Pain in the Calf Muscle

Question: Can yeast infection cause pain in the calf muscle?

Answer 1: I discussed yeast infection with my GP and she seemed very open-minded on the idea. She said ‘It is accepted within the medical field that it’s an area that, being relatively new, is not fully understood. There is research that shows it could result in serious wide ranging health problems.’ There is no ‘simple blood test’ that is considered a satisfactory test. There are many potential tests and it is accepted that the test results may be inconclusive. She confirmed what I had read that diet is a key factor but said that successful treatment is dependant on diet and prescription (anti-fungal) medicines. Yogurt may help prevent the infection but it and probiotic supplements are too weak to treat it once established.
As regards the direct relevance of any body malfunction and RSI. I think we must accept that there can be a huge number of factors that can reduce our bodies’ ability to cope with repetitive strains. RSI is the resultant physical injury but the factors involved in the overload that caused the injury can be multifaceted and the factors involved in the best possible recovery are dependant on their identification and removal.
As has been mentioned by someone else: “as long as we bear in mind that we don’t know the answer. Or even whether there are any significant predisposing factors. As far as I know, no research has identified any. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any, but it does mean we don’t know the answer.” I agree but take the view that it is very likely that almost any malfunction/weakness will reduce the level that overload is reached and injury occurs and re-occurs. The nature of the problem must make proving significant pre-disposing factors almost impossible. Can you get animals to perform repetitive fine motor movements? If so they should use mice in these tests (that appeals to my instinct for revenge!!!).

Answer 2: I once had problems with candida that recurred again and again for ages — at least a couple of years — in spite of repeated courses of antifungals in every conceivable form. During that time I used yoghurt, both internally and externally, like it was going out of style, and also dosed myself with lactobacillus tablets, but it never had any effect. So my experience bears out what your doctor says, as far as yoghurt etc are concerned. While I had the candida problem, I had no other particular health problems. It certainly appeared to be limited to the known symptoms of thrush. But of course, this is only anecdotal. It was cleared up in the end by a brilliant homoeopath. He is in Manchester, if anyone wants his name.
Nothing has shown that there can be a huge number of factors that can reduce our bodies’ ability to cope with repetitive strains, and I suggest that it is not in the interests of people who suffer from RSI to argue that it *is* true, when there is no evidence to support that argument. It’s not as if it hasn’t been claimed before. Remember “eggshell personalities”? What is that but a predisposing factor? But because there is no evidence to show that people who get RSI are unhealthy before they get it, it’s gradually been accepted that it’s a mechanically caused injury. Please, let us not undermine that and take the ground out from under our own feet. I may sound as if I’m just being stubborn, but I think this is important. Saying that other factors reduce the body’s ability to cope with repetitive strains is only an inch away from saying “People in a normal state of health don’t get RSI” and that one leads right on to “Normal people don’t get RSI“. What happens to people’s compensation claims, their ill-health insurance, their entitlement to benefit, if RSI stops being accepted as a work-related condition? Already too many people are forced by their employers to take ill-health retirement when they get RSI, because it’s the cheapest way out for the employer. If RSI were to be seen as a manifestation of overall poor health, it would be very hard indeed to argue against that. It has not been shown to be the case that almost any malfunction/weakness will reduce the level that overload is reached and injury occurs and re-occurs. Nevertheless, it is not entirely impossible to prove significant pre-disposing factors. Several conditions have been shown to be due or partly due to previously unsuspected factors. Ulcers, for instance — some are now known to be caused or perpetuated by a bacterium (helicobacter pylori, I think). And some kinds of cancer are now known to be caused by viruses. So although the research may be difficult, it’s not impossible. And there are a lot of vested interests who would love to show that RSI is caused by something other than working conditions.

Answer 3: I may sound as if I’m just being stubborn, but I think this is important. Saying that other factors reduce the body’s ability to cope with repetitive strains is only an inch away from saying “People in a normal state of health don’t get RSI” and that one leads right on to “Normal people don’t get RSI“. Can both things not be true? I feel that some people just will never get any kind of RSI or RSI-like symptoms no matter how repetitive their job, how lowsy their workstation. My partner, for instance, writes programs all day long, slouches at his desk, you should see his mouse arm, it’s never close to his body, and yet he never seems to have any discomfort at all. Others may develop some symptoms after several years of use (my boss tells me after about 6 yrs of laptop use at home, he is experiencing some discomfort in his wrists – I ask you!), others, like myself, seemed to develop it after couple of years of intensive pc work, but since then, have discovered much that was wrong with our bodies / posture / lifestyle, that if we had been more aware of at the time, could have, if not completely avoided the condition, certainly controlled it. I frequently wonder what would have happened if, within the first couple of weeks of shoulder pain, I had gone to my Alexander Technique guy, taken time off work, and dedicated some time to getting to know my body. Instead I soldiered on for months, and when forced to take time off, spent time ‘resting’ (translate that as sitting around getting depressed).  So I have mixed feelings about this. That’s probably not very helpful, I know, but we only have our gut feelings to go on, I suppose.

