A day at the Rheumatologist’s – Manchester

Question: Hi all, thought you might be interested in my visit to the rheumatologist just last week. I was referred there by my GP who was actually very interested and accepting of RSI. He referred me for nerve induction testing – which I know from the postings in the group would show negative for RSI – but as it’s a first step along a process of elimination, I went along with it.  I went to Withington hospital in Manchester and was seen in very promptly by the consultant and a junior doctor who was learning the ropes.  That’s enough of the plus points…

The consultant didn’t ask me a single question about why I was there or what I was hoping to gain from the visit. He began by examining my left-arm and placing electrodes on the palm and at various points up my arm and then conducting a nerve induction test to see if there was any nerve damage. After around 10 minutes during which all the communication was between the consultant and the junior doctor, the consultant then proclaimed that any muscle wastage in my left arm was probably due to a motorcycle accident I had a couple of years ago which left me with restricted movement and consequently left me with a bias towards my right arm!

No shit Sherlock!  I then informed the consultant, in no uncertain terms, that he had misunderstood why I was here. That it was blatantly obvious why I have some muscle wastage in my left-arm; that I fully understood why there was wastage; that I was here about RSI; that it was particularly bad in my right hand etc. etc. After a look of surprise, he then conducted the same tests on my right arm and after a brief discussion on how to do the calculations, said that all was well (well how about that!) And then, THEN, asked me what I hoped from my visit after stating categorically that if I was involved in litigation, he couldn’t help.

I suggested that a cure for my complaint would be a good start after which he muttered there was little he could do before retiring to his office.  I can’t say I’m surprised as I’ve had similar NHS experiences to this before, but thought anyone living in Manchester may be interested – if you don’t want wasted morning I wouldn’t bother visiting a rheumatologist at Withington hospital!  If anyone can suggest anyone in the Manchester area whom it might be worth me visiting, I’d love to know. But for now I think I’ll have to stick to trying to sort things out for myself…

Answer: I also sympathize as I had much the same problem a few years ago while I was a student in Salford. When I had the nerve conduction tests it was done by the most obnoxious little turd ever. He didn’t say much but he asked me which hand was the worst. I said the left. He said he would do the right anyway. Hardly worth waiting three months for.  I then went and saw a rheumatologist who was not as bad but the first thing he said to me was “I better tell you that I don’t believe that computer keyboards cause RSI.” I got nowhere with him either.

It is difficult to complain though if you’re feeling down, and you really don’t know what exactly is wrong. It sad that people are still going through the same.  Obviously I can’t recommend anyone in and around the Manchester area based on my experiences. You might try the RSI Association as I’m sure that there is a local support group in the area. 0800 018 5012 They should be able to put you on the right path.

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