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Why I took down the RSI video, and some more info

TaranLMG
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Hello friends. It's me, Taran! If you don't know me, I'm the one editing most of the LTT videos these days!

 

I've had a few people on Twitter asking me why my TechQuickie video about RSI is no longer available for viewing. I can't respond in 140 characters, so I thought I would post here.

 

Long story short: I was wrong.

 

Let's start at the beginning. A few months after I started working for LMG, I started to suffer from painful RSI (repetitive strain injury) in both my hands. This lasted for about a year, and I even had to stop working for a few months so I could recover. The pain in my hands got so bad at one point, that I was starting to have trouble with simple things like doing laundry, making food, and turning doorknobs. So, forget about video editing! I thought my career was over.

 

I went to see a LOT of doctors, but nothing they suggested seemed to be working for me:

 

Stretching

Low weight endurance training

Hot/cold contrast baths

ultrasound

IR laser therapy

splints

NSAIDs (ibuprofen)

 

The pain was only getting worse. In my search for answers, I learned about Dr. Sarno’s book “The Mindbody Prescription,” with a crazy-sounding idea that chronic pain like RSI could be neurological in origin. The word for this is “psychosomatic" pain, or "Tension Myositis Syndrome" (TMS). It's real pain, but caused by psychological stress, with little to no physical cause.

 

According to this book, my RSI could supposedly be treated with mental exercises, not physical exercises. With nothing left to lose, I tried it. Imagine how thrilled I was when it actually worked, and my yearlong pain totally vanished within a week. Not only did the pain go away, it STAYED away, for month after month. I was back to work. I was thrilled.

 

I waited for the pain to come back, and it didn’t. That's when I made the video, where I praised Dr. Sarno’s book on the subject – even while warning that some of his ideas seemed like kooky pseudoscience.

 

Then, a few months later, I had a relapse of RSI pain that could NOT be resolved using the methods I learned from Dr. Sarno's book. I could then see that my pain was NOT merely neurological, and I still didn’t have the whole answer.

 

I needed a physical solution. After more experimentation, I found it:

 

- I started working out more. I did Stronglifts 5x5, with reduced weight and more reps. Edit: It's the bench press and rows that help me. Also, weight doesn't seem to matter, as long as I get tired, and do enough reps. Also, I had to stop doing deadlifts and squats, due to great knee pain, probably caused by hyperextension. (Don't let your knees (or elbows) go past 180° while under load!)

- I occasionally do LIGHT arm/hand stretches, just to the point where I feel the stretch, and NO FURTHER (or it causes pain instead!) Edit: I don't do this anymore.

- Hard self-massage of my forearm, especially around the wrist/elbow joints. Very helpful. Edit: I no longer do this, so maybe it doesn't matter.

- Using a powerball: https://powerballs.com/

- Proper workplace ergonomics, my video for which is still pretty good.

 

These things WORKED for me, and continue to work even now. I'm 100% pain free in the left hand, and 99% pain free in the right hand.

 

Edit, 2017: I can lift 3x as much as when I started weightlifting, but it's made no difference to the RSI. Whatever the issue is, it is not a matter of strength. I still must go to the gym twice a week at a minimum. 1-2 days after going to the gym, my RSI pain will diminish. And If I don't go to the gym for 4 days, the pain starts to come back, and only increases day by day... until I go to the gym again.

 

Edit, March 2018: My arms are now 4x stronger than when I first started weightlifting. I am able to go to the gym only once a week, without the RSI pain returning in the interim. It hardly bothers me anymore. I've also been able to use different mice, whereas before, I had to use a very specific, kinda shitty mouse, which had just the right ergonomic shape. I really should go to the gym more often, but it is no longer absolutely necessary. Also, my knees are improving, but I must still go easy on them. I'm glad to have an electric bike.

 

So what's the deal with Dr. Sarno's wacky ideas about psychosomatic pain? Is he right, or not?

 

Well, I still do believe there's something to it. After all, I did end a year of pain in one week using Sarno's ideas. But here's what I think actually happened: I did all the physical therapy suggested by my doctors, and it worked to heal my arms. But my body was so used to being in pain at that point, that I kept experiencing the pain even though the physical problems had been mostly addressed. After I read Sarno's book, I was able to let go of this and allow myself to be pain free. That's when I made the video, and I stopped doing all of the physical therapy that kept my arms healthy, thinking I had healed for good. The pain slowly crept back, until I was able to figure out a good physical solution, which I still use to this day.

