RSI Support Groups

Question:  I’m new to RSI. I’ve been on sorehand for a couple of days. I’m in the Newbury area and wondered if there are any rsi support groups operating here. Also looking to find any pain management clinics in Berkshire or even London.

Answer 1:  The RSI Association maintains a list of local support groups, and can put you in touch with the one nearest you. The RSIA‘s address and phone number are on the RSI-UK web page under UK Resources — also some information about pain management clinics. The clinic at St Thomas’s in London does a lot of work with people with RSI, but I believe there is a long waiting list.
But in any case, if you’ve only recently developed RSI symptoms, a pain management clinic is not really what you need. The clinics do what the name suggests — they help people learn to manage pain so that they can get on with their lives in spite of it. There are lots of things to try before getting to that stage, first and most important one being rest. The RSIA produce an extremely useful information pack, also there are some excellent books around with good advice about exercises and work habits and self-help methods of pain relief. Some of them are listed on the web page, and I think the RSIA also produces a book list. A local support group may be able to tell you which doctors and physios in your area are good on RSI.

Answer 2:  Hello, I’m new to the list and wondering if there are any other post-menopausal women out there with similar problems to me?!* I’ve been having physiotherapy at my GP surgery twice weekly since April for ongoing problems on my right side: carpal tunnel/RSI, pain in my hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, neck, neuralgia down side of face, headaches etc. Not having any success though – in fact the acupuncture she tried on me made it all 100 times worse! The physio doesn’t seem to know what to do next, so has suggested I see another physio at my local hospital who she says has more experience of these things. I’ve also got an NHS appointment on 16 July to see a consultant rheumatologist about having a repeat DXA bone scan (2yrs since last one) for my osteopenia (mild osteoporosis). This is a direct result of surgical menopause (had a hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy in 1994 aged 31yrs old) and not being able to take oestrogen because of endometriosis recurrence.
Does anyone know of any literature/websites that mention a link between surgical menopause and all these RSI type problems I’ve been having? I’m reading a book entitled, “Fibromyalgia & Muscle Pain” by Leon Chaitow and some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia and myofascial pain sound very similar to what I’m experiencing at the moment. I would be most grateful for any information anyone could give me.

Answer 3:  This sounds to me like the problem could be in your neck… trapped nerves at some of the exits? From what I can remember of human biology, some of the nerves for the face leave the spine some way down the neck and go back up to the areas they innervate. I don’t know whether osteopenia could account for this, but it sounds plausible — bone problems in the spine can affect nerves. (Also, I gather spinal muscles can tense up to make up for bone weakness, and they could press on nerves.)

Answer 4:  It might be worthwhile seeing a Chiropractor or Osteopath to get your neck checked out. Also look into improving your posture, try the Alexander Technique (see the RSI-UK web site for contact info) or find a physio who has a great interest in correcting people’s posture.

