the table, in a chair, or lying flat in bed, I support my arms on pillows. It is the only way that I can knit lying down because my hands won't touch if the arms are both on the bed, but with a pillow under each arm (upper arm), I am able to allow my arms to rest and still knit. I think it is the holding up of my arms that makes the difference and when they are on pillows, I have much less pain. When I knit while sitting up in a chair, my shoulders get sore and ache, and placing my forearms on pillows relieves this. I guess no matter what position I am in I like to be supported.

Fran

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Lissa
Permanent Resident

USA
4942 Posts

Posted - 10/14/2002 :  2:02:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit Lissa's Homepage Send Lissa a Private Message
Francesca, I have FMS too (and am enduring a nasty flare after a nastier trip-and-fall on some sunken concrete at work that no-one is bothering to fix - grrr) I prop my left elbow on pillows and my right one on my right hip. That helps my shoulders a bit. My biggest issue is my wrists and thumb/finger joints. Massage makes them worse (that's why they call them TENDER points!), and neither heat nor cold makes any difference. The rheumatologist who told me to excercise can kiss my aching......let's just say that makes it worse, too. But give up knitting? Never!

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BoSox Fan
New Pal

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2002 :  07:22:39 AM  Show Profile Send BoSox Fan a Private Message
HI! I think this may be my first post to the message boards but I have been receiving the weekly updates for months and love being part of such a welcoming and friendly community of knitters! I am an avid knitaholic and have had inflammatory arthritis since I was a teen. I am also a pianist (my primary passion is music but knitting takes a very close second.) I am very fortunate that the type of arthritis I suffer (ankylosing spondylitis) does not permanently damage the joints like rheumatoid arthritis does, and so far it has affected only my knees, back, and neck (not my fingers - yay!) Of course, this is small consolation when I experience a flare-up and can barely walk. Still, I find that knitting helps me not only to remain physically occupied in some way, but is immensely good for my psychological well-being. I am one of those stereotypical "women who do too much". I work full-time at an office downtown, go to school (finishing my Music Education degree) three days per week during an extended lunch break, teach piano from home two nights a week, conduct the church choir, manage all the church finances as Treasurer, and somehow find time to dote on my DH and adorable Chihuahua. So when I tell people I knit every day they invariably ask "How do you do it?" Well, for me it's easy: if I'm going to be sitting in front of the TV for even an hour a night I might as well have knitting in hand! Some theory I have about "idle hands being the devil's playground" or some such [] And guess what? Over the years I've noticed a direct correlation between the amount of stress I feel I'm under and the subsequent amount of pain I'm in from the arthritis. As long as I stay calm and content, I remain (relatively) healthy! A lot cheaper and safer than all those icky medications.

I'd be curious to hear whether others diagnosed with either fibromyalgia or arthritis use knitting as a form of "prevention therapy" against further complications or outbreaks from their disease. Also, (not directly related to the bulletin board topic but curious anyway) - any other knitter musicians out there??

Angela

"Not all who wander are lost." - JRR Tolkien
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lorirae
New Pal

USA
8 Posts

Posted - 11/11/2002 :  1:50:06 PM  Show Profile Send lorirae a Private Message
Angela,

I have both rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. I don't know how successfully I use knitting as "prevention therapy" as I tend to get so excited about new projects I actually have to set a timer to keep myself from knitting too long. It takes real bargaining power to force myself to quit when I know that's what I must do so that I can go on to knit again tomorrow. It get's particularly difficult when I have so many things I really would like to finish for Christmas. Then I try negotiating with - "well, I'll just switch projects to a different size needle" . . . oh, the games we knitter's play.

I do think knitting every day, at least twice each day, helps my arthritis. I think over doing it in any one day aggrevates my fibro. Hope this helps someone else.

Lori

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marfa
Permanent Resident

USA
2057 Posts

Posted - 11/11/2002 :  7:37:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit marfa's Homepage Send marfa a Private Message
How do.
Francesca, are you feeling better these days? FMS sounds just so painful & a pain in the *** too . I have arthritis in both thumbs (right worse than left) & tendonitis in the right wrist area. I took a quilt class a few years ago & much if it applied to anyone who does handwork. It was based on the book RX FOR QUILTERS which was written by a physician who is also a quilter. She gives lots of good exercises for the hands & shoulders, talks about sitting postures & the effect of meds. She also talks about what the various age groups find challenging - light, aches & pains, eyesight, etc. It an excellent book.
The physical therapist who taught this class gave an idea/suggestion that I try to follow - some days I'm successful, others NOT. If you knit for 10 minutes, take a break for 10 minutes, 15 minutes of work then a 15 minute break, etc. Yea, yea I know: it's so hard! A kitchen timer is useful as a reminder. She encouraged us to balance our craft w/a period of rest.
Stretching the fingers, shoulders & arms can be an assist too.
P.S. Lissa, hey. I had no idea that you had FMS too .

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knitaly
Chatty Knitter

USA
102 Posts

Posted - 11/11/2002 :  8:57:14 PM  Show Profile  Visit knitaly's Homepage Send knitaly a Private Message
I took up knitting again this past weekend. Since I've been spinning like a madwoman for the past five months, now I gotta do something with all this yarn, right? I'll have to try Marfa's suggestion, knit for ten minutes, rest for ten minutes, etc. cause I am already having trouble. Since I use my right arm the most when knitting (I am still throwing... can't get used to the other method), and that's the same arm that hurts at work (all computer work), I get sore in a matter of minutes.

Lissa, I haven't had any luck with massage either. And doctors have been telling me to exercise since I was diagnosed, but as you know it's damn HARD to exercise. Anyway, lately I got so frustrated with all the problems that decided to give exercise a serious try and I started yoga. It's too early to tell wether it's helping or not - I've only been going for ten days - but this is the hardest physical thing I have done in my life. It's called Bikram Yoga and you work out for 90 minutes in a room at 105-108 degrees. Needless to say, I can do very little compared to the other people in class, but I am trying.
Any of you tried this kind of yoga?

One thing I am happy about is that my new doctor - who happens to be a quilter - wanted to increase my medication and when I said NO, she said "Well, you make sure you keep up your spinning then."
I'm gonna keep her.


Francesca
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BlueStocking
Sustaining Member

USA
945 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2002 :  1:40:09 PM  Show Profile  Visit BlueStocking's Homepage Send BlueStocking a Private Message
Hi! I stopped by this thread because I have chronic fatigue syndrome / epstein-barr virus ... and was interested in reading your thoughts and recommendations.

Angela's comment about the correlation between stress and how she feels is so true! I know I feel much more fatigued and worn down when I am stressed out. Plus, it is a medical fact that stress suppresses the immune system. I know what this does in CFS, and can imagine it has a similar negative impact for FMS. For me, knitting is SUCH a great stress-reliever and relaxer. I find such peace in the clicking of the needles, and seeing a project develop. Plus, it's my only "real" creative outlet at the moment (with 2 small children, it's easy to put the knitting down quickly!), and I find the creative energy very good for my psyche. Sometimes when I'm knitting I imagine myself "knitting" away my illness and that with the completion of each project, I am that much closer to being healthy, energetic and vibrant again!

I do find that I need to knit in a chair with arms to support my arms. Otherwise, I get very sore in the forearms and the wrists especially. Support seems to keep my wrists from hurting.

Of course, like Lori, I also tend to get totally immersed and forget the time, and then I stay up too late when I'm supposed to go to bed early and get a good night's sleep. Then I get in trouble with my DH for not going to bed at a decent hour!

With best wishes for all of you on the road back to health and wellness -- Jennifer

"Imagination mixed with vividness becomes reality."
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