RSI-UK Digest for 23 Jan 2000

Question: What I would like to know is if anyone has experienced my problem. Up until last year I worked for a quadrapalegic who has no movement below his neck. After working for 2.5 years for this gentleman I now have been diagnosed with RSI in my right shoulder. My shoulder aches all the time and it can affect my neck. I find that professional people have little understanding of what has happened to me and how to treat it. The problem affects my life daily in all aspects of my life, things such as vacuuming, cooking etc. Has anyone any knowledge of what has happened to me?

Answer 1: I know how hard it can be to get professionals to take this seriously, but like most of the people on this list will tell you, persistence can pay off. My GP finally referred me to a physiotherapist for my chronic shoulder pain. After 4 sessions, I had the mobility back which I had lost (was unable to turn more than about 15 degrees to the right for months!) and with swimming, acupuncture etc it’s getting much better. Your pain may have been caused by particular postures you adopted during the course of your work. Finally your body decides that upright is no longer the right posture for you and adopts a new one, with the result that you are in chronic pain. Try to get your GP to refer you to a physio with experience of treating RSI. Their sympathy, understanding and ability to explain how the problem came about and what YOU can do to improve things are invaluable. I hope this helps you.

Above all, try to avoid getting frustrated, depressed or angry; if anybody figures out how to do this, please let me know! Seriously though, being positive and setting about improving your posture can help. I’m convinced that part of the problem is stress and negativity. Thanks by the way to all who replied to my mailing last week – I’m seriously considering voice activated software, to complement my wrist guards, wrist rest, foot support, exercises in my office and my latest drug of choice, Voltarol (anti-inflammatory and pain killer). If the Voltarol isn’t working after a month, VAS here I come! BTW, can anybody tell me whether heat or cold is best for the wrists and hands? My mother in law who suffers from osteo arthritis has taken to using a cream/gel called Deep Freeze which she says really works on the pain. Any ideas? thanks again,

Answer 2: I also have RSI in both my shoulders. I got mine from working on an assembly line in an electronics factory. I’ve only known it was RSI for the last 6months but have started having physio where I have been taught stretching exercises for my neck and shoulder muscles. It has helped a bit but when I have a flare up my shoulders are very painful and give me headaches as well. I have been prescribed Diclorafenec and take co-proximol as well. I find a good muscle rub such as Radian B and hot water bottles help. I also fold a hand towel length ways and put around my neck as it keeps the neck warm and supports the head. I use a rubber cap to open bottles etc but it is still painful to do hoovering when it flares up .There doesn’t seem to be a lot of info on RSI in the shoulders as most people get it in the hands. I hope some of this can be helpful.

Answer 3: For 9 months I have had RSI of the right shoulder—probably caused by swimming too many laps at once and repetitive weight lifting to increase my shoulder strength—as well as tendonitis in right upper arm. The orthopedic doctor tries to tell me the upper arm pain is from the neck but I have no neck pain. I think he is only guessing and very unconcerned. Three cortisone shots later, my problem is no better and this doctor gives absolutely no advice. After reading some of the posts, I will indeed coax him to refer me to a physio therapist as described my next visit. In the meantime, I have found that using ice gel packs (buy 3 or 4 and always keep in freezer) always help to temporarily alleviate the pain. Sometimes I have to use them to get back to sleep in the middle of the night, and I usually slap one on in the morning to ward off the daytime pain. They work very well. Get the gel packs that when frozen do not get hard as a rock but stay very pliable, yet are icy to the touch. This is no cure but really work on the pain. Also, plain old aspirin, of course, helps. Hopes this helps someone.

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