I know that smoking is bad for one’s health, but I also know most smokers take breaks every hour or so, to nip outside for a cigarette. Crazy as it may seem, it makes me wonder whether non-smokers are more likely to suffer RSI.

Comment 1: My RSI began 3 months after I gave up smoking. I began again and gradually I was almost symptomless. I quit Jan 1st and have had the worst flare up since it first started. I am not only attributing it to that but it clearly plays a part! I did read somewhere that there was some chemical input from smoking too. No other break from work has ever been as relaxing for me as going somewhere for a cigarette!

Comment 2: I am a non-smoker but have often envied smoker. As someone veering towards freud’s oral compulsive (although I am not a freudian), oh, it sound like heaven and I can imagine how relaxing the habit must be. When I see someone having their first drag I can almost feel palpably what they are feeling. Recently I gave up overeating. Really it was precipitated by finding out I was intolerant to wheat, dairy, sugar and a few other things. Not overeating and fasting every other Sunday (for spiritual reasons) has made available a whole layer of feelings which must have been submerged. Although because my workload has not been huge these last few weeks, this has not reflected my RSI but it has affected my sleep. I keep waking up restless and wound up. The lack of sleep will of course make the RSI worse when the work-load increases. I have observed that I am more sensitive to stress now. I also worry more. When there is a deadline, my stress levels shoot up even higher than ever before because I know what’s coming with respect to pain and it feels so oppressive.

Comment 3: Sounds like you are on a low acid diet, I am wondering if giving up over-eating was for this reason, or because you wanted to lose weight. If your new diet if causing you this much trouble then

  1. Maybe you need to ease into it a little slower-it is a huge change for your body and your body is obviously reacting to it OR
  2. If you want something low-acid to nibble on (I am a compulsive low-fat nibbler), try carrot sticks, celery or naked (no butter/toffee/sugar) popcorn. It’s fantastic-low fat, non wheat product. I took up healthy eating 10 months ago. I’ve shed 20pds and feel great. I know however that food is a great stress reliever for me, so I continue to indulge. Stress will definitely aggravate your RSI.

Comment 4: In our experience: yes, the onset might be postponed by smoking. Smokers are more likely to move. One bad thing though: smoking does not exactly improve blood flow.

Comment 5: Over a year ago I got a very bad bout of glandular fever. I had high temperatures for over a week, a rash and so on. After that I didn’t feel well for a long time, suffering mostly from fatigue. I would get body aches and pains all the time too. My physio went to a seminar in which a consultant who dealt with what is called chronic fatigue syndrome said that people who suffer from this or glandular fever will find it harder to digest some foods, commonly wheat and dairy. Meanwhile I had been aware that I got headaches after breakfast and lunch sometimes, and that my voice would get hoarse after eating and I had already booked an appt to see an allergy specialist/nutritionist. (Incidentally, this consultant also said that people who have suffered from chronic fatigue/chronic pain have deeply sensitised nervous systems usually as a result of excessive exposure to stress in childhood eg, trauma or something.).

She checked me out and suggested that I cut some things out. And truly I have felt better. My headaches have all but gone; I am not as tired as I used to be. I am also losing weight which I need to anyway as it is not helping my posture. The thing is I was a compulsive overeater before. Now I have breakfast, fruit in the middle of the day, a moderate lunch, more fruit or rice crackers in the afternoon and dinner which consists of dhal, curry and rice usually (I am Indian). So I am eating well. It is just that I have to ‘cope’ with feelings now instead of drowning them huge quantities of food. I also treat myself. I went to a local fish and chip shop and made them bring out their oil and chicken so I could the ingredients and I treat myself to that once a week. I also go to Indian restaurants and other places at times. I do know what you mean. I am hoping that this is a temporary phase. Having a snack before bedtime does help sometimes.

Comment 6: A friend of mine always likens her relationship with food as similar to mine with smoking. I agree about sleep and certainly I can’t sleep when hungry. I agree too about being more sensitive to stress – it is almost like the protective barrier has been removed and so the stressors are closer to you, thus more immediate. When they became immediate (time and physically) I would light up and so removing them to a more appropriate distance. Not sure if this is making sense but if it is then good. I am now seeing it all as a relearning process as with so many aspects of RSI. Learning to manage the distance between me and the stressors.

The fear of pain being imminent is a big problem. I worry about this less when it is because I am doing something at home e.g. clearing out a room etc (with help). I suppose this is because ultimately I am in control of finishing or not. If a workload comes rocketing towards us it is natural to fear the consequences as they are inevitable rather than something that can be gauged as we go along at home. Do you have some control over your workload – are there places you can delegate bits to when you feel the fear starting?

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