When I started using sock yarn and size 2 or smaller needles my hands started hurting. I had to pay attention to how I was holding the yarn and needles to figure out how to do it without gripping things too tightly. I wish I could tell you how I changed my way of doing it but for me it's just something you find a way to do that works for you.
Cheating is an option. . . . Cheaters never win and winners never cheat, but smart knitters who want to retain an iota of sanity do, cheerfully. ~~Kory Stamper