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The RSI Logs

I have some version of an rsi, repetitive strain injury. Rsi is an umbrella term that refers to various possible problems: tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, radial/ulnar nerve problems, arthritis, etc. I don't know exactly what I have, it may be a combination of various problems. I'm also unconvinced that the injury is caused by 'repetitive strain.' It's possible I found another way to hurt some tissue, and the symptoms merely present themselves when I'm doing my everyday activities. In any case, I refer to the problem as 'rsi' although technically speaking the ailment is an rsi.

Rsi is a mysterious and devilish ailment. It negatively affects me in all that I love to do: play guitar, work on programming projects, and surf. I hope to heal myself completely and if that proves impossible I hope to prevent the problem from getting worse.

In any case, I will be another data point for whoever is studying those who have documented their rsi experience.


Episode 1:

I had my first wave of rsi that I can remember in December of 2019. As mentioned in the link, the pain was very subtle. On a scale of 1-10, 1 being no pain and 10 being very ouch, I would rate the pain 1.5 to 2. It was just enough to notice that something I remember that lasted about 1 month, maybe 2, and then the pain faded away completely.

Episode 2: (current)

Flash forward to May of 2021 and the pain has returned. This episode was triggered by a very specific action - I was doing a pull off with my pinky on my guitar. I kept playing for 15-30 minutes while enduring some pain. This occurred after a week of practicing some new (rather aggressive) techniques to get more volume on my hammer-on and pull-offs. This pain has been going on for almost 2 months now. My fingers and wrists feel like they have no oil. They crack all the time when I move them and I think I have lost some grip strength. The problem is distributed almost evenly amongst the hands and fingers, although the left side seems worse and specifically the left pinky. The steady pain I would say is a 2/10, but every once in a while the pain becomes very sharp and jumps to a 7/10 or 8/10 for a few milliseconds. One night I had some slight trouble sleeping from the pain, but in general I can't say I've lost sleep from this episode.

Current Treatment and Preventive Measures:

After a month of mostly resting without any improvement, I saw a physiotherapist.

I took a shot of vitamin B12 complex and I am taking a daily magnesium supplement. I've switched to a mechanical keyboard; I am playing a minimal amount of guitar. I am trying to stay active and do some form of physical activity to get the blood flowing daily (walking, surfing, slacklining.) I am doing the exercises to 'slide my nerves' demonstrated in this video. I am also doing two more exercises: I am holding a hammer and pronating and supinating(sp?) my wrists, and I am flexing them up and down (without a hammer.) In both exercises I keep my arms stretched out straight in front of me.

6 Responses to “The RSI Logs”

  1. whaack says:

    I guess I'll use the comment box to keep some notes.

    I played the guitar yesterday (practicing tremolo) for 30-45 minutes. My right hand afterwards felt incredibly stiff, and still feels stiff today. When I flex my wrists up and down with my left and right hand I can really tell the difference.

  2. whaack says:

    Symptoms abated yesterday. I still feel the occasional pangs of pain, but overall my fingers feel more "oiled."

  3. whaack says:

    Symptoms are a little worse today. Not quite a full regression, but it's clear the fight is not over. I feel pain in my left pinky and my right wrist is stiff. (The right wrist became stiff about a week ago after 30 minutes of practicing tremolo.)

  4. whaack says:

    Pain has reduced significantly but is still thre, especially in my left pinky. I have switched to the x-bows keyboard, which feels amazing on my fingers.

  5. whaack says:

    Today the pain is pretty bad in my right wrist. Two days ago I was surfing for 3 hours in heavy surf and yesterday I surfed for 1.5 hours in heavy surf. And yes I felt a sharp pang of pain in my left pinky from paddling while surfing.

  6. whaack says:

    I've been on a 10+ day surfing bender, which I finished up with an all day trip to the famous Witch's Rock break. My left hand was in a decent bit of pain this morning, up to a 4-6. It really "has no oil." Also, when I woke up, there was numbness, the kind you feel when your hand/foot/leg/arm "falls asleep" but ~only~ in my left pinky / ring finger (aka ulnar nerve) This went away after about 10 seconds .

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