Overy from RSI

Question: Is anyone else in this group actually getting better (and I mean on the way to a complete recovery here, not minor improvements and temporary good spells)? If you are, could you please send me details of what treatment you are using? I am particularly interested in cases of diffuse RSI.

Answer 1: Jerry – Kate here. I have diffused RSI. I can’t say that I am making a full recovery, but I feel I have the potential to make a near full recovery, if it not for having to continue in the same kind of job that caused it in the first place (secretary/admin). About a month ago, after having months of physio, taking up running, doing stretches, receiving aromatherapy massage and taking lots of hot baths, I started to feel relatively normal. I was able to pick things up, do cooking etc without thinking too much about it. Then I got over ambitious and moved a cupboard by myself and I am back to how I was a few months ago – extreme tension in the shoulders, pain etc. So I have to start all over, but at least I know the techniques that helped in the first place. I have started swimming which seems to help the wrists and hands, and am continuing with running, physio and baths, massage. It is the combination of approaches that seems to help. I also use a tennis ball against the wall to massage tense bits in shoulders/back.

Answer 2: Hi – you may have noticed that these days I say: Today’s RSI is <ok> or nothing at all. Hooray for me. I don’t want to go on (today’s typing allowance almost up) so I’ll cut to the chase:
– been doing computer type stuff for years
– ever since Wham! were in the charts …
– 2-3 years RSI sufferer (that is, conscious of it)
– some *really* bad times
– sometimes I used to ignore it
– vainly hope it would go away by Monday
– painkillers no good
– crap doctors/NHS
– no clear diagnosis – I guess it was “diffuse”
– physio marginal
– no other therapies tried (yet – considering massage/chiro)
– off work for ages – but supportive environment
– back at work now though
– stretching – ok/good
– yoga – good for soul – some postures bad for wrists, need care
– been going to gym for few months now
– I think this helps me
– strengthens postural/ accessory muscles
– change of duties at work
– less project management (big stress), more teaching
– absolutely zero programming (boo hiss)
– using voice software for big jobs
– can be source of frustration in itself
– but definitely wouldn’t be without it now
– use common sense to avoid so many little jobs
– e.g. use the phone rather than email
– nowadays I’m on the road to recovery
– I even put a shelf up last weekend
– and swept up some leaves!
– As long as I remember what did it in the first place.

Answer 3: My RSI (diffuse I guess) has reduced a lot over the last year although not gone away completely. My symptoms at their worst (nowhere near as bad as others I think) included numbness and tingling in little finger and third finger and heel of hand, prickly sensations across back of hand and some aching of forearm & wrist. Also very sharp pains if I knock fingers sideways (e.g. when they stick to banisters!). Plus lots of neck / upper back / shoulder stiffness and pain (for years really), which I now consider part of what is going on with RSI. I still have the latter but my hand / arm stuff has reduced greatly. Oh – and lots of very tender, bruised-feeling spots e.g. outside of shoulders, on side of torso around where bra strap would go – do other people get these?  I too have tried a number of things:

  • New chair – fantastic but very expensive. I am lucky to have good employers.
  • New mouse – Contour – expensive and I am not over impressed. I find it hard to make myself use it in the recommended way.
  • Pilates – haven’t been for a while but I found this good – helped my back feel more normal and seemed very safe. Worth a try anyway.
  • Massage – wonderful, really helped ease tightness across shoulders. Again, I haven’t been for ages and I can feel it all coming back.
  • BANNED FROM COMPUTER GAMES and also limited surfing – sadly (well not really) I think this is probably by far the biggest impact on my improvement. If I use the mouse a lot, I can feel my hands getting worse. I recently had 3 weeks off (Florida holiday – sigh!) and as soon as I got back I could feel it starting.
  • Ortho pillow – very good at easing neck stuff and encouraging me to sleep in a non-arm-trapping way. I’ve recently donated it to my mum and I really miss it (new one on order!). Harley Designer Pillow if anyone interested.

Like others, I think I am getting *some* benefit from all of these but would be hard pushed to single one out as the most effective except to reiterate stopping the thing that has caused it (if you can identify it and if possible given that it is mostly our jobs that have done it). I am resigned to being careful about how I sit, relaxing my posture, etc. etc. Sorry to have gone on a bit.

Answer 4: I think you’ve summarized pretty well what most people seem to find, i.e. (as you see, I’m going to summarize it all over again!)

  • combining lots of different approaches seems to work best
  • essential to remove the cause as far as possible

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say “I’m fully recovered from RSI, it’s as if I had never had it” but I’ve heard quite a lot say that they’ve recovered sufficiently (and learned enough about how to be careful) so that it’s no longer a big problem to them. Flare-ups can always happen, though.

Answer 5: At times I feel I am getting better.

Answer 6: I feel my hands have recovered a lot of their strength, due partly to rest, and partly I think to using Flex tend gloves (I recently posted a fairly long mailing about them, what they looked like, and how you used them. I did stress the gloves were VERY expensive, and might not suit everybody, though.

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