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Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Seanh153, Oct 13, 2021.

  1. Seanh153

    Seanh153 Peer Supporter


    For the past 6 months I've been dealing with debilitating RSI in both of my hands. It started with a strange stiffness in my left thumb which also coincided with elbow pain. I assumed the two were related and carried on, as I was able to complete my work using my right hand (I work at a computer). I remember thinking that as long as my right hand was ok, I'd be fine. Next thing you know... I have the exact same problem with my right hand. Due to the pain in my thumb/wrist joints, I was unable to hold a regular computer mouse. I immediately started Googling symptoms and self-diagnosed myself with RSI (most likely De Quervain's Tenosynvitis). I went to see a physiotherapist who gave me stretches and exercises to do - these did not help at all. I tried various different mice and keyboards - nothing helped. I called my doctor who prescribed me painkillers and referred me to the NHS musculoskeletal department.

    I just had my appointment last Saturday (I was waiting over 3 months) and they basically just told me I have RSI and to deal with it. They said to wear hand braces, which I had worn for a number of months right at the start. These didn't help either. While I was waiting for my referral, I went to see a hand specialist privately who took an x-ray of my hand and confirmed that everything looked normal. He did some physical tests to check for De Quervain's Tenosynvitis, which was ruled out. He also ruled out any problems with the TFCC (as I also have pain on the ulnar side of the hand). He said there is no obvious cause for my pain, and that I should see a rheumatologist if I don't improve (as he suspected rheumatoid arthritis).

    After this, I started experiencing pain in my joints - knuckles, fingers, etc. This more than anything suggested to me that I may have TMS, as I never had any problems until arthritis was suggested. I don't have any of the typical symptoms either (morning stiffness, redness, swelling). I read the mindbody syndrome fairly early on, and it made me feel a little better at first because a lot of the symptoms applied to me (I have chronic stress/anxiety, very little sleep, etc.) and the pain is constant, even at rest. However, I couldn't stop telling myself I had tenosynvitis, so I wasn't willing to stop doing the exercises for it. I've stopped now that it has been ruled out.

    Previously I used to game heavily to take my mind off things, but have been unable to do so because of these problems. I actually went back to using my old computer mouse yesterday just to prove that I could do it, and I did (although I felt like my body was screaming at me that I was doing something wrong and should stop). I've also typed this entire message without too much pain which is odd (I guess it's therapeutic).

    My issue is, even though I'm 90% convinced this is TMS/stress related, I can't seem to get rid of the stress/anxiety. I'm actually even more stressed now than I was months ago when I had no idea what was happening to me. I'm constantly focusing on the pain even though I know that structurally there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with me. I've been tempted to go back to gaming to try to convince myself there's nothing wrong, but I'm scared of doing so in case it is actually RSI (as I'm terrified of losing my job). Has anybody dealt with similar, and if so, how did you overcome it?

    Edit - also, I never experience the pain in both hands simultaneously. Either my left thumb hurts or my right hand hurts, or the ulnar side of either hand hurts.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021
  2. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes. A lot of people experienced similar symptoms, me included. I fully recovered. It is TMS. You need to focus on your anxiety.
  3. Seanh153

    Seanh153 Peer Supporter

    Thank you. How did you break the cycle? For me, whenever I feel pain, it sets my anxiety off. Even when my pain isn't too bad, I'm constantly thinking about it, even when I know it isn't logical :(
  4. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Seanh153 likes this.
  5. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    RSI is definitely painful and debilitating. I remember how bad it was. Take a look at Chris Abraham’s story with 7 years of RSI and how he recovered.

  6. Seanh153

    Seanh153 Peer Supporter

    Thanks, I have read many of these stories including Chris' and find them very encouraging. I think my issue is that the pain is mainly in my joints and therefore I find it hard to make the connection to TMS (which seems to be mainly muscular focused) and my mind jumps to arthritis as an explanation. Then again, I can't find much about RSI causing joint pain either. This is all super confusing!
  7. mbo

    mbo Well known member

    RSI is a "nocebo concept" because it induces the belief that every time you have pain you have reinjuried your "debilitated" body
    RSP is a better acronym: REPETITIVE STRESS PAIN (but nobody uses it!)
    You get pain not because you have injuried "once more" your body (hand, arm, leg,...) but because your unconscious mind/brain is trying to protect you from something considered "dangerous". If you doesn't understand the message from your brain "it doesn't matter" (for it). You will be away fron the "dangerous issue" thinking that the pain is the consequence of your physical activity. Goal achieved for your hypervigilant, overprotective brain: your safety preserved.
    Tricky .... but entlightening.

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