Answer 5:  Hi, just wanted to add my piece as a new subscriber to the mailing list. I’ve been having symptoms since 1994 (GP diagnosed tennis elbow, cervical spine probes and possible CTS) and have been working in the IT department of my company since 1988 – long before we were all using Windows and mice. I was on the IT Helpdesk for 8 years through the introduction of windows software and so the mouse and on from there and ended up being the only person responsible for logging and dealing with most of around 150 calls a week. Lots of mouse use, under a lot of stress and in a cramped work area causing numerous problems – pain in wrist, hand, elbow, neck. A Workstation Assessment in 1996 diagnosed me as medium risk for RSI and at that time the company decided that, due to cost factors, they would only target high risk people for attention! Of course, the medium riskers became high risk before too long.
I moved off the Helpdesk (after what’s known as Helpdesk Burn Out!) and into an IT administration position which I thought would help but, due to the introduction of lots of databases, made matters worse. I have had to spend the last three years inputting in databases and e-mailing throughout the company. At the beginning of 1998 things finally took their toll with the the injury moving to swelling in my neck, spine problems and frozen shoulder/painful arc syndrome in addition to wrist and elbow problems. I saw a rheumatologist twice through my company health scheme who advised I reduce PC work to less than 60% of my time. My employers were sympathetic and did so but unfortunately other things take over and I found myself back to 90% of time on the PC. (You all know how difficult it is to say you can’t do things.) I had intensive physio but although this helped, I was still working on a PC and so the problems continued. Also had cortisone injections in my shoulder. I was given IBM ViaVoice speech rec software but it’s impossible to use in the package we have with the databases – ok for just text like this.
In April of this year I was referred to another rheumatologist who thought I had RSI and advised I saw the infamous Dr Pearson in Harley St (first meeting very polite and pleasant but very rude when I telephoned him a few weeks later!). My company paid for this and his diagnosis was region pain disorder and recommended the INPUT clinic. He advised I would only be able to work on a pc for less than 10% of my time (max – preferably none) but didn’t put this in the letter to my company doctor. The company doc also didn’t understand that region pain disorder is RSI. I have been referred to a Pain Clinic locally rather than INPUT as it is I think too intensive and they gave me a TENS which has helped at the time of working but as I feel I can do more once it’s on, find I do so and am then worse once the machine is off. They also recommend acupuncture and clinical psychology.
In May this year I was told that I, amongst many others in a company restructuring was to be made redundant in January 2000 after 20 years with my company. Although we have a Redeployment Centre set up, my future employment prospects are, I think, bleak and I will need some sort of retraining. I’m now fighting the company to try and get this retraining and some sort of secure future for myself. I feel they think I’m playing on my condition because of the redundancy. They don’t appear to take this seriously. I refuse to be thrown out without some sort of security. Luckily I’m a member of the Union and they will be able to help me hopefully.
Foolishly I have had very little time off sick due to the injury and have worked in pain mostly. I don’t like to let down my colleagues and, as I feel slightly better after resting overnight, feel a bit of a fraud if I’m off. Of course, once I start work the pain all comes back.I have today received a copy of a letter from my second consultant to the company doctor (they wrote to check his diagnosis) and he has told them I have RSI, should not work on a PC again or do anything where I may need to write, and I need retraining. Hopefully they may now take it more seriously.Sorry this is so long but I understand that it’s best to put everything down first time.Any advice/other similar experiences greatly appreciated. I want to get back on the road to recovery once I don’t have to use a PC again and would welcome hearing about other such experiences.

Answer 6:  I fell over a couple of months ago, and used my arms to stop me falling. Since then I’ve had some pain in my wrists. I saw the doctor who said I had an inflamed tendon, and some RSI. I’m a software developer by trade and so the RSI isn’t that much of a shock, I have probably had some symptoms for quite a while, but this additional pain has made them more noticeable. Since this diagnosis I’ve bought a MS Natural Pro keyboard (which my company are going to reimburse me for) and am getting used to that. I’m trying to take more notice of how I sit whilst working,and I know I slouch. Our desk furniture is very poor, chairs without proper support etc. Difficult to be comfortable. What is the law about this? The Doctor suggested buying a splint for my wrist to use whilst working. Unfortunately, none of the chemists I’ve visited stock such things. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Answer 7:  I’m new to this. I haven’t yet been officially diagnosed as an RSI sufferer, but I know that I am. I have pains in both wrists – worst in my right hand which uses the mouse. What I was wondering is this – is RSI something that will get progressively worse if I carry on doing the same job (even if the tools of the trade are changed around). Once you have RSI, is it never going to go away, is it something that you have to learn to live with? I am thinking that I should get away from office work and try something else and I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has any views on this.

Answer 8:  I am using a great piece of software called RSIGuard Check out their website http://www.rsiguard.com/. You can download an evaluation version from their site. It allows you to set control keys for mouse actions and does auto click on an active control (if you want) whenever you stop moving the cursor. In an extended version it also stops you working with the mouse at given intervals and prompts you with exercises. As typing is not such a problem, a rest from the mouse has improved my RSI problem quite a bit.

Answer 9:  Has anybody had any success with a mouse? I have tried trackballs and touchpads but they are making me worse again……… I know they are all a nightmare!

