RSI-UK Digest for 21 Aug 1997

Question: How do you know when you’ve got to the chronic, non-curable stage? I know it’s not an exact point, but what are the signs? I have asked most of the specialists I have seen, including my Rolfer, if they think there is any risk of permanently sensitizing my arms to certain activities, e.g. involving gripping such as writing with a pen or playing a musical instrument. And I think to myself, because if the answers yes I’m leaving my job right away! I’m trying to change my job anyway but it’s otherwise a gradual process. But they always say no. The trouble is I don’t always trust them, particularly in relation to permanent problems. I mean, they do their treatment and it helps my posture and everything but my arms still hurt. But is it the right treatment, especially when each treatment is justified with its own language which you usually can’t reconcile with the language of other treatments? I feel very lost without there being one person I can trust.

Answer 1: I know how you feel. I’ve had no decent help from the medical profession, either on the NHS or privately. (But I’ve found it possible to keep my problem under control and am looking to alternatives to a keyboard for inputting. Try to be positive. BTW: What’s a Rolfer?

Answer 2: They tend to concentrate on manipulating the “fascia”, which as far as I understand is this kind of white stuff that holds your body together and keeps the various organs in separate compartments, like the bandages wrapped around a mummy. (I always thought there must be something to stop your organs getting mixed up.) I found rolfing very_helpful and it complemented the Alexander Technique because it was trying to accomplish the same thing only in a way that was more invasive and direct. It’s quite holistic as well, and my Rolfer has given me a lot of useful advice. However as with all the other things which I have found helpful, when I go back to typing the problem manifests itself in a new way which is not so responsive to the thing that helped. I suppose this is the sign that something is becoming chronic. The degree to which the problem responds to what I do, how I do it, how much I do it and what treatment I have is like a window of opportunity that is getting smaller – I think you must reduce or remove the activity so that this window is growing instead of shrinking.

Anyway the Rolf Institute has a web page: I quote the first paragraph: “Rolfing is named after Dr. Ida P. Rolf, who fifty years ago called her work structural integration. Dr. Rolf devoted her energy to creating a holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education that organized the whole body in gravity. She discovered that she could achieve remarkable changes in posture and structure by manipulating the body’s myofascial system.” Hope this helps.

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