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Hands pain free for over a year. No more RSI!

Discussion in 'Success Stories Subforum' started by raucus, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. raucus

    raucus New Member

    I’m a software engineer who types on the computer quite frequently. I had a bad experience with RSI for almost a year and I know how nasty it can be. I’m happy to say I’ve been pain free for over a year now with no signs of symptoms returning!

    I graduated from college in June 2015 with a degree in Computer Science and Engineering. I had managed to land a part time job as a programmer for a small company while I was in still in school. I transitioned to full time after graduation. I moved with my 4 friends into a 5 bedroom house in a quiet suburb in northern California. The first 2 months were pretty normal. I was enjoying my work, going into the office 4 days a week and working from home 1 day a week.

    Once August hit, some rough times hit the company I was working for. It was already small with only 8 employees and morale became low. People started leaving the company, my coworkers were having trouble getting along, and the CEO stopped coming into the office. It also did not help that I was the youngest person working at the company by at least 10 years. There were some days where I went into the office and I was the only person there all day. Soon it was decided that the office was no longer necessary and I turned into a full time remote worker. This is where things started to go really down hill for me personally. I was 2-3 months out of college and I was living in a quiet suburban neighborhood working from home every day. I was a pretty social guy and I started turning into a recluse.

    Not only this, but I was struggling with some personal issues as outlined in a previous post I made on this website. I won’t get into a ton of detail about that here, but you can read my post and subsequent replies here: http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/cant-get-to-100.12616/#post-66447 (Can't get to 100%)

    The pain in my wrists and fingers started one night while I was playing Starcraft 2 with my coworker who lived and worked remotely on the east coast. I had been playing SC2 frequently during that time as something to do to keep myself busy. I had attributed the pain to gaming a bit too hard so I stopped playing for a few days. When my hands continued to have pain, I turned to the internet. This turned out to be a BIG mistake. Once I read about RSI I was convinced I had it! The pain became much worse in the next couple weeks.

    Soon the only thing I thought about was my the pain in my hands. It consumed my life. I was so terrified that my days of typing were limited and that I would have to quit being a software engineer right when I finished graduating college. I did everything to try and get rid of the pain.

    Here’s what didn’t work, but actually made the problem worse:

    • Wrist guards
    • Dunking my hands in ice
    • Massages
    • Stretching every night
    • Many visits to a chiropractor
    • Trigger point therapy
    • Taking time away from the computer intentionally

    The reason these did not work is because they kept my mind focused on the problem. I was convinced something was physically wrong with me and doing these things reinforced those thoughts. If the problem is psychosomatic, why would any of these techniques work? They wouldn’t. In fact they keep you from doing other things that you love to do. Like to play guitar? Like to cook? Like to lift weights? You won’t being doing any of those things if you're obsessed with resting your hands. This makes the problem MUCH MUCH worse because depression starts to hit. If you can’t do the things that you love doing, how can you be happy?

    After months of trying all of these with no success I was at a loss. Then I discovered Doctor John Sarno’s work. I was initially very skeptical of his theories until I started reading his books. I saw lot of myself on every page! The one book that helped me in particular is “The Divided Mind.” It has personal stories and excerpts from other doctors that give different perspectives. At this point I had nothing to lose so I started doing some of the things Dr. Sarno had suggested. I started journaling once a week (or when I was feeling particularly down). I realized that I had a lot of things to write down once I started. I made many lists about all the things that were bothering me and wrote about the various internal struggles that I was having. This seemed to help, but it didn’t completely solve my problem.

    I started to notice after awhile that the pain was there, but never really got worse beyond a certain threshold. Eventually I got so sick of it that I stopped doing any stretching, icing, resting, visits to the chiropractor, and massages. I had nothing to lose so I started lifting weights aggressively, typing at work normally, playing guitar again, and doing other activities that I had previously limited. What I found out is that the pain never got worse. In fact there were times that it got better. There were moments where I felt confident and happy again and experienced almost no pain. However, the pain kept coming back and I could not figure out why. I couldn’t tell if I became happy because the pain went away, or if being happy caused the pain to go away. I kept conquering the pain for days at a time, but I would always relapse.

