RSI-my experiences

I know this is going to sound like common sense, but I have found that eating a good diet, exercising regularly, drinking in moderation, and being aware of your condition is a great boon to recovery. My name is Graeme, 29, and I am a Mac Operator. I started experiencing pains almost two years ago. I was changing jobs and feared not being able to do my job properly. My doctor did the usual – took an X-Ray (Normal), sent me to the Physio (wrist supports), took a blood sample (Normal) and prescribed painkillers (Ibuprofen). The painkillers didn’t work and the wrist supports helped only marginally (they did stink after a while). By now I was getting depressed as I had just bought a house and was getting married in a year. The thought of losing a job and feeling like you will lose your house won’t be able to work again is crushing. The pains were coming and going, sometimes more intense than other times, sometimes in my arms, my hands and my wrists. It wasn’t something I felt able to explain properly. There was no rhyme or reason to it. I had to switch from using a mouse with my right hand, to my left (which I still have to do despite suffering pains in my left also). My doctor prescribes stronger painkillers which still didn’t work, and only through continual harassing was referred to a hand specialist which would be in 8 months.

I am from Glasgow and if anyone has been referred to the only hand specialist (apparently) in Scotland, then you will know that it is pointless. After 8 months waiting, he tried to palm me off in less than 4 minutes saying that he couldn’t see anything wrong and that I would have to live with it. This was all done in a manner that can only be described as rude. I wasn’t going to accept this and demanded to have all avenues checked. So grudgingly I was given an appointment for an MRI scan – 6 months later. By now I had resigned myself to not being helped by the medical profession and took up alternative treatment in the form of a night class in – The Alexander Technique. This did help. Becoming more aware of your posture and ways of working, and learning relaxing techniques helped. I do believe that part of this condition is psychological. Needless to say, the MRI scan was normal. I was then referred to a rheumatologist. Again, they didn’t know what was wrong, took another X-Ray (normal) and suggested forms of self-treatment and pain management. I didn’t get any treatment or diagnosis but did feel better talking with them. They actually seemed genuinely concerned. I was given an appointment to see them in another year. I can’t afford private treatment.

This is where I am at the moment, two years down the line. I still get the pains regularly but seem to be keeping a control of them. My condition hasn’t got seriously worse, but it hasn’t got better either. The best treatment I have is trying not to carry heavy things, or putting excess pressure on my wrists. Being aware that I am stressing myself and trying to relax or stop doing the things that I am doing. I take the bus to work, as driving makes things worse, and I put my shopping in a rucksack, carried over both shoulders. I drink at least 2 litres of water a day, walk as much as I can and play football once a week. I realise that I won’t be able to play ten pin bowling very often, do heavy lifting or many other physical activities, which is a shame considering how active I would like to be. I am lucky that I have an understanding wife, a laid-back positive demeanor and a job that is not too stressful. It is difficult to imagine 30 more years of working with the pain but hopefully treatments are going to get better, doctors more sympathetic and computers more user friendly. Sorry to have prattled on, but please try to keep spirits high and a positive outlook. It’s only a matter of time when the research will be done and solutions will be found. Thousands of sufferers can’t be wrong. I’m away to try acupuncture.

Comment 1: I know what it is to waste time on treatments that don’t work. For a proper description of the cause of your problems go to No need to buy the book – the info there gets to the core of the problem. Get an experienced sports physio to stretch the muscles (sore – but stick with it) and give you stretching exercises. This treatment is the one that works for computer related RSI. Good Luck.

Comment 2: There are useful points made there, certainly. But

  1. Points about over diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome are far more relevant to the US than the UK
  2. It’s unclear to me that my “RSI” (tenosynovitis) is included (even though it’s mentioned), any more than carpal tunnel is
  3. The site says (extract from the book?– pages written by the authors):

Well… sometimes one treats the symptoms, sometimes one addresses the cause/source. I’d say that read with care, these comments are OK. The first is probably the dangerous one: my tenosynovitis is I would have said a result, it has symptoms that can be treated, it had causes that could have been addressed, and so on. My doctor addressed both causes and symptoms, but not his fault unable to override a recalcitrant employer, and too late. I am using myself as an example; many other people here could say the same or worse. Many members of this list will be in the same position as I whether they have “diffuse” or “localized” RSI. I doubt there is any one treatment that works for all who have a given form of RSI. (I rather liked this site, I simply suggest it be approached with care.)

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