Forums > Social Discussion > Repetitive Strain Injury - RSI

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SunnySammy
SunnySammy

Watching the Sky
Location: Cambridge(ish)/Bath Spa Uni
Member Since: 22nd Aug 2005
Total posts: 453
Posted:Hi y'all

Reacently, I think I'm on my way to the wonderful thing know as RSI. As a Musician, this is, well, totally not what I need right now frown. I've made a few searches but nothing came up. I was wondering if anyone knew how to treat this sort of thing, excersises etc etc. I've just bought a Powerball (my friend has one and apparently they really help). So, yeah. Its in my right wrist, I broke it many a year back so mabye thats partly the cause aswell?

Cheers hug


sunny
I jumped into the river, what did i see?
Black-eyed angels swam with me. wink

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Durbs
Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England
Member Since: 23rd Sep 2001
Total posts: 5688
Posted:Personally I wouldn't use the Powerball unless specifically told too.

They can put a lot of stress on your wrist and could be doing more harm than good...



The best cure I found is rest, with lots of tiger balm smile

But as with most things, prevention is better than cure - what instrument do you play?



As a drummer, a spinner, a CJ'er and a PC user, I'm quite susceptible to RSI but with proper technique and position, with enough rest in-between things it's never really been a problem.



~~~

To elaborate, when I was at music college, I was playing drum kit for the best part of 6 hours a day, 5 days a week with practise at the weekend too, spinning pretty much every day too, and using my PC most days too.



Like you, I could feel "something" coming on in my wrists, a persistant dull ache, bordering on pain, stiff wrists etc.

Helpfully, my drum teacher sorted out my drum-stick technique which was slightly off, I switched to spinning slower and got myself a wrist rest for the keyboad smile

Sorted...


Burner of Toast
Spinner of poi
Slacker of enormous magnitude

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SunnySammy
SunnySammy

Watching the Sky
Location: Cambridge(ish)/Bath Spa Uni
Member Since: 22nd Aug 2005
Total posts: 453
Posted:Im a Clarinetist smile So my right wrist takes most of the weight so on a busy day at Uni it can get quite bad. Plus when i get problems like this (illness injury yada yada) I tend to have a real need to play more! redface

sunny
I jumped into the river, what did i see?
Black-eyed angels swam with me. wink

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Durbs
Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England
Member Since: 23rd Sep 2001
Total posts: 5688
Posted:*editted - to be put in my first post**

biggrin

EDITED_BY: Durbs (1164888934)


Burner of Toast
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Durbs
Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England
Member Since: 23rd Sep 2001
Total posts: 5688
Posted:It might not be the clarinetting (umm) that's causing the problem... do you use PC's much or spin overly heavy stuff?

Burner of Toast
Spinner of poi
Slacker of enormous magnitude

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SunnySammy
SunnySammy

Watching the Sky
Location: Cambridge(ish)/Bath Spa Uni
Member Since: 22nd Aug 2005
Total posts: 453
Posted:Thanks Durbs, I'll check with my teacher next week smile

sunny
I jumped into the river, what did i see?
Black-eyed angels swam with me. wink

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SunnySammy
SunnySammy

Watching the Sky
Location: Cambridge(ish)/Bath Spa Uni
Member Since: 22nd Aug 2005
Total posts: 453
Posted:Well, lately Ive been spinning alot more than usual and been playing more Bass Clarinet recently. I dont use the PC that often these days, only for regulars like E-mail and HoP etc etc.
I had a feeling there was 2 T's in Clarinettist . . . mind you doesnt look right ubbrollsmile


sunny
I jumped into the river, what did i see?
Black-eyed angels swam with me. wink

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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:Online try looking up Repetitive Motion Injuries and see what that turns up.

I am starting to develope a wicked case of tendonitis. A friend who is a chiropractor has given me some exercises to do. I have to change the way I do the things I repeat often (heavy poi, using a mouse, writing by hand extensively, henna, etc..).

I take anti-inflammatories when it gets too painful to handle and will alternate between hot packs and cold packs.
It does help alot and it is something that wouldn't hurt ya to try.

Also having a wrist brace with a metal support up it on the inside of the wrist and palm is very helpful.
