Question: I’ve had RSI now for about 6 months with no sign of it getting better despite completely staying away from keyboard and mouse. Everything I do with my hands, including writing, makes it worse – pain only eases if I have a couple of days doing absolutely nothing with my hands. (Both hands are bad now.) I’m still trying to finish my degree but feel like it may not be possible. Physio so far doesn’t seem to be helping. Went back to GP and she said she will refer me to a consultant. Neurologist? Does anyone know of any appropriate RSI specialists I could ask to be referred to? And what can they do anyway? (I.e. is it worth it?) It seems from what I’ve read that acupuncture, Alexander Technique, swimming and yoga can all help. Any other suggestions? P.S. What is Pilates? And how do you pronounce it?
Answer 1: A student I knew got RSI from writing too much — it can happen; I got it from computing but writing hurts me too, quite badly. The student took a year off, with the department’s full support, even before we had the diagnosis (tenosynovitis). That would be ideal as would seeing a rheumatologist — here, anyway, people with RSI are referred to a consultant rheumatologist who can (don’t worry) carry out tests to eliminate other possibilities. (As they will but apparently they have to do it.) The other option is to dictate your exams and have them transcribed by the University — they would then be read back to you to check, in an informal setting — or have someone write them for you as you speak. If your Department hasn’t done this kind of thing, see your University (College)’s Disability Adviser.
PILLAHTAYS (!) — It’s expensive. I’d suggest (some) yoga, maybe t’ai chi. Swimming: it isn’t necessarily that good. Only backstroke is good for me. But you’ll find people do disagree on this.
Answer 2: You don’t say what the Physio has been doing or what the pain in your hands are – aching or tingling? Is the Physio treating you for ANT/AMT by stretching/twisting your arms? Are you doing stretches at home? Are you being treated for trigger points? Both can cause diffuse aching of the arms/hands. Just using ultrasound won’t have much effect. Try massage (done by someone else, not yourself.) The consultants to see for RSI are Neurologists (nerve specialist) and Rheumatologists (soft tissue aches and pains – they also run the pain clinics)
Answer 3: On consultants. I agree with whoever said go to a rheumatologist. Apart from this, you might like to consider pain management, which is done at St Thomas’s Hospital under a programme called INPUT run by Dr. Charles Pither; there are some others in the country. This can help a lot if you don’t have the kind of condition which is diagnosable and treatable by the rheumatologist. I didn’t think acupuncture helped. Swimming and yoga are extremely effective, and massage therapy helps me a lot too. Alexander or one of the other postural realignments programmes definitely good too. It is a question of trying gentle exercising and stretching regimes along with professional advice from those with experience of RSI to find out what works for you. In the meantime, hope you manage to complete your degree by the ways suggested by others, voice recognition software included. If you can give your arms/hands a break until you have got a regime going which helps them, then you can get better. Start by going swimming or going for a walk with your arms loose and swinging, every day.