Question: I have been quietly observing all the discussions recently, and I wonder how certain individuals who apparently mock this totally disabling illness would explain sudden pains that I get? Yesterday was a very bad day for me, and I spent most of it doing absolutely nothing. Some days are better than others, but yesterday I bought a magazine, and I couldn’t even turn the pages to read it. In the afternoon I decided to look at a microfiche (as I have my own reader at home.) I was putting it in the slide tray, when I screamed out in pain. My wife came over to see what was wrong, and I told her that I had just had an “electric-shock” that had emanated from my middle and ring fingers of my left hand. It had travelled up my left arm and was gone. It was extremely painful, and there was no warning. This is only one of dozens of symptoms I have. I would hardly describe this as Psychosomatic. I can’t type any more as it makes me feel sick.

Answer 1: I haven’t done more than skim those but then, people like that would have to say my GP and the local Consultant are mad too. I have milder versions of that, when it hurts to read the paper, quite often. Voice software can’t carry the whole load; voice software and _taping_ and my employers giving me forms on disk (etc.) can’t either. I suspect your attacks are related to hand use you haven’t really noticed. My equivalent of that — I haven’t had it for a while, thank goodness is when I open a door by twisting the doorknob (and my wrist). I imagine everyone with RSI knows that awful feeling. It was more localized than yours but since then, I have had pains that spread further.  _Psychosomatic_ is causing unnecessary distress. (My London GPs didn’t like the word.) The mind affects the body and the body affects the mind. I doubt many people actually have RSI caused by the mind! — it was originally called overuse and overwork syndrome, and it seems to me to be physical; but like my bad back, caused by a fall to be a condition where body and mind can interact. That is true also of influenza, e.g. I am sorry you have to put up with that kind of stuff. I recommend the BMA Guide to Family Health or is it their Dictionary of Symptoms? And Pascarelli/Quilter, RSI, A Computer User’s Guide; look especially at the “dealing with cruel and insensitive colleagues” section.

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