RSI and Visits to the Dentist

Question: I have three points I wish to ask RSI support group:

1) Since having RSI from my left hand right up through shoulders, upper chest and neck, I find having to sit on the dentist chair tiring after about 10mn, especially when I have to tilt my head a bit more backward and to the right towards the dentist so that he can check my teeth. I feel quite a lot of stretching (as if the flesh on the left hand side of the neck -my worst side- is about to tear, then going down the clavicle and towards under my left arm. Then it would be impossible for me to stay any longer in that position as it becomes painful and disables me for a whole day or two. What is the group’s experience about this situation?

2) Also I have become very sensitive to vibrations, i.e. to my left wrist (during a check up at the physio), or sitting in a car, etc. I am wondering if I will be able to go through the dentist drill as I have to go for a filling this week.

3) Third, while suffering from RSD up until last October, my body reacted badly if I had an injection (both reacting from the medicine itself and from the fact that the needle had to pierce either my leg or arm). But that was because with RSD my body became ultra sensitive to any stimuli, i.e. even a draft on my hand or arm would create a BIG pain such as broken bone pain. Now RSD is gone and I am left with RSI. I always need an injection for a filling and this is the first one since my RSD and I don’t know how I am going to react. Is it possible for someone with RSI to react to injection, i.e. suffered bad pains afterwards during the day or felt sick and wanting to lie down, or weak/faint, or any other reactions that may have occurred?

Any help/past experiences would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Answer 1: I’ve had this problem – especially with work on the back teeth, when the dentist needs my head right back. I now take with me my foam back-roll, and put it under my neck – it has just the right curve to really support my whole neck in the right position, so there’s no muscular strain at all.

Answer 2: I often have a mild form of this. Normally relieved by having the shoulder/neck massaged. Get your physio to check it out – look for trigger points etc. The test physios do for ANT will stretch this part of the body as well. I do find that I get a stiff neck after having a filling due to having to hold your head in one position and the stress of having a filling. Do you need the injection? If it is a small filling try it without. I find the pain from having the needle stuck in my gums is worse than the slight discomfort from the drill for small fillings. I sometimes feel weak/faint whilst having the filling done, but only because of a fear of needles! (A bad experience in the past involving my wisdom teeth, local anesthesia and a pair of pliers) One of the findings of Jane Greenings research was that RSI sufferers were sensitive to large vibrations on their arms or hands. I always suffer from tingling in my hands after holding anything that vibrates – hair dryer, most power tools, even the car steering wheel if the tyres aren’t balanced properly.

Answer 3: I remember about 20 years ago I had to go to a dentist for a filling for the first time and he frightened the life out of me. I discovered he had been a dentist in the army (I’m not saying they are all like that) and believe you me he treated the civilians in the same way – Short, sharp drilling shock, no frills, to the point or shall I say, to the hole! Since that time I avoided dentists like the plague until one day, pain in one tooth forced me to see a dentist. To cut a long story short I found one who specialises in painless dentistry in my area and helped me regained confidence, at least, in him. He numbs the gum locally first before inserting the needle so you don’t feel a thing. Talking about RSI, if I don’t have an injection first, the vibration of the drill is felt too much and I jump with the reflex and panic of course, and I can’t stand it. Thank you for your email, I’ll ask the dentist to be as quick as possible and try to relax my neck afterwards somehow.

Answer 4: Did you make the foam back roll yourself or did you buy it somewhere? Perhaps I can try it too.

Answer 5: I bought it – they’re quite common, but I can’t recall who makes them! There’s a back care shop near here which has all sorts of such things. It’s high-density foam – not squashy – and made to put at belt-level at your back to maintain good posture. Boots, or similar, probably have catalogues with them in . . . or maybe try a ‘back care’ web search.


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