Can anyone help me where to go from here?I’ve been suffering from RSI for about 2 and half years

Question: Can anyone help me where to go from here? I’ve been suffering from RSI for about 2 and half years, and have really tried to overcome it. I’ve had physio, did a course in Alexander Technique, and some Feldenkrais method. I had my workstation reassessed, and have a new chair and Maltron keyboard (I work as a librarian, and am at my desk for most of the day, on and off the computer, but not required to type consistently).

I think I’ve reached a plateau, which is too uncomfortable to put up with. I get anxious about my prospects for the future (I m still young!) and try to think of other ways I can make a living in life away from an office and computer, but don’t have much inspiration, and do enjoy my work/would enjoy it if my pain were less. I think I would benefit from relaxation/meditation classes, and would be grateful if anyone could recommend any (in London, N1 or thereabouts). And of course, I’d be grateful from any other advice you could give me.

Answer 1: One thing you need to do is to look at all aspects of your work. The problem is that while computer use is probably the trigger factor in most cases, there are a lot of other things which can stop this sort of problem going away. I’ve been dealing with library staff who have mainly manual handling problems recently and have realized just how much manual handling there is in your job. For instance how much time do you spend re-stacking? How do you handle books? (I’ve had a case where a librarian was receiving books seated and putting them on a very low shelf, at arms length, while twisting – this sort of thing is a total disaster for the human body)

I’ve been on RSI-UK for over a year now and seen a number of people who are finding physical activity painful (there is one member who reported that sail-boarding was a real problem) so I would expect that this manual handling aspect could be making your problem worse (or your recovery slower).

There might  be some good news on this part of the problem, as some of our staff here who have had strain problems due to manual handling have begun to recover when reorganization of the manual handling duties (short times doing it, longer times recovering), rethinking of layout and a bit of brain storming as to how to do various things safely has been actively pursued.

The very fact that you’ve hit a plateau could possibly mean that you have not spread your net wide enough in looking at the problems. Do you have a Safety Officer you could (and would) turn to? Or a Union Safety Rep. We tend to get into a rut and don’t always see some of the ways we can reorganize, simply because we are too close to the problem and our own field of work (the “we’ve always done it like that” syndrome).

I’ll leave comments on the straight RSI control part to the others on this net who are much more expert in that area than I.  I hope this is of some help.

Answer 2: A good friend of mine who lives in N16 has recently been struck down with RSI. She does not have Net access and cannot use a key board at all, so I have been searching the Net for RSI info on her behalf. She would greatly appreciate contact with fellow sufferers who are local to her. She has also just discovered a book which she is convinced sheds a totally new light on the condition and offers a way of resolving it.

Answer 3: Have a look at Dragon Dictate voice recognition software. It basically replaces the keyboard by you speaking to the computer. Several people on this list use this whilst developing software. There are two other systems that are widely available: IBM and Kurzweil, both of which now offer a consumer version for 80-100 pounds. All these systems work on a PC with a sound card. They work with DOS or Windows and can drive different computers over a serial line or network connection. Get in contact with the RSIA for addresses of suppliers or the Computability Centre. The Computability Centre is a charity which supplies advice to disabled people to find various forms of computer technology that will help them.

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