PWB has had horrble tendonitis for over a decade and he has to sleep with these on his wrists every night, and it does help. It supports it in a nuetral position so that you can stress it. I use mine when I drive long distances or when I'm having a dreadful day with it.

I've tried accupuncture but it didn't work at all and accupressure hurt beyond words.

Durbs is completely right though in advising you to not use a powerball as they can make it worse from the additional pressure strain. I wouldn't do it unless advised by someone in a theraputic or medical field.

Hope this helps a bit. smile


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Birgit
Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 27th Jan 2005
Total posts: 4145
Posted:You can get wrist supports (about 5-10 quid) that take a lot of pressure off the wrists for example while you're sleeping.

I've got carpal tunnel syndrome, and it only really gets bad during the night. When, of course, you don't notice the bad positions you put your wrists in. So wearing those supports takes the strain off and lets me sleep.

Wearing them when spinning/typing (and I suppose clarinet-playing) doesn't work well though because they do restrict movements you may need for those.

Also there are some simple exercises you can do to release some of the pressure on your nerve, but I don't feel competent enough to explain them... maybe search online or ask a physiotherapist if you know one!

Good luck hug


"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

Owner of Dragosani's left half

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SunnySammy
SunnySammy

Watching the Sky
Location: Cambridge(ish)/Bath Spa Uni
Member Since: 22nd Aug 2005
Total posts: 453
Posted:Cheers for the info you guys grouphug , its shed a bit of light on everything, quite a few friends on my course have it bad, so hopefully i can sort mine out before it gets too serious! xx

sunny
I jumped into the river, what did i see?
Black-eyed angels swam with me. wink

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poig
poig

marmite and nutella sandwich
Location: Farnborough, Hampshire
Member Since: 19th Jun 2006
Total posts: 1590
Posted:I've got it frown It REALLY hurts playing bass guitar ubbcrying

THE hop Pyro.
(with parents)
Unowned

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SunnySammy
SunnySammy

Watching the Sky
Location: Cambridge(ish)/Bath Spa Uni
Member Since: 22nd Aug 2005
Total posts: 453
Posted:hug

sunny
I jumped into the river, what did i see?
Black-eyed angels swam with me. wink

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BansheeCat
veteran
Location: lost
Member Since: 29th Jul 2005
Total posts: 1247
Posted:Part of it is learning to avoid the postures that are aggravating the condition, and substituting appropriate positioning... Sometimes a good physiotherapist can help outline this in a manner specific to your symptoms and activities, helping you find a way to do what you do without pain .... A wrist brace can be helpful just to remind you not to do those things-- enforcing rest.

Good luck!


"God *was* my co-pilot, but then we crashed, and I had to eat him..."

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ado-p
ado-p

Pirate Ninja
Location: Galway/Ireland
Member Since: 13th May 2004
Total posts: 3882
Posted:Nuthin like a bit of RSI to slow down your day. I got it pretty bad too but because it was my posture that I was worst in, all the RSI from spinning and desk sitting mounted up mostly in my shoulder blades and the bottom of my neck.

I cant stress how important it is to look after this before it becomes a real problem. Personally, I've been in pain, everyday for at least a year. When It started I was completly debilitated. I could not type becasue of nerve sensitivity in my fingers, it hurt too much. The rest of my body felt the same. These days I have what feels like tendonitis on the entire left side of my body, including my arm, head, torso, legs and feet. The pain does not go away unless I work at it. The stress is too deep to be fixed by a course of massage or tigerbalm or stretching. Dont get me wrong, those things saved my sanity and work very well in the short term but if your doing constant movement with your body and it is repetitive then you need constant maintence

These days I am focused completly on my posture. Everytime time I walk, everytime I sit, stand still, lie down. I think about it and I try to relax. This was the key for me as I've tried hard to straighten myself up before and ended up only causing tension That made it worse. Relax.

You cant bend over without contracting the muscles at the front, think about that. If you try to straighten up by using the muscles in your back they will strain against each other and hurt. For sitting, having a cusion under your ass at the base of your spine helps alot. For standing, always, always bend your knees, after a while it will become natural. Focus on always having your feet flat on the ground and balance your weight. Try putting your heels, ball of your toe, side of your foot and the tips of your toes on the ground at the same time. Then bend your knees and feel the difference, try rocking around a bit to see how the balanace chances. Try walking like that. Feel weird? Keep at it. Try putting your foot flat and firmly on the ground as described and pull instead of pushing off the ball of your feet. Ever wonder why you look at the ground when you walk? Its becasue your leaning forward and using momentum to walk. Try sitting back into it. The more your relax and focus the more your body will find its natural posture, which is the one you want.