 

So, I do still think that RSI pain can have a neurological aspect to it, because that has been my experience. But I DON'T think it is the whole answer -- which is what Sarno claims, and which is what I implied in that video. So, embarrassed, I took the video down. It was irresponsible to make it the way I did, and it would be irresponsible to keep it up.

 

RSI is an important subject for those of us who use a computer all day, but maybe that video should never have been made. If I were to make the video again, I would limit the mention of TMS / psychosomatic pain to one paragraph, and allow viewers to look into it on their own. 

 

I typed this all with my hands rather than dictating it. I'm not totally pain free, but I'm doing much, much better, and I'm once again able to edit the LTT videos that you all enjoy.

 

I hope that clears everything up.

 

 

Proof it's me:

https://twitter.com/TaranVH/status/641458428917878784

 

LINKS:

 

Physical recovery info:

https://powerballs.com/  or NSDpowerus.com

https://www.reddit.com/r/Fitness/comments/2b4tso/hurt_your_wrist_heres_are_all_the_tips_i_have/

 

Dubious info about anti-inflammatories being useless: (I still have no idea if this is correct.)

http://www.tendonitisexpert.com/anti-inflammatory.html

 

TMS / psychosomatic stuff: (Also dubious)

http://blog.evanweaver.com/2012/09/05/a-programmers-guide-to-healing-rsi/

http://aaroniba.net/articles/tmp/how-i-cured-my-rsi-pain.html

http://www.rsipain.com/success-story-carpal-tunnel-syndrome-plantar-fasciitis.php

http://rsi-backpain.co.uk/

Audible link to Sarno's books (They are hard to find in a library)

http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Repetitive_Strain_Injuries_-_RSI

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Yay glad you're feeling better

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Dang, makes sense. Good to see some quality standards in reporting and fixing what you believe you did wrong. Takes courage to admit mistakes and work to fix them.

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Hey Taran! Wow that sounds bad.

Slit My head open when I was like 5. That was a horrible experience... Can't imagine non stop pain.

 

 

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Thanks you so much for responding to us the community taran we really appreciate what you do

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Make a second video on this subject for all the people who didnt watch the first video, or dont follow you on twitter/ltt forum :)

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Hey there Taran! Thanks for clearing that up.

 

Since I also had to deal with a RSI (albeit one that required surgical intervention to fix as it was a nerve injury), I might as well try out the methods you posted in this thread to help mitigate the straggling pain and get my arm back up to strength. Do you think it'll help?

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A better love story than Twilight.

 

I'm sorry.

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My answer to why Sarno's suggestions worked. Placebo.

@TaranLMG.

yup, sometimes you have up to 20% of subjects that the placebo effect is just a strong as the substance you are testing. fda testing isnt cheap now a days. 

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Hey there Taran! Thanks for clearing that up.

 

Since I also had to deal with a RSI (albeit one that required surgical intervention to fix as it was a nerve injury), I might as well try out the methods you posted in this thread to help mitigate the straggling pain and get my arm back up to strength. Do you think it'll help?

 

As someone who has done a fair amount of physical work, taking better care of yourself by getting stronger, stretching, massage, etc, definitely does help to both alleviate pain and help mitigate incidents of future pain.

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blablabla...

 

It's your diet bruh. What you put down your throat is very powerfully associated with how you feel and the state of your health. Uric acid is nothing to toy around with. Doctors are very poorly trained in nutritional research (that's academic and peer-reviewed.) Also, try this as it's helped me as well.

γνῶθι σεαυτόν

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Hey there Taran! Thanks for clearing that up.

 

Since I also had to deal with a RSI (albeit one that required surgical intervention to fix as it was a nerve injury), I might as well try out the methods you posted in this thread to help mitigate the straggling pain and get my arm back up to strength. Do you think it'll help?

 

My doctor tells me that the jury is still out on whether or not you should do physical exercise, or allow yourself rest, when it comes to an injury like RSI.

 

This whole experience has made me more wary of anything that ANYBODY has to say about RSI.

 

In my experience, the right KIND of physical exercise has been much more helpful to me than "rest." Try my methods, sure, but be careful, go slow, and don't keep going if it hurts. (Keep in mind that there may be a delay of a few hours before the pain starts - that happened to me and it was tough to figure out what it was.)

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This actually helped me a bit with the mental and ergonomics. I suffered pain in my wrist and forearms from using the mouse snd a controller too much. Taking about a weeks break from ecerything involing my wrists and changing my desk ergonomics helpd. But my biggest diffrence was lowering my mouse sensitivity from about 2500 dpi to 8-900 dpi forcing me to use my entire arm to move the mouse and use my wrist for slight adjustments.