Answer 10:  have had RSI for 2 years and must say that I think that once you have it, it is worth considering other types of work. I am an editor and writer and so very computer-based. I have changed my work set-up, seen a chiropractor and outsourced lots of typing, but the RSI has not gone. I am sure for some people with mild RSI, a few measures may sort things out but for others, I think it is worth thinking long-term and finding work with less computer use. I, like most people, started with some symptoms (right hand/shoulder) and now use a tracker ball in my left hand. However, I do now get pains in my left hand and in general, it takes less computer work for me to get symptoms. I am going to train to be a secondary school teacher next year (which will have a bit of computer use, but not as much as now). RSI is poorly understood and in general, people think a new mouse or similar will sort it out, but in my opinion, it is an underlying injury and is best taken seriously.

Answer 11:  These words could have been mine a while ago, but I was diagnosed 5 months ago, (nearly 2 years after symptoms started to occur) and have been making a very rapid recovery with physio and lots of very hard work. Stretching, muscle toning of the upper back and learning how to stand and sit properly again. I do, at least half an hour every morning and stretch during the day. I now have no pain in my wrists during the day in the office but I still have to be careful lifting heavy items and DIY etc. I do believe though, that this time next year I will have forgotten all about the horrible episode in my life. Thanks mainly to my physio. Don’t give up and leave work before you get treatment.

Answer 12:  Absolutely. Catch it early, get it treated (osteopathy and swimming are working for me), and make sure your posture’s right to stop it returning. This means a good supportive chair, keep everything close to you, footrest, memo holder, screen stand, ergonomic keyboard…. but most of all, your own muscles. Get them toned and trained in a ‘good’ position (ie keep the spine lined up with a nice curve, no slouching, leaning or reaching). There are people who’ve modified their movements and stayed in their jobs, and there are people for whom that hasn’t been enough – only you can tell. But you will have to modify something

Answer 13:  I have had RSI symptoms for about 18 months now. When first diagnosed I had the full treatment – new chair, keyboard, voice recognition etc. What I didn’t do was listen to my body and take time off work when I should have. I have worked through the pain, subsequently taken 5 months off work, had various treatments etc. and nothing has worked 100%. I am told that it will take 12 months for the pain to disappear, then another 18 months – 2 years to build up resistance to it coming back. However, I am skeptical, as rough treatment by the physio last week has brought the pain back how it was 5 months ago. However, a guy who worked for me started with mild pain (I advised him it was due to him leaning over and reaching for his mouse). I told him how to sit correctly and he had physio immediately. Within a few weeks, his symptoms cleared altogether. Anyone new to the list – please get it seen to as soon as you can – the longer you ignore it – the harder it becomes to treat. I say this in the hope that at least one less person will develop full blown symptoms. We are far too conscientious workers!!! Imho

Answer 14:  For me the thing that stopped the progression of rsi is exercise. for the last 2 1/2 years, I’ve done 20-45 mins of exercises (almost) every day. I believe that it’s absolutely essential to counteract the long hours of immobility and bad circulation with as much physical exercise as possible. Obviously it is hard sometimes to get up the motivation and make the time, but I’m much better when I do it regularly. I had a physiotherapist show me some exercises and I found loads of stuff on the net, search for desk stretches, for example. Swimming is good as well – with goggles!

Answer 15:  I believe we will always have RSI because we have weakened our muscles etc But do not fear!! STOP doing what makes it hurt I didn’t have to give up work – I did however have a very unsupportive company who did the absolute minimum I started to do a lot of things manually and my mental arithmetic became red hot!! I couldn’t hold a pen this time last year. I bought books, joined RSI UK, did a lot of soul searching to get me through I joined a Pilates group – even though I had to sit out half the exercises! I started physio twice a week AND followed their exercise and stretching plans for me. Once the worst of it came under control I started applying for new jobs, I have just had a 50% pay rise and added a company car.
My new company insist I have all the ergo equipment I could wish for and feel free to take pacing breaks as I wish. I can work from home when I want and even my car – I have one not on the list because they say it has to be right for me! Stuff dreams are made of eh! I’m an IT project manager! Computers and keyboards all over the place!! But no harm to me! (and that’s official from my physio There are some good companies!! Mine’s a water board! Maybe we should award RSI friendly awards! The main thing that got me through was my eventual mind switch from all is lost to how can I do this now.If it hurts DON’T do it is my key advise though!!

 

 


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