Work from your feet up to your neck relaxing one muscle at a time. Especially your lower back. Your hips can and will feel like they are hanging like a hinge like off the bottom of your spine if you can relax enough. Theres alot of muscle down there so it takes time to get to the deep ones. I worked up from my feet and am now working on my neck. I dont have a time frame Its just something I do all the time now.

Things that helped me alot.

Feet first. Flat and Balanced.

Knees bent.

Hips forward. Imagine a sexy hip thrust. Dont force it, imagine your core muscles relaxing and your hips dropping. This is easier to practise with your legs spread shoulder distance apart, feet forward, head up.

Chest level. Level with abdomen...

Head forward. Most of us have our chins tilted slightly forward or backward. Imagine a string pulling thee top of your head up. Your spine ends at the top of yoru neck. Stick your fingers in your ears and rotate your head...

Asanas. There are simple sitting and yoga positions that will contribute greatly to the practises above. I am working up to a lotus position right now and and find great comfort in a half lotus. Also, kneeling so your sitting back on your feet with your bottom in between your heels, the front of your feet are flat on the ground. Hands resting on your thighs. This is a very, very neutral position and whenever I am in pain I find great relief here.

Knees bent. wink

Breathing. Dont forget to breathe. Just watch your breath for a week or so. What part of your torso are you expanding your lungs into? I am practising breathing from the muscles right at the bottom of my abdomen right up to the bottom of my neck. expanding the points of energy (solar plexus for example) in sequence up and down. I expand both my front and back at the same time if i can. Its easier to start with shorter breaths. Breathing in for three seconds, holding for three, out for three. And then extend those times. You should never feel stressed, try it lying down if you have too... Try just breathing in and out so that your abdomen moves but your chest doesnt. Try breathing in and out using your chest (especially the high/upper part of your lungs you didnt know you had) and dont move your abdomen. Experiment. If it hurts stop. When you hold your breadth, focus on the parts that are tense and then imagine releasing all the tension with the out breath.

Expanding your lungs up and downwards instead of just 'out' will do amazing things for your posture.

Try lying down and, starting with your head, bring your awareness to each part of your body in order, including the spaces inside and notice notice how each one feels, sounds (your heart lungs stomach....) Then try extending that awareness to your whole body at once. Then try breathing better.

I'm no expert, this is just stuff I do to make myself feel better. The effects are very noticable and make my life more interesting and enjoyable. My stomach doesnt stick out anymore because of the arch in my lower back (I though it was fat, it really isnt....) My shoulders dont sag and my head is up. It makes me feel more confident and I have more energy for activity.

I learned alot in kung fu. I learned some of these lessons over five years ago when I was training and they are only starting to make sense now. I learned a few things in yoga. Mostly I am learning from my own body. It was built right, habits messed it up, pain is a commnuication and it means business so I try to listen to it as best I can.

Bear in mind, that all these things I am trying to get into my daily habits. My natural stance, walk posture is becoming a product of my concious effort to 'let go' of tension. It doesnt mean that I can forget about warming up, stretching and being carefull about my body when I'm excercising, spinning or anything else. I try to do all those things and I forget constantly.

You can practise relaxing all day, everyday, for the rest of your life... smile

I have found that when I am emotionally stressed my body reacts with instand tension and pain so when I feel the worst pains, I can usually identify something in my life that is causing me stress too... worth thinking about...

I hope this is helpfull to some of you guys, it works for me.


Love is the law.

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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:Okay, I'm back with a *wicked* flair up.

It's odd too. My right thumb, the mound under it and up a bit tinto my wrist, but not alot. It makes the entire bottom of my hand tingle.

I've tried adjusting posture when I am typing but I think this one may be hopeless as I am pretty sure it comes from a very intensive on my hands summer and that I work in a lab on at least 5 computers at a time (ie: not alot of downtime often).

