This month was the turning point for me. I was still getting lots of treatment – a massage every week, a couple of chiropractic adjustments a week! But the same problems were escalating. An increasing problem in the past few months had been the emergence of a ‘dead arm’ feeling. The feeling emanated from the shoulder down; it felt like the shoulder was out of position. The dead arm feeling would alternate from left arm to right but mainly on the left side. I’m left handed and in most RSI-type cases the worst side is on the writing side. The dead arm sensations lasted several hours, my hands grip strength was getting incredibly weak too.
I found a website that promoted Active Release Technique, a soft-tissue manipulation therapy that aimed to eliminate scar-tissue adhesions that form between weak and misused muscles. I located a close ART provider who was both a physiotherapist and chiropractor. He found a lot of scar tissue around neck/scalene/shoulder/arms/wrist that were entrapping nerves. See report. Like the Rehabilitation Doctor, he identified a very weak thoracic base. To his credit he very firmly planted the fact that only a lot of exercise and stretching would get me out of this problem. I began my proper physical recovery program in late November; more details on the exercises are listed in the exercise program section.
Some progress at last! The November/December periods were few of the hardest months of my life. I was suffering tones of anxiety/stress and clinical depression but adhered strongly to the physical recovery program with belief in myself. The pain was still ever present, but ever so slowly I became more aware of pain patterns (eg worse in morning and night and after workout session) and also practiced Yoga Nidra, a deep-relaxation meditation, on a daily basis. I was slowly getting more and more in touch with my body, muscle awareness was growing, and daily chores fatigued me less and less. More importantly nerve-related pain such as aching/burning hands, dead arms were slowly, but surely, going.
But a new problem emerged – referred nerve pain into both feet. I suspected there were some problems with the feet in the past, for example some massage sessions over the lower back produced pins and needles in the feet, but never thought it was that major… I was wrong.
As it turned out all the problems around the upper extremity that where putting pressure on nerves – dysfunctional thoracic and next joints, TMJ disorder, forward head/neck carriage – had similar sister problems down around the lower lumbar spine such as Iliac/Sacral dysfunction lordosis and a host of other dysfunctions.
Again similar reasons prevailed: tight and weak muscles. My hamstrings, hip flexors and abdominal muscles were so restricted that if I was to go to a kneeling/praying position I would feel a strong stretch that I could not hold for long.
Most RSI sufferers predominately only complain of pain somewhere in the upper extremity, so I found it strange that I was getting such strong nerve pain in both feet, very similar to the pain in the hands, diffuse aches, occasional burning, and occasional ‘dead’ feeling. But basically the reasoning behind the pain is the same – muscle injury – scar tissue formation – entrapped nerves, the bulk of the pain is referred to the extremities.