    When I continued to relapse, I realized that there was something I still wasn’t doing to get rid of the pain. I spent weeks trying to figure out what was bothering me. One day it dawned on me. It was my job and lifestyle! Like I said above, I was working from home remotely and living in a quiet suburb at age 22. I hadn’t made any new friends in awhile. The only people I really saw were my few co-workers over video chat, my roommates, and my family. I’m a pretty loyal person so I had trouble with the idea of quitting my job, especially since the company relied on me heavily at the time. However, I decided to start applying for new jobs in San Francisco. I had never lived in a city, and I thought it would be the perfect place to get me out of the funk.

    I started interviewing and I had a new job in San Francisco in about a month! I even convinced a couple of my roommates to move to SF with me since their respective companies had offices there. During my first week of work in SF, I still had some pain but it was definitely fading. I made a ton of friends right away at the my new company and I was in high spirits. I didn’t slow down my typing or my activities. If anything, I worked harder in the first few weeks in SF than I had in any of the previous few months. The pain eventually disappeared! This was the defining moment for me. I had been typing more than ever and the pain faded. Making this drastic change in my life was exactly what I needed to do, but it took me over a year to figure it out.

    I still live in the same place now, and I’m typing this entire post completely pain free. This is the first time I’ve even thought about RSI in a year, and I’m finally ready to share my story with you all.

    Here’s the things I did that did helped:
    • Ignoring the pain
    • Saying “$%&# you” to the pain
    • Learning to be OK with less than perfection. This is particularly hard for some people. I still get irritated when I can’t perform perfectly at work. Sometimes just being aware of this personality trait is enough.
    • Getting out of the house and doing things that involved my hands. This builds confidence.
    • Really thinking about my life and the things I wasn’t doing that I wanted to be doing
    • Reading “The Divided Mind”
    • Reading other people’s success stories. This was particularly helpful, and it’s why I’m writing my own :)
    • Doing things with my hands despite the pain. Playing guitar, video games, etc.

    I hope this helps at least one of you. I remember how dark a place I was in, and it’s not fun.
     
    eskimoeskimo, Ines, Ines K and 5 others like this.
  2. Tms_joe

    Tms_joe Peer Supporter

    Wow. I am in this EXACT scenario. Obviously life circumstances are a little different, but everything else matches me to a T. Been 3 years. I've also experienced where the pain can only go to a certain threshold. I hated my old job and felt trapped as well. I should be starting a new job soon, and the fear of additional pain from much more typing is causing me relapses. Very good advice here I think.
     
  3. shmps

    shmps Peer Supporter


    LOVED YOUR STORY, specially the healing part! I had the same symptoms and do the same!

    ON SAME BOAT!!

    Been on TMS for 3 years, pain at a certain threshold, live life normal, do everything but just cant figure out that missing piece which keeps bringing diff symptoms or keeps the pain changing thresholds. Any ideas on how to discover that missing piece, Raucus.
     
  4. raucus

    raucus New Member

    Sorry for the late reply.

    I had to really analyze myself and my feelings during that time to find the missing piece(s). It was not easy and it took awhile. Here are some of the things I found out about myself in the process:

    1.) I'm extremely hard on myself any time something goes wrong. I still struggle with this. It leads to negative thoughts and self loathing which can make pain significantly worse.
    2.) I am often conscious about what others think. I always want everyone to believe that I am doing OK and everything is fine.
    3.) In certain scenarios, I do what someone else expects/wants me to do instead of what I want to do. This can be extremely detrimental to my happiness as I can disregard my own opinion.

    As for the missing piece, there were several things at the time that I both wanted and needed to do, but had not yet done. The biggest of these was changing jobs and moving to the city! I knew in my heart that I wanted to do this, but it took me months to actually act on it. I was not taking care of myself. I finally made a few decisions for me and acted upon things that I wanted, regardless of the opinions/viewpoints of others.

    I want to note that I while I do no longer suffer from any RSI, I still do struggle with several of the points above from time to time. However, I am much more aware of these feelings when they arise and it is easier for me to take a step back and ask "Why am I feeling this way?" or "Why am I doing this to myself?" Becoming aware of negative feelings in the moment and reasoning about them has consistently helped me over the last couple of years.

    I hope this helps, shmps!
     
    shmps likes this.
  5. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    Thank you for sharing. I'm so glad you are doing better.
     

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