However, we have the audition coming up tomorrow ( eek ) and in it I am doing fire fans (which worry me more than anything else) and hopefully after that at least two shows a day, also with the fans. I also have some writing/typing and sewing to do tonite, all of which are hand intensive.


I will be wearing the brace on the drive down, and tonite. I haven't worn it in awhile so I am just going to replace it. I am also taking anti-inflamatories and I will be doing alternating hot and cold tonite before bed.


What else am I missing?
How bad do you think it would be for me to put Icey Hot on my wrist before we start the performance?
I'm performing through the pain no matter what (yes, I know, stupid if it breaks me more) but, I'd prefer no pain so if there are suggestions..I am so open to them!

Oh, and portable suggestions are even better, since we'll be 5 hrs from home! biggrin

*hen pecking over and out!;)*


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Eera
old hand
Location: In a test pit, Mackay
Member Since: 29th May 2003
Total posts: 1107
Posted:Pele, your symptoms sound alarmingly like ones my mum had a few years ago, she had to have an operation to relieve a pinched nerve in her hand, which was unfortuntely unsuccessful, the muscle under her thumb has completely withered away.

*however*

A guy a know showed exactly the same symptoms, he was going to have the same operation, but when he visited a chiro for a lower back problem the chiro said it was more likely a problem in the neck. He was crunched and cracked and the symptoms have completely vanished.

It seems the most horrid things can be cured by a wiry, thin man in a blue t-shirt.


There is a slight possibility that I am not actually right all of the time.

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pricklyleaf
pricklyleaf

with added berries
Location: Manchester
Member Since: 7th Mar 2005
Total posts: 1365
Posted:Hey, I was going to write about carpal tunnel syndromme, I've been told that that can occur from excessive typing, however, I've just looked it up and it would seem that actually, theres a very low chance of getting it from typing. It could still perhaps, be a trapped/compressed nerve. I know I get tingling in my hands if I hold them in certain positions because the muscle in the front of my sholder is very tight and presses on the nerve.



I also go to the chiropractor, although I seem intent on pulling my neck muscles badly through pole dancing at the moment. It can definatley happen that you have a back problem/misalingment which caused pain to transfer into your arms (and forhead also). Although I think its less common to just be in your hands, usually it would be your upper arms hurting.



Anyway, good luck with it all, warm up really, really well, try to keep your wrists moving so they don't seize up, cold compress to break down the lactic acid, 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off and all that. (Again, I'm sure you know all this already!)



I'm going to bed. I'll make more sense tomorrow.

EDITED_BY: pricklyleaf (1192140499)


Live like there is no tomorrow,
dance like nobody is watching
and hula hoop like wiggling will save the world.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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bluecat
bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere
Member Since: 15th Dec 2002
Total posts: 5300
Posted:yep, Pele, I'd say (from personal experience and research) that you have carpal tunnel, not RSI. please, please go to a physio and get appropriate strengthening/releasing exercises, and stop doing things that make it bad. it just gets worse and worse if you rush it....

i;m one of the few people I've ever heard of who pretty much beat CTS, and still i have minor issues. i have performer friends who don't work now because they rushed back into performing thinking it was getting better...


Holistic Spinner (I hope)

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newgabe
newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali
Member Since: 3rd Mar 2005
Total posts: 4030
Posted:Indeed, Rob is right. Another problem with any of these ongoing things that affect/inflame nerves is that even when the problem is gone, it can take a long time for the nerve to 'calm down' again. It's like it remembers the inflammation (pain, tingling etc) as its 'normal' state and it over-reacts. I had nerve damage to my pelvis and shoulder through accidents and it took ages after the mechanics were OK again.
Indeed, Pele, get this sorted, with surgery if necessary. Prognosis is apparently usually good.


.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....

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Birgit
Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 27th Jan 2005
Total posts: 4145
Posted:What Rob and Gabe said. I have carpal tunnel syndrome (I've first been to a doctor about it 2.5 years ago, and thanks to the wonderful workings of the UK health service nothing has been done yet, though I'm working on it) - it started out really bad, and I had no feeling in 2 fingers for 5 months. Poi wasn't much of a problem I found, but staff spinning brings it on quite badly, still, even though it's calmed down much now.

