Health + Wellness

Fighting Repetitive Stress Injury

January 7, 2015
repetitive stress

I’ve talked about my “tendinitis” and “bursitis” here and here, but I’m determined to get to the root of the problem.

I’ve spent thousands of dollars this year on doctors, physical therapy, chiropractic care, pain management, etc.  Some of them mentioned that it could be my posture while working on the computer, but I got a variety of examples of the “proper ergonomics.” One doctor told me to Google it. (really???) Another doctor told me my arm should be stretched far in front of me.

I’m beyond frustrated at this point. It affects my work on a daily basis, keeps me from sleeping through the night and is stealing all of my money.

So far I’ve been bouncing back and forth between whether the root is from my car accident in 2010 and I’m just irritating it or whether it’s truly just caused from overworking (repetitive stress to the same muscles from clicking the mouse). I think it might be a combination of both, because I’ve found at least some relief when being treated by doctors who thought one way or the other.

Here’s a recap of what I’ve tried:

  • 12+ weeks of physical therapy. The massage part helped.
  • 4-5 appointments with an orthopedist, where he injected my bicep and elbow with cortisone. I now have a permanent mark where the skin blanched and the fat atrophied (turned white + died). It’s a huge white spot on my elbow. Despite that upsetting me, he may have been on the right track by saying he thought it was a repetitive stress injury that wouldn’t get better until I changed something with work.
  • Various working positions (changing chair height, changing desk height, trying laptop vs. desktop, etc.)
  • Adding turmeric, ginger and other anti-inflammatory spices, foods and supplements to my diet
  • Basically any prescription anti-inflammatory medicine there is (Naproxen, Celebrex, etc.) None of them worked.
  • Massage therapy with trigger point therapy/myofascial release
  • MRIs, x-rays, nerve tests, and probably many tests I’m not remembering
  • 54 chiropractic sessions. FIFTY FOUR. With decompression therapy for C4/C5 ($1 million). While I do believe in regular chiropractic care, I was disappointed that it didn’t help my issue very much.
  • 4 pain management appointments (cortisone injections into C4/C5 vertebrae). This helped a little. I do believe some of the pain is referred pain from a car accident in 2010, but I don’t like cortisone injections and want to get to the root of the problem.

juicing

My next plan:

  • I bought a Dragon SpeakNaturally system but it wouldn’t install on my laptop and have heard their customer service is a nightmare, so I returned it. I’m open to similar recommendations.
  • I bought a pen mouse so I can have another option for how I’m clicking and using the mouse. I plan to switch back and forth between the mice and between hands to reduce repetitive stress to my hand, wrist, arm and shoulder.
  • Return to eating anti-inflammatory foods + reducing high-inflammatory foods.
  • Take more breaks! From working AND from using my smartphone. I have a feeling that’s part of the problem too.
  • Be present. I tend to get tense when I’m focusing, so I need to be conscious of letting go of that tension.

I’ve had the pen mouse for about 2 weeks now. I’ve been alternating between the pen mouse and regular mouse while also switching hands. It seems to already be making a difference, so I’m excited to keep using it.

pen mouse

Have you dealt with repetitive stress injuries? How did you heal from it?

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