I too workout but do you have any wrist specific exercises that i could add as a sort of conditioning for my wrists

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My doctor tells me that the jury is still out on whether or not you should do physical exercise, or allow yourself rest, when it comes to an injury like RSI.

 

This whole experience has made me more wary of anything that ANYBODY has to say about RSI.

 

In my experience, the right KIND of physical exercise has been much more helpful to me than "rest." Try my methods, sure, but be careful, go slow, and don't keep going if it hurts. (Keep in mind that there may be a delay of a few hours before the pain starts - that happened to me and it was tough to figure out what it was.)

Thanks for the advice. The nature of the injury I suffered is different (it was caused by repetitive motion, but it was a nerve getting caught in my elbow) and I have the scar to prove it, but since the operation I haven't really done much of anything to get my arm back up to where it should be. I will take it slow (perhaps carrying around desktop computers isn't what your doctor would consider "slow", maybe I should use these weights I have lying around instead), I just need to put more effort into prioritizing my arm's health. It's one of my two most important tools in any kind of work, after all.

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Thanks for the advice. The nature of the injury I suffered is different (it was caused by repetitive motion, but it was a nerve getting caught in my elbow) and I have the scar to prove it, but since the operation I haven't really done much of anything to get my arm back up to where it should be. I will take it slow (perhaps carrying around desktop computers isn't what your doctor would consider "slow", maybe I should use these weights I have lying around instead), I just need to put more effort into prioritizing my arm's health. It's one of my two most important tools in any kind of work, after all.

Be careful and remember that Taran is not a doctor. You may be putting yourself at risk and just because his experience is one way doesn't mean yours will be the same.

"It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out." - Carl Sagan.

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Be careful and remember that Taran is not a doctor. You may be putting yourself at risk and just because his experience is one way doesn't mean yours will be the same.

I know. I also know that the nature of my own injury is different than his, although I noticed some of the same symptoms he described (namely everyday things became hard... you have no idea how hard some things are with just one arm.) Exercises and taking breaks when it hurts should help, though, even with the different nature.

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my left-hand ankle joint has the same problem, sometimes, i cant even bend my hand and sometimes it's like the problems not even there, it comes on goes, although when it comes is usually when i sleep with my hand bent thew whole night. 
@TaranLMG will you be doing an update ? 

 

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All psychological disorders have physiological cause.

 

How can I say this with accuracy? Because, you cannot have pain or pleasure, without a chemical reaction within the brain. Although we may not be able to detect such a reaction, that doesn't mean that it isn't there, nor does it lend credence to the idea of a purely metaphysical cause. It simply suggests a lack of information about what is happening.

 

That being said, the brain is a remarkable computer. In fact it is the most sophisticated and complex computer known to science. In my opinion, there are certainly going to be pain causing illnesses that cannot be overcome with current modern medicine. Either because the dose required would be too high, or because we simply don't have the proper chemical to effect a cure.

 

I do believe in "mind over matter", but I attribute that power to the fact that we simply do not have a 100% accurate understanding of the human brain.

 

Oh, and I do suffer from RSI. In my right hand/wrist. I've had it since I broke my arm when I was 13. It doesn't flare up often, but there are a few specific circumstances that cause it to be noticeable. I wouldn't call it a pain, because when it does happen, it's more of a dull ache and numbness in my right forearm, extending down to the fingers. Ultimately it's like my right hand loses all strength and/or sensation. The only thing that seems to sooth it is rest, with some light massage.

 

Things that make it worse:

Intense laughter (hysterical laughter. When I used to play on console, my and my friends would occasionally go on "team killing sprees" because it made us laugh. This would actually cause my right hand to lose all strength to the point that I couldn't play anymore until it went away)

Heavy use of my right hand.

The sound/sight of someones arm being broken, does cause a minor ache in my right arm. The breaking of both my radius and ulna in that arm, was the worst pain I have ever experience in my lifetime.

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The Powerball certainly does help a lot with the RSI pain.

It certainly did help for me. Just doing it for a few minutes a day, without going crazy to beat some world record, just going at it "slowly" for a longer period of time is good for "rehabilitation". (maybe like 5 to 10 minutes)

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The Powerball certainly does help a lot with the RSI pain.

It certainly did help for me. Just doing it for a few minutes a day, without going crazy to beat some world record, just going at it "slowly" for a longer period of time is good for "rehabilitation". (maybe like 5 to 10 minutes)

 

Makes sense, it gently works basically everything in your arm.

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