Put on the brace when you sleep, too, because we often bend our hands in weird ways when sleeping without even noticing. Hot/cold stuff won't be much help though. If you have to type, make sure your hands are not bent over the keyboard. If you use a laptop, get an extra plugin keyboard - laptop keyboards are killers if you have CTS. Good luck!


"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

Owner of Dragosani's left half

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PK_
PK_

Lambretta Fanatic

Member Since: 20th Dec 2001
Total posts: 4991
Posted: Written by: Birgit


and thanks to the wonderful workings of the UK health service nothing has been done yet



frown

Sorry Birgit, this isn't a personal attack on you but it shames me that UK residents have to complain about health care, really! it's not that bad.... you could always go private ubbidea I did for my ear surgery.

Just that I get sick of hearing that statement about the NHS, all of the bad media coverage and so on... but them compare it to other countries!, people don't realise when they are better off.

Imagine going to the hospital, paying 150 to see a specialist, and get misdiagnosed, then that spirals and spirals as you get bounced from doctor to doctor and in the mean time your illness gets worse?.. I'm pretty sure that is how the British Health Service would be so corrupt with out the NHS... so so what if it takes a while to eventually get sorted out?.. if it is a minor thing, I'd sooner people with serious injuries be cured before me with a simple injury.

Though I will not ignore that the NHS has problems that it needs to improve and fix.


Pele I understand your circumstance, I hope that you get through the weekend without any serious damage. hug


PK.

"To be an angel, one need not have wings.
In giving love there is an equal grace.
Nor need one seek the aura in the face,
As love unveils the beauty of all things."

*Francois Couperin.

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faith enfire
faith enfire

wandering thru the woods of WI
Location: Wisconsin
Member Since: 27th Jan 2006
Total posts: 3556
Posted:It may be tendinitis (sp).

I got it from playing volleyball too much. The setting set both my thumbs and pointer fingers on fire. They had me wear a brace, stop volleyball practice for a bit. Also, was supposed to ice it and take antinflammatories.


Faith
Nay, whatever comes one hour was sunlit and the most high gods may not make boast of any better thing than to have watched that hour as it passed

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bluecat
bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere
Member Since: 15th Dec 2002
Total posts: 5300
Posted:it's the location and tingling that make me think its CTS

from wiki (not 100% i know, but accurate IMO in this case:
 Written by:


The first symptoms of CTS may appear when sleeping, and typically include numbness and paresthesia (a burning and tingling sensation) in the fingers, especially the thumb, index, and middle fingers.[3] These symptoms appear at night because many people sleep with bent wrists which further compresses the carpal tunnel. If the median nerve is already under stress, the increased compression of the bent wrist creates the numbness and tingling. Difficulty gripping and making a fist, dropping objects, and weakness are symptoms of progression. In early stages of CTS individuals often mistakenly blame the tingling and numbness on restricted blood circulation and they believe their hands are simply "falling asleep". In chronic cases, there may be wasting of the thenar muscles (the body of muscles which are connected to the thumb)

It is important to note that unless numbness or paresthesia are among the predominant symptoms, it is unlikely the symptoms are primarily caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. In effect, pain of any type, location, or severity with the absence of significant numbness or paresthesia is not likely to fall under this diagnosis.



Holistic Spinner (I hope)

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pricklyleaf
pricklyleaf

with added berries
Location: Manchester
Member Since: 7th Mar 2005
Total posts: 1365
Posted: Written by: PK_


 Written by: Birgit


and thanks to the wonderful workings of the UK health service nothing has been done yet



frown

Sorry Birgit, this isn't a personal attack on you but it shames me that UK residents have to complain about health care, really! it's not that bad.... you could always go private ubbidea I did for my ear surgery.

Just that I get sick of hearing that statement about the NHS, all of the bad media coverage and so on... but them compare it to other countries!, people don't realise when they are better off.

Imagine going to the hospital, paying 150 to see a specialist, and get misdiagnosed, then that spirals and spirals as you get bounced from doctor to doctor and in the mean time your illness gets worse?.. I'm pretty sure that is how the British Health Service would be so corrupt with out the NHS... so so what if it takes a while to eventually get sorted out?.. if it is a minor thing, I'd sooner people with serious injuries be cured before me with a simple injury.

Though I will not ignore that the NHS has problems that it needs to improve and fix.


