While I’m writing, I may as well introduce myself: Having used computers for almost 20 years (I’m 28), I started to experience mild pain on the back of my hands and numbness in my ring fingers and middle fingers. My RSI so far is completely restricted to my hands and wrists, and manifests mainly as numbness or slight tingling in my fingers and for want of a better word – “sparkling” pain on the back of my hands. I also suffer from numbness in my arms when I raise them above my shoulders, although my doctor seems to think that this is a separate issue related to stress (of which I have a lot from an external source). I haven’t really found anything in the literature which seems to describe the symptoms and would be curious to hear if anyone else has them too.
Comment 1: The backs of my hands also tingle and burn. At its worst last year it was like an electric shock when I touched the keyboard. I love your “sparkling” description! I too felt that just my hands were affected. Nerves to the hand start off in the neck, so I think any sensations up the arm are quite likely to be related. Once I stopped getting this feeling in my hands ALL the time, I began to see that the position of the rest of my upper body had a lot to do with it. For example my hands now start to tingle and be numb when I am reading in bed, despite book rest balanced high on a pillow to try to get my body into a neutral relaxed position. My (cranial) osteopath says there is likely to be slight nerve entrapment somewhere in my neck/shoulder area. However, the tendons in my hands are also apparently much overstretched. I too found temporary relief from magnets placed on the “brain” end of the hurting part.
Comment 2: I notice that pain in my hands and arms is quite often related to the position of my back/neck/shoulders, or whether I am holding any tension in these areas. It’s certainly worth taking a moment to stop at the time of sensation and mentally examine one’s body to check. PS: Sparkling pain is very apt! I usually call it ‘zinging’.