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Is RSI always TMS? Using TMS as Excuse to Be Lazy with Ergonomics

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by tracybean, Aug 27, 2017.

  1. tracybean

    tracybean New Member

    Hi there --- does everyone here feel that RSI is always purely TMS? And nothing else?

    When I first started getting RSI in my right hand and forearm about a year and a half ago (I've been a very heavy non-ergonomic laptop user for most of my life, and pain seems to be from mousing and scrolling and trackpad, not typing), I went the other route than usual--- I got into TMS first, read Sarno's book, tried not to worry about it too much and follow the principles. This is before trying all the usual conventional advice that most people go through before finding TMS.

    But, I never really got anywhere with it, and at one point I realized that I was actually maybe using TMS as an excuse not to put the effort in to clean up my ergonomic game.

    So over the past year I have made a lot of ergonomic upgrades to my workstartion, and stretches, breaks, using my non-dominant hand more etc. Miles ahead of where I was before.

    And with this, I've managed to keep the RSI manageable -- it flares and subsides, but overall, it always been a pretty mild soreness and hasn't stopped me from doing any hand-intensive hobbies, activities or computer work. It was always still there when using the computer, but never got progressively worse.

    However, I'm hardly 100% consistent with the ergonomics. When I get tired and want to laptop on the couch sloppily, I have tended now to just use my other non-affected hand for scrolling and clicking on the trackpad. I've never had any pain on that side. As I said, all of this has worked ok so far.

    Anyway, a few days ago, my RSI flared up in the usual hand, and I've suddenly started feeling the RSI in my other hand and arm now too (first time ever for that). And now I'm really scared about things progressing. Before, I felt like... well if I got pain in my right, I could always compensate with my left until the right calmed down. But now what??? How do I heal when both are affected?

    Basically I just feel stuck in the middle. I feel like being more ergonomic has helped, and TMS didn't really. My inclination is to go harder with the ergonomics, but I'm curious if everyone here truly believes that's pointless.

    And I want to believe it's TMS, but I'm not sure if I only want to believe that so that I can be lazy.

    Thoughts? Thank you.
  2. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    So you have RSI in both hands.... what are the odds?
    I would take the TMS road for sure. Nothing wrong with a bit of ergonomics applied to your work place and occasional stretching, but it will not solve your RSI. You need to let go off that idea and get back on the TMS path imho.
    Did you really get nowhere with TMS?? No changes or shifts in your (other?) symptoms depending on mood or other factors?? Really? Your evidence sheet is completely empty?
    You see how the RSI gets you scared? The fear is precisely what keeps it alive. And adding pressure and selfcritique about being sloppy with ergonomics is also working against it.
    Hope you find your way back on the TMS track, because I don't believe in RSI frankly, sorry :)
    take care!
    Ellen and Lunarlass66 like this.
  3. RichieRich

    RichieRich Well known member


    I agree with Gigalos here. The constant worry and stretching and such never helped my RSI. If anything it made it worse. I had a similar issue with my right arm, especially the forearm extensor muscle which activates when you perform mouse clicks. Not to scare you but it took me almost 1.5 years to overcome this thing. I was so painful at first that I was practically traumatized for a while, questioning what I did wrong, why me and why now.

    You should consider the possibility that there's an emotional trigger that precipitates the pain. It's this idea that helped me ultimately rid myself of my RSI issue.

    Funny story, when I was living overseas in the Netherlands(where my RSI started) I visited a local computer store specifically for changing to a more ergonomic setup. After explaining to the Dutchman my severe RSI issue possibly deriving from my traditional computer station setup and needing more ergonomical hardware, his only response was: what you consider less ergonomical is considered more ergonomical to the next guy, and vice versa. I just kind of stood there dumbfounded. His response has remained in my head ever since.

    I still use a standard keyboard and mouse setup. I still slouch like crazy, and sometime my neck will get a little sore. I still hammer on my mouse like it owes me money.

