What is causing your pain? You may have seen your doctor, specialist, had MRI scans etc. You might have been told that you have Tendonitis or that your suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or you have Osteoarthritis in your neck which is trapping the nerves to your arms etc. This is all very typical war RSI sufferers.
Prevent further RSI damage
You should of course take precautions to prevent further damage – an ergonomic vertical mouse is an obvious first step for RSI sufferers derived from PC use. It significantly reduces tension between neck and wrist. You will see other tools and aids which are likely to be of help on our site generally. One of our favourites and at an affordable price too is the Reviber Zen ET-01 Physio Deep Tissue Massager
You may have been told that your condition is likely to be permanently disabling or will have repeated flare-ups. This is very likely but before you write yourself off as disabled its worth maintaining some perspective.
Stress and unconscious matters
Our bodies are full of connections as you know, a real mass of electrical and chemical signals. You’ve probably heard of the flight or fight response or felt the flush of adrenaline as you step off the pavement and just miss the car that hadn’t seen that almost knocked you down. So its fair to say that we both understand how the stress our brains register through our eyes, ears or touch can triggers near instant physiological affects to move our body quickly.
When our mind feels its under stress, there’s a complicated hormonal response that changes not only how our muscles and organs are working but also how sensitive we are to pain. Two or three stressful days can give me toothache, knee pain and headache as well as disrupting my sleep patterns. You will possibly have your own list which will be different to mine.
What’s the point I’m making?
If you have RSI symptoms, stress will be a factor. Pain and the implications of it on your work, home, sports will stress you. Similarly stress will change how your body regulates when it feels pain. So a vicious cycle is set in place and the more you are aware of what’s going on the more you may be able to make progress with your pain.
What if you’re not aware that you’re stressed?
A few years ago I felt completely stuck with my RSI and came across another IT professional who was unable to work normally any longer until someone passed him a book. So please read on…
A learned professor of clinical rehabilitation medicine at the New York University School of Medicine, Dr John E Sarno, has practised medicine for over 60 years. John Sarno is a physical doctor and specialises in neck and back pain, repetitive stress injuries, tendonitis etc. After years of frustration at the poor long-term success of his patients, and that of his fellow practitioners, he developed a different way of looking at these painful conditions.
Dr Sarno’s innovative program has produced startling rates of success for his patients, most are cured of their pain within a week or two or at most a month or two. So what is the secret?
He believes that painful conditions are created by the processes that go on within our minds. That is not to say that we are imagining this pain; the pain is very real and it is created by physical conditions in our body. He believes that these physical conditions are created by our mind limiting the blood supply to specific areas of our body and, in depriving them of oxygen and other nutrients, so creates the pain. Why would my mind do this? The answer is rooted in Sigmund Freud’s theories where in our unconscious mind there are potentially many disturbing thoughts, generated by stresses and our inner child that our parent ego is trying to control. Like all children that sometimes get into a rage, our inner child needs to be distracted to ensure that the situation doesn’t get out of hand. Our unconscious mind has full control over our body and can create distractions such as these painful conditions.
I am not a doctor, nor am I a trained medical person. But I am open minded to follow Dr Sarno’s ideas and see if they work for me. I have only just started, having read his book “The Mindbody Prescription” and I will see whether it works for me or not.
Dr Sarno interview
Click play to view video where Dr Sarno is interviewed and he explains his approach (part 1 of 2, you will be prompted to continue watching part 2)
I actually came across Dr Sarno after reading an article by Aaron Iba, an experienced computer programmer who has done work for Google, who found himself almost completely unable to work. Having gone through many expensive treatments he turned to this as a last resort. He was so impressed that he wrote about it and having read his article I was prompted to get Dr Sarno’s book.
I have put links below to the two books I have read over the last four days, I couldn’t put them down! “The Divided Mind” is more comprehensive in explaining the psychological aspects and a useful primer for medical professionals working in the RSI field.
Original article published 1st Feb 2011; Revised 25 Jan 2017
Dr Sarno Information Buying Guide