April 10, 2010
The Sure Cure for RSI
Muscles operate best when they are flexible and supple. All RSI is caused by excessively tight (hence weak) muscles, with sticky fascia. Test for tightness in these muscles. As a general rule, people with supple and flexible muscles, particularly of the upper body – but basically all muscles – won't get RSI.
Re: sticky fascia, I found this excellent youtube video on 11 Feb. 2015:
The crucial thing to understand is this: Your hands bear about 10% of the load of typing. 90% of the load is borne by your forearm/upper arm/upper back/ pectorals/ lats/middle back/ lower back and even glutes. The 'hands' and wrists can't be "fixed" without without fixing the entire upper body – including remote areas like the gluteal muscles. Yes. The body works as a whole. And doctors DON'T have a clue about this basic concept of bio-kinetics.
THE ONLY EFFECTIVE CURE OF RSI
40% of the cure: EXTREME MASSAGE
Break the spasms/ tightness in muscles with myotherapy or other very hard (deep tissue) massage. This will include massage not merely (indeed almost not even) massage of the arms, but (a) upper back, (b) neck (c) lats, (d) lower back, (e) abdominal muscles – and arms including hands.If you don't (actually) scream with pain for at least half the time during the massage, your massage "therapist" is USELESS. Find another one.
One great way to massage YOUR muscles on your own is through a foam roller (see this blog post).
Added on 22 May 2014: Use a leg press machine:
Put the machine to the MAXIMUM (in terms of weight) and push the legs, while pushing the hips into the back of the machine, one hip at a time.
And use a hard medicine ball to grind the back muscles:
40% of the cure: EXTREME STRETCHING
Recover normal range of motion and length of muscle. This must be EXTREME and not a simple massage. But it is important to undertake a comprehensive stretching regime. Imagine pulling a branch of a tree very hard. Initiially, with severe RSI, stretching will also be very painful. But this is a crucial part of the package.
I used clinical Pilates and yoga as well. But I find these too mild now. I would have used more extreme streches had I known about them in the past
Perhaps hte most important yoga postures are the shoulder stand and backward flip of the legs, shown below.
5% of the cure: STRENGTHEN
NOTE: I've downgraded my strenghtening recommendation. It is actully NOT the key. It can help but only very marginally.
Swim to strengthen your back muscles. Backstroke is particularly important. And use a range of weightlifting and other strenghtening exercises [some of these shown here]
5% of the cure: PACE YOURSELF
Pause before doing anything – relax the body as much as possible (Alexander technique, psychiatry MAY help, but in the end, this is a VERY SMALL part of the solution)
5% of the cure: SPEECH RECOGNITION
Use Dragon Naturally Speaking Ver. 9.0 or better to minimise typing.
[Update 22 May 2014: I've mostly give up using Dragon over the past few years, typing up to 10,000 words a day from morning to night, almost without a break. My solution to RSI works. But I have to keep up a very active stretching and massage regime]
5% of the cure: ERGONOMICS
Good ergonomics will help, eg. a split keyboard. I also sat on a 65 cm fit ball at work from December 2006 – July 2010, after which I reverted to an ergonomic chair. The key is to have the arms hanging LOOSELY from the shoulders, looking at the screen without slouching forward.
THE KEY THING IS TO NOT DESPAIR
It WILL get OK! May take time but IT WILL DEFINITELY BECOME OK NO MATTER HOW BAD IT IS. – but you must not waste time on "solutions" that don't work. A bunch of utterly USELESS "professionals" and "experts" make a living by selling BOGUS "solutions".
First thing – don't rely on your doctor or physiotherapist unless you want your problem to get worse. Either they'll give pain killers, or do some useless and expensive 'tests' including MRI, or give you useless therapies like ultrasound, or may even recommend surgery . Better spend all that money on the myotherapist, gym, swimming pool, and yoga classes.
The ignorance within the medical profession of the biokinetics and physiology of the muskulo-skeletal system is mind-boggling!
Instead or running after totally useless 'experts', just put in the effort outlined above. That will fix it. The solution is actually quite logical, as well. It makes physical sense. I'll explain the logic some day when I find the time, through a detailed book.
Addendum, 21 June 2012
I'm working on a hypothesis that Vitamin D deficiency could exacerbate RSI. If you wish, you can check these blog posts:
Update 22 May 2014: I don't think Vitamin D is a vital factor in RSI.
NOTE: If my advice to you has worked then please consider donating to (a) help me recoup a tiny part of the tens of thousands of dollars I've wasted through bad professional advice from ignorant doctors and other nitwits, and, (b) more importantly, to help me spread the message of freedom across the world, particularly in India (working night and day on bringing liberty and good governance to India was the thing that drove me to the excessive typing that led to RSI). Write to me at sabhlok AT gmail DOT com.