Answer 4: The UCL research found measurable effects even in those who didn’t show symptoms of RSI. The study didn’t go on long enough to be able to predict whether everyone would sooner or later develop symptoms, but as you say, it does seem that some people don’t, in spite of poor posture. What I would say is that we don’t know the reason for this — and only a verifiable, statistically significant explanation will do. By all means — posture *has* been shown to be a contributing factor, which is why it’s stressed that workstations have to be set up in a way that allows a natural posture to be adopted, and that training is supposed to be provided. I think the things you mention mostly come under the heading of “not continuing to cause damage”. I can’t explain why some people develop symptoms and others don’t. As far as I know, no one has explained this, so far. But the incidence of RSI does go up, the worse the working conditions, which is why it’s accepted that that’s the one common factor, the one identifiable cause. (Which doesn’t mean that someone can’t get RSI unless the working conditions or overuse reach certain predetermined levels — it just means that once those things *do* get to certain levels, the incidence of RSI rises steadily.) Gut feelings in our own individual cases, and no doubt we each try all sorts of things hoping to find something that will work. But where RSI as a whole is concerned I’d argue that we have to rely on what’s been solidly established, and treat other theories, however interesting or intriguing, as still theoretical. Because the implications of RSI are not purely personal.

Answer 5: Just to remind you all that THE LAW says that it is not relevant whether you have a predisposition to RSI or not, your employer must protect you (yes I can hear the hollow laughter).

Answer 6: It is also true that some people can smoke 80 cigarettes a day without ever getting lung cancer in the whole of their (very long) lives. Moreover, if we rely on aggregate statistics — *don’t* — then we might as well smoke 20 cigarettes a day as only one quarter of people who do that ever get lung cancer etc… And yet the cigarette companies are paying *millions*in compensation — and quite right too — for their sins of omission and commission in past years. Why? Because cigarettes contain a carcinogen.
Incidentally there is one shown “additional cause”: people who type X hours *in a stressful working environment* are significantly more likely to get RSI than people who type X hours *in a non-stressful working environment*. The implications of RSI are profoundly political, and they are collective. I know overwork caused my condition. I am not just deluding myself or ignoring any other factor: if anyone here is open to suggestions that anxiety or depression or stress (their own) caused their RSI, I am. But my GP, who knows that, did not suggest it. He has never suggested anything but physical treatment for it. He did not and does not think it appropriate that I return to the psychiatrist I stopped seeing some while before I got it. He said in a letter to my employers that “having to type” made it return. There is a possible contributory factor in De Q’s, rheumatoid arthritis. The hospital checked for that and other things (I didn’t ask what): negative. Someone suggested I might have AMT (the posture/stress one: I *slouch* and I *slump*): an expert tested me thoroughly: negative. (That isn’t that surprising, I do slouch and slump but I choose my mattresses and chairs with care, I have taken relaxation classes [to find that they were unnecessary, but the teacher wanted to work with me anyway so we went on a creative visualization “journey”], I have done yoga… and as I write this, I lean back — spontaneously — into what I now know is a Feldenkrais posture.)
Many things may well have helped many people here but the urgent thing to do — if we can — is to convince people that RSI is (to quote a feminist poet writing about something else) “shared, unnecessary, and political”.

Answer 7: The yoghurt has to be live. (I would use anti-fungals, yes, and live yoghurt too. Live yoghurt is a good idea anyway — I must start making it again.) I had an *amazing* immune system — just good luck — until I got too overworked. (That was quite a while before I got RSI.) Not taking antibiotics helps — but so does not being overworked. Rest is important. People in the US know this country’s overworking its workers, and stress-related illnesses are soaring as a result. I believe in Chinese acupuncture and live yoghurt and wholefoods: I know the history of medicine is littered with instances of people being right and being ignored (cancer, viral causes of, e.g.). I also know typing too much damages people’s hands. It is also true that reducing the overload would reduce the instances of injury — now why not take that path?!

Answer 8: That is why I’m off work because my employer is waiting to install this footpedal (going in on Tuesday for p.a.c.t assessment).

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