Question: I wonder if anyone’s had a similar experience to mine or can advise me. My employer wants a diagnosis of RSI/WRULD from my GP. My GP says she’s not too confident about giving a diagnosis without some backup from another medical expert who is better qualified to say what the problem is.

My physiotherapist (who does specialize in treating RSI – he works at the Body Garage in London) says he’s happy to give a statement of what he believes the problem is, but I don’t know whether I should see a consultant or someone else to back up his report and gain more credibility with my GP & employers.

I’ve had RSI symptoms for 6 yrs, most of that time I’ve hidden it from my employer, except for a few periods (such as recently) when I can’t type at all. Over the years, I’ve seen rheumatologist, an osteopath & an occupational therapist – one visit to each. Any ideas?

Answer 1: As an RSI sufferer and an employer I can understand both sides of this. Employers have a duty to report cases of RSI to their insurers as soon as they are diagnosed, so that if an employee brings a claim against the employer, the employee liability insurance policy covers any financial award. If they fail to do this, the insurer may not pay out and any award falls on the employer instead.

Your employer may just be playing safe, but there again I have known an RSI diagnosis to be used to sack staff if they have no employment protection rights due to not being in post 2 years.

Answer 2: Getting to a specialist (you could ask for a referral to Dr. Richard Pearson, I think he can be seen at Barts) and including ringing the RSI Association.  You don’t include the physio in the list of treatments you have received. This seems a good place to start. But you may want to consider getting an all-round programme of ‘RSI management’ into place, including stretching, exercises, and probably some kind of postural re-training like Alexander or Pilates, and I highly recommend both yoga and swimming.

Although you need the bits of paper formally from consultants etc to get your employer to take the condition seriously as an industrial illness etc., the consultant is very unlikely to be the path to recovery or improvement. As is implied by your experiences: you see them once but presumably it’s been a dead end.

I also think it essential to check out voice recognition; this is an excellent way of making work possible, but not an entire remedy; and you might seek a referral to St Thomas’s Pain Management Clinic (INPUT) which teaches a holistic route to pain management.

Basically, get your RSI problem respectablised medically, but don’t look for a medical solution. It’s my sincere conviction after 7 years with the problem that it can be eased and relieved and managed by things one does, but that no medical treatment will make much difference. Other may differ but that’s my view. Good luck, you’ve obviously had a really difficult time, but have faith — it can get better!!

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