Specialists in the S West

Question: I was wondering if anyone had experience of seeing specialists who are interested in RSI issues in the south west. My GP would be willing to refer me to an occupational health specialist, neurologist, or other health specialist/consultant who may be able to make some worthwhile suggestions on my condition. However, he is not aware of any in this area (Devon) although there may be someone in Bristol? If anyone can suggest any names I would be very grateful.

Answer 1: I can recommend a specialist physio in Bath, with much experience of treating RSI conditions: Colin Cook, Tel: 01225 4445963. He helped me to recovery through weekly treatments for some months and his reassurance and advice on managing it was great for me at the time. Don’t bother with consultant rheumatologists. In my opinion anyway these types of professional don’t often seem to have much to offer in the way of treatment or understanding?! Best of luck.

Answer 2: It was interesting that Hellie did not recommend seeing a consultant rheumatologist. I have been seeing a rheumatologist at St James’ in Leeds regarding my ‘condition’ which to cut a very long story short, I have had for 2 years. He claims that I cannot have a work-related upper limb disorder as I have problems bilaterally! (My job involved large amounts of keyboarding and have used the mouse in both hands – I’m a lefty – which I did point out to him). At my last appointment in April – noticing that my fingers were swollen – he suggested that I almost certainly had rheumatoid arthritis. He proceeded to send me for a blood test and prescribed me quinine! I rang his secretary for the results of the test and was informed that it was negative. I stopped the tablets!

Can anybody help me? My next appointment is September 14th and I know I will be sent for some other test which will prove negative once again. I have already undergone an isotope bone scan, which, once again was negative. Any idea what questions I could ask? My GP is supportive and recognises RSI. I cannot take Ibuprofen/anti-inflammatory type drugs as they affect my stomach. At the onset of my problems (I must confess to trying to work through the pain wearing elastic bandages around my wrists) I had ultrasound and physio. I was then referred to an Osteopath who really helped but the pains continue in my hands and (not as bad as previously) forearms – which are exacerbated by keyboarding, work around the house, e.g. ironing, cleaning windows and so on. I work for a Government dept and they have been quite good at providing what aids they can. I have also had to change my career track. I now use a Maltron non-QWERTY keyboard, a Contour mouse and Via Voice software. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Answer 3: I’m quite new to this – only really noticed the problem 3or 4 months ago but so far have had 3 Doctors appointments, one hospital referral- for CTS and nerve sensory testing. Having seen three different Doctors at our surgery now I can see why everyone goes on about different qualities of service:

  • Doctor 1, who has now retired, made up his mind it was CTS before I had finished my first sentence – referred for tests.
  • Doctor 2, said wait for results of tests, take time off work if ‘needed’ and take IBUPROFEN to relieve the pain – didn’t even examine me.
  • Doctor 3, who was already running 45 minutes late last night – spent 15 minutes with me talking about symptoms and possible ways of alleviating them in the workplace as well as giving me a thorough going over.

The point of all this drivel is that he did suggest something which I am going to try out – he suggested wrist supports as used by ‘Skateboarders’ to keep the wrists cocked as I type. I am also hoping my employer will cough up for a mouse pad or some other such tool that doesn’t require wrist movement to use a mouse. I begin to think that the medical profession makes up its mind far too often on one piece of evidence that suits them! Good luck with whatever you decide – but a second opinion might well be a good idea before subjecting yourself to any other tests or medication!

Answer 4: Unless I’ve misunderstood your doctor’s remarks, my understanding is that typing with wrists “cocked” could be a bad idea – you should really keep your wrists in a neutral position and should not rest them on a wrist rest while actually typing. Trackballs (such as the Logitech Marble Mouse) are inexpensive alternatives to using a mouse. I also use a program called Mouse tool which clicks the mouse automatically to save you clicking mouse buttons.

Answer 5: SURELY your doctor didn’t want you to COCK your wrists as you type? In everything I’ve read about CTS, you must keep your wrists, hands and forearms at the same angle; cocking the wrists, I always understood, is a prime cause of RSI.

Answer 6: I’m sure that is what he was indicating. The hospital tests suggested it wasn’t CTS but there again I had just come back from a week away and things could have been different because of that. It would be really good to be able to see someone or have the tests done on a bad day – but that’s just a pipe dream!

Answer 7: “Skateboarders” supports. I am an “oldie” that roller skaters, the first thing I bought was a pair of supports for my wrists and of course my skates. I run occupational health within a manual factory environment, the idea came to me, because these supports where so comfortable to wear, could we develop the types of supports further in a preventative programme of RSI, adapting the theory for computer users if required (if the individual has a problem) at a further date. At the moment the programme is in an early stage, if anyone is interested in the outcome/conclusion I will be quite happy to share the views with them.

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