I suspect I may have RSI

Question: I suspect I may have RSI. My wife has said for a while she thinks it is. Working hrs 7:00am-7:00-8:00pm usually no breaks and usually a bit more time when I get home.

  • Started approximately 8 months ago.
  • Left leg getting numb an awful feeling then followed by pain in the calf muscle.
  • Left arm going numb and tingling a feeling like it was electrically charged.
  • Just recently my right arm has started also.

Saw the doctor before Christmas hadn’t a clue what was wrong sent me to see a Neuro Consultant I have had a brain scan first. Nothing found wrong the consultant put me on Quinine sulphate tablets. I had ringing in the ears a side effect with these tablets. I stopped taking the tablets symptoms returned within 4 days back on the tablets now but it takes approx 4 days for the tablets to kick in.

Answer 1: Do you use foot pedals at work, or does your work involve intensive use of your left leg in any way? RSI symptoms usually affect the upper limbs (which are those most often involved in repetitive motion in an overall static posture). So your arm symptoms might well fit a picture of RSI but the leg symptoms are unusual.  Also, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone mention that quinine tablets made RSI symptoms go away. So if they are effective with your symptoms that too seem to suggest that the cause may not be RSI. I think you should press your doctor quite hard for a diagnosis. What did he have in mind when he prescribed the quinine? And by the way, please be sure to take breaks at work. Even if you don’t have RSI now, you don’t want to come down with it.

Answer 2: A thought – when I go to my osteopath to fix my wonky back, he usually asks if I’ve had any pain in my legs (and sometimes I have – I think it’s something to do with pressure on the sciatic nerve in my case.). Do you get back pain at all? Or maybe something about the way your back is held as you sit is affecting nerves which end up in your legs. Might be an avenue worth pursuing with a doctor / osteopath / chiropractor etc… It seems quite common that people don’t just have one single cause and effect RSI-type problem – there can be a number of factors which cause aches and pains of different types at once!

Answer 3: Er well, excuse me, but I beg to differ on this one. I’ve had and am having lots of leg and ankle pains through the years, and one time even unable to walk … there mostly is a RSI relationship between upper limb and lower limbs disorders… eventually. It is a chain reaction, and once one part of you is off kilter, well, it’s only a matter of time before other stuff creeps in. Sorry, can’t be more specific, but there is definitely a relationship, and you don’t have to be using pedals or doing anything repetitive with your feet to get this, though I did have to stop exercising for a while (which wasn’t hard since I couldn’t walk!) and get new shoes (trainers) because the support of the old ones had “expired”. It is a combination of many things, including one’s anatomy (inequality in leg length, say), one’s gait, etc. etc. I am not qualified to advise but it is to do with the body compensating for other parts now not functioning

In my case, it led from the JAW problems I was having (still have). Affected the way I held my body. Just threw that in case that rings a bell with you. The same jaw problem (TMJ) can be an RSI, though in my case it was brought on by a whiplash. Ralph Strauch on Sore hand mailing list was most helpful to me on the ankle/leg issue (he has website). Also Physiotherapists know all about it and can give you exercises pronto. Good luck, Paul, in your medical quest, it is not something to be trifled with. We take our legs and feet for granted, until they let us down (or not down).

Answer 4: I’m sorry if my comments upset you, and sorry to hear about your leg problems. I agree that sometimes when things are wrong in one part of the body; it can seem to set off a kind of chain reaction. I don’t know what the cause of this is, but I do know that when I was caught up in that it felt as if it was never going to stop. I’ve wondered whether it might be to do with the immune system. Everybody has a different experience of RSI, and only the person who’s going through it knows what it’s like for them. There are few things more infuriating than someone declaring “You can’t possibly have such-and-such” when you have good reason to know that that’s exactly what you have got. I hope that that was not what I was doing. I do think it would be unusual (in the sense of not often reported on this list, or mentioned in books about RSI) for RSI symptoms to appear first in the lower limbs, unless the person had been using the lower limbs in the manner that tends to lead to such injuries.

If it starts in the legs, I personally think it would be unwise to assume that the cause is RSI until all other possible explanations have been ruled out. If it’s possible that the cause is something quite different, it’s clearly important to get it diagnosed correctly, to get the right treatment. I don’t know much, or indeed anything, about TMJ. When you say that yours came from a whiplash injury, but it could also be a type of RSI – would this be something that might affect someone who was using voice recognition, for instance? Or is it to do with the way you chew? I seem to remember reading somewhere that if the teeth don’t close together properly it can lead to headaches. Is this the same thing as TMJ?

Answer 5: Thanks for your response, an Indian head massage sounds interesting, do you know if other alternative remedies like acupuncture and reflexology are worth
looking into?

Answer 6: I’ve heard that reflexology can be useful, if the practitioner has studied that technique. Worth trying – if only for the pleasure aspect!

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