    You will eventually find your way.
  4. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Dutch people are full of wisdom ;)
    Ellen likes this.
  5. tracybean

    tracybean New Member

    Thank you, I really appreciate both of your replies.

    I started into Alan Gordon's new program last night (got up to video 4) and I realize that there is indeed a lot of evidence that it's TMS. And I connect more with his theory that the fear creates the pain, rather than purely repressed emotions.

    My TMS evidence:

    - I am indeed a worrier about the future, and have a hard time accepting "sub-optimal" states of being (yes, definitely have an issue with outcome dependence). ie. being permanently disabled is one of my biggest fears. I'm not afraid of the pain itself as overall it's been mild, but what I am afraid of is it getting worse, which is what all the conventional stuff says will definitely happen if I don't address it as a structural issue. My work and everything I love to do in my spare time is all pretty hand-intensive. I can't imagine what I would do with the rest of my life if I couldn't use my hands.

    - My mom has a big problem with back pain, all sorts of aches and pains, fibromyalgia, etc. So I've basically been told my whole life that my terrible computer posture is going to come and bite me in the ass. My brain has definitely been primed for having an RSI problem.

    - It is definitely inconsistent. The computer triggers it, yet I can do basically anything else without problem — painting, woodworking, construction, gardening, you name it. Oddly enough, this year has also been the year that I’ve used the computer less than any other time in my life (instead I’ve been spending a lot of time on these other activities).

    - Although I don't have a history of other mysterious ills and pains, the RSI first started a couple months after a period of stress that ended with quite a traumatizing event. The RSI started around the same time that I also began having nightly anxiety and occasional panic attacks, which was new for me. They lasted over a year, and I believe they were triggered by the traumatizing event (the fear memory got stuck in my brain). The anxiety would come out of nowhere every single night and then be fuelled by terrifying what ifs about the future.

    And actually, matter of fact - I finally got rid of the anxiety by stopping trying to get rid of it. Instead, what worked was focusing on the feeling and inviting it to get worse, taunting my brain “Come on! Bring it on! Make it worse!”. Took less than a week for my nightly anxiety and panic attacks to completely vanish (this was several months ago). Occasionally if I feel the same anxiety coming back on, I just do the same thing and it goes away within five minutes.

    So yeah — after watching Alan’s videos, I get it — the pain is the same as the anxiety. I just need to train my brain that it’s a false alarm and nothing to be afraid of. No need to make pain.

    Thank you so much. I think I can do this.
    cdub and Gigalos like this.
  6. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    cheers tracy, based on what you've written I also think you can do this!
    tracybean likes this.
  7. PainNoMore

    PainNoMore Peer Supporter

    hi tracybean. my story is very similar to yours. i had the panic/anxiety attacks before RSI kicked in . and i got rid of my anxiety the same way you did! (got the idea from reading a book called DARE). once the RSI started, my fear got out of control and i even ended up having surgery. i could write a book about everything that happened but i can see that you are going through what i went through. my advice to you - go through Alan's program. trust it, believe in it, don't doubt it (even though your worried mind will try to convince you to doubt). don't worry about putting a timetable on your healing. and add daily meditations to your "program" if possible. and yes, you can do this.
    tracybean likes this.
  8. tracybean

    tracybean New Member

    Thank you PainNoMore, I really appreciate hearing from people with similar RSI stories. So helpful.

    Yes, the technique about staying where you are when the anxiety hits and taunting your brain to make it worse -- wow. It's powerful. I could sing it from the rooftop for anxiety/panic attack sufferers. Let's hope it's the same story for my RSI! I'm feeling very hopeful now and looking forward to going through the rest of Alan's program.
  9. tracybean

    tracybean New Member

    cdub, MindBodyPT and Gigalos like this.
  10. PainNoMore

    PainNoMore Peer Supporter

    that's awesome tracy! really glad for you :D
  11. RichieRich

    RichieRich Well known member

    Fantastic news. Glad [we] could be of service.

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