RSI is 100 per cent curable with exercise. No surgery needed.

The Sure Cure for RSI

Why RSI?

Muscles operate best when they are flexible and supple. All RSI is caused by excessively tight (hence weak) muscles, with sticky fasciaTest 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.


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.


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.

Get well!

Sanjeev Sabhlok


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.

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Further advice on stretching and hard massage for RSI

I strongly discourage people from writing to me directly by email. I have just no time to provide personal advice. In this case, however, in response to an email I’ve received,  I’m providing general advice on this blog.

Hi Sanjeev,

I read your blog and facebook page regarding a sure cure for RSI with great enthusiasm. I think I’m experiencing the same, or at least quite similar, pain that you’ve had back at the end of the 1990s. I’m a fanatic, perfectionist student and try to always get the highest grades and best papers. Sometimes I studied up to 10 – 12 hours straight for exams. This, I did, in the worst possible posture (forward head, wrong chair etc.).

After I while I started to develop upper back and neck pain. It first started out after 2 hours, then half a year later, it was after 1 hour of studying, then a year later, after half an hour. Up until now, when I constantly experience pain in the upper back, neck and arms. The tingling, numbing, burning sensation all over both arms is horrible.

Of course I went to physical therapists (5 in total, pain only worsening), neurologists (recommended an MRI, nothing to be found, expensive!), trigger point massage therapist (only worsening of pain), ergo therapist (helps a little, because I now have a good posture, but no reduction of pain), and I read Sarno’s books.. As of three weeks ago I started to follow your regime. I apply self-massage with the foam roller (very hard one), and hard ‘tennislike’ balls. Excruciatingly painful this self-massaging. I also swim now, four times a week. Swimming in general and the backstroke in particular appears to really help. I then started Pilates classes, but this only seems to worsen the pain. The muscles of the upper back are way too overworked now, and I feel as if I’m back at square one (after being so glad I found relief in the massaging and swimming). I’ve experienced more pain than before for more than 3 days now, after I took the Pilates class.

Is it too soon for Pilates? Is it normal to experience more pain? What is the order of applying your ‘cure’? Do the knots need to be gone first, and then you start to stretch and strengthen? Is there no order?

Hope you can help me out a little here.

Much appreciated.

Kind regards,


Once muscles are stressed beyond their coping ability they become really tight/sticky/cramped. Hard as golf balls. Excruciating pain/burning is the consequence, as nerves get cramped badly from all sides.

The solution is manifold and must be done each day in some form or other:

Extreme stretching (not ordinary stretching). This means pulling the tight muscles (unfortuanately I don’t have time to depict all such stretches, but imagine pulling a branch of a tree very hard. Such stretches.

Extreme massage. The roller is great but this is even better – to ease cramped hip muscles. Put the machine to the MAX (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.

And so on.

You get the point: What ever you do – ensure that you break down the muscle spasms/cramps and then STRETCH.

Over time (and this means TIME!) you’ll find incremental improvements and allow you to hand-type up to 10,000 words a day again (as I usually do). But a strong regime of exercises is crucial if you wish to do such intense typing.

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Coffee and RSI – relationship

A question on this FB group that I satarted

What do you think about coffee? I'm reading "The cafferine blues" and I've quit coffee ten days ago. I feel much less tired, although my pains are still there.

My response

A simple control experiment. I used to drink 5-6 cups of coffee (including two cups of tea) each day before the RSI cure I've outlined at and continue to drink so today. More than 12 years.

The only thing that has changed is the way I undertake the PHYSICAL cure. Plus I can work (both reading and writing – on the computer) at least 14 hours a day – at the level which "caused" the problem.

Coffee has many health benefits as well. 

My scientific conclusion (since there is a LOT of junk science in this world) – coffee has NO effect on RSI. 

Further, there should be a correlation between coffee drinkers (billions of people) and RSI. There isn't. It is ALL due to muscle tightening (micro-spasms).

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Self-massage to significantly reduce RSI

Discovered that a foam roller can be a great way to release tight muscles in the legs, glutes, hips, lower back, upper back and shoulders. 

Try this exercise. It is brilliant! The result is a great relief from RSI



Images sent by Shiva (see comments)

Attachments_2012_04_11 (zip file with four images)

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