Pele I understand your circumstance, I hope that you get through the weekend without any serious damage. hug



Out of my own personal experience with my Mum, yes the NHS tends to be good treating curable illnesses, A and E, that sort of stuff. However, they are rubbish with incurable diseases (try having to be in hospital for a week, staying in bed all day, no TV, eyesight and muscle tone not good enough to read, in a room by yourself, just because you're waiting for something as simple as an X-ray.

Anyway, don't get me started on the politics

offtopic

It seems like I shouldn't have changed what I wrote first then! If it is carpal tunnel, then if you really must type, make sure you keep your wrists lifted (you should do that anyway). I didn't realise so many people I know suffer from this, hug to you all.

Good luck


Live like there is no tomorrow,
dance like nobody is watching
and hula hoop like wiggling will save the world.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Birgit
Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 27th Jan 2005
Total posts: 4145
Posted:Hey PK, here's my story before you judge. I'm sure the NHS is good in some respects, but in many they're just not, and it's not uncurable problems, but things that could be quite easy to remedy that I'm complaining about. Read what I was referring to and let me know what you think then, please.

I first went to see a doctor in April 2005. She said it was probably carpal tunnel and I should go to see a physiotherapist (10 weeks waiting list) and come back in 2 weeks time if things weren't better.

At the time, the pain was so bad (it had come on really suddenly or I would've gone earlier) that when the 2 fingers of the right hand weren't numb, both right and left hand hurt so much I couldn't sleep. I asked for a splint, she said I couldn't get one before I'd seen a physiotherapist. So I bought them myself. After 2 weeks with about 2 hours of sleep average (4 in a lucky night) I went back to see her. She asked me if I wanted to be put on the list for physiotherapy which she'd told me 2 weeks earlier she'd put me on.

So, first physio appointment was cancelled. Second physio appointment was cancelled. Both Monday mornings, go figure. I went to physio for a while until the lady there decided she couldn't help me and referred me to the hand clinic physio. There I went for another 8 weeks or so, before that physiotherapist finally referred me to a specialist for injections or an operation because things hadn't much improved.

The physiotherapists were both lovely and very helpful, and they and the nerve test technician I met about a year later are the only people in the whole process that I am very grateful to.

I then got a letter from the specialist (1 1/2 hours bus ride out of Edinburgh by the way) that I was a "non-urgent case" and would be seen about 5 months later. When I finally went to the appointment, things had temporarily improved and my fingers had their feeling back, though I still had lots of nights without sleep. I thought, since I'd been referred for treatment, that I'd be treated. I was very wrong.

After the bus ride and another 1.5 hours of waiting I was seen by the doctor. He was the rudest man I've ever met. He took about 3 minutes to decide I was an "unusual case", which he'd known from when he'd first read my referral letter, and would have to go for a nerve test first, in Edinburgh.

I asked, was there to be another waiting list?
He said, probably.
I said, do you know how long?
He said, call them. Don't you understand what I'm saying? I told you you had to go for a nerve test first.
I said, I understand very well. Though the first doctor and 3 physiotherapists all told me it was carpal tunnel, and...
He interrupted, shouting: I'm the specialist, those people have no idea. Without the test you can't tell what it is. I think because you're a diabetic it's probably due to that.

Here I started crying, because diabetic neuropathy (like carpal tunnel really) needs to be treated ASAP. If he'd thought 5 months before when reading the referral letter that that was what I had, then it would've been an urgent case. I'd also like to mention that the waiting room had leaflets with "CTS can be treated, however it is important that you see a doctor straight away." (Which I'd done, but 10 months later I was just put onto the next waiting list!) I would've laughed at the irony if I hadn't been so scared.

Instead of getting sympathetic he tried to get me out of his room asap. But I asked:
So how come the first doctor I saw didn't refer me to have the test done, and you didn't either when you thought 5 months ago that that was what needed to be done? If someone had done that, I'd have the results already.
Again he shouted at me that he was the specialist and I'd have to do the nerve test first, didn't I understand?

So away I went, fuming. I gave the receptionist my new address to which I was going to move 2 weeks later for further contact and asked her if she knew how long the waiting list for the nerve test was. She said another 2 or 3 months.

It turned out to be another 4 months. In that time, yes, I DID check out private options. I called a clinic that my boss had recommended to me. They were very happy to do the operation but without any test. I asked them "so you would operate me even if you didn't know what for?" They didn't really have an answer to that one. They said though that the tests were not done privately anywhere as far as they knew.

For a while I was seriously considering dropping the PhD and going back to Germany to get treatment, but I'd been too far into it to just give up.

At the nerve test, the technician was very friendly and told me that the specialist was a well-known arrogant (son of unmarried parents) and many people complained about him. She showed me the results, but said she was not allowed to tell me what they mean, that had to be done by a doctor. I'd done a similar test in my uni course though and was a bit relieved - at least nothing to do with the diabetes. CTS could wait, even though that's not good in the long run either, but neuropathy would've been VERY bad.

So I waited to hear back from the specialist about what was to be done next.

And waited.

And waited.

One day in November 2006, 17 months after first seeing a doctor, I came home and had a message on my answering machine saying "We're sorry but we had to cancel your operation today."

I called them back the next morning, asking who? where? what operation. Apparently they'd sent me an appointment for my operation. I said I hadn't been seen by anyone since the test, I hadn't been told about the risks of an operation, how long I'd have to be off work, whether it was the right hand or the left hand or both, and most importantly I hadn't been told about the operation itself, nor agreed to it.

They said they'd sent out the information. I said I still had to agree before being given an operation date, and asked which address they'd sent it to. They told me my old address. I said I'd given them the new address in February of that year, did they not have it on the record? They said, "oh, is it (address line)?" I could only answer, yes, and by the way it's the address with the phone number you reached me under.

So they promised to send it all out again. Again nothing happened. My hands had improved a bit and I was extremely busy with the PhD, so I did nothing for a while, I'd heard that the specialist had retired and there was quite a backlog so I thought it was because of that.

In August this year (28 months after first seeing a doctor) I got a phone call from a private surgery asking if I'd take my operation the following week or not because they hadn't heard back from me. Again I was nonplussed since I'd never even heard of the surgery. They had been given my OLD address (again) by the hospital. At least they had the decency to ask before assuming I'd have the operation done. I asked whether it'd be possible to come and talk to someone beforehand because, again, I didn't really know what was going to happen and they obviously had all my data. They said they could only do the operation, not the outpatient appointment, but they offered to write back to the hospital and explain the situation. I was tempted to just go for it by then, but the date would've been in the first week of my new job, and you can't do science lab stuff well with at least one hand dysfunctional.

They must have done well, because only 10 days later I got a letter from the hospital with an appointment to see their new specialist (in November, whee! FINALLY!). However, a week after that I got a letter, dated 11th September, arrived 12th September, saying my operation was to be on the morning of the 13th September (!) This is not the only time they've done that, a friend of mine got a letter from them for another hand operation, but the letter arrived about 4 hours after he was supposed to be there for the operation.

So I think some things are not too much to ask, namely:
- For a doctor that says you'll be referred to physio to do so, and not wait for another few weeks, especially if there's a long waiting list already
- For a doctor who knows you'll have to have a test done before a decision about treatment can be made to refer you to that test PRIOR to a 5 month waiting list to see him
- For the same doctor to not expect a patient to turn up who has been referred to because of CTS, be told within 3 minutes that she might have a really bad neurological problem, and just leave without even explaining what's going on
- For a receptionist to change an address when given a new one
- For a receptionist to realise there is no correspondence back and check up
- For a receptionist to change an address when reminded for the 2nd time
- For ANYONE to not give people a set date for an operation without even talking to them about the risks involved and things concurred, possible alternatives AND OBTAINING AGREEMENT. These are legal requirements by the way.
- (And even if I had agreed to everything>) to give more than 15 hours notice before an operation. This is extremely important since I have no relatives in the UK, and apart from the usual stuff that's difficult to do one-handed (dressing, making food, washing dishes) I will need help with my diabetic stuff, so I'd need to organise for say my mum to come over and help with injections if I can't use my hand(s) or for them to either keep me in hospital or provide me with some help at home. It is also a bit optimistic to assume that everyone's employer is just fine with "oh, by the way, I'll be off for 2 weeks starting tomorrow", especially if they've had no warning whatsoever that something will come up soon.

Other than that, of course I'm not really happy that my patient data has been sent to whoever's living at my old flat for the last 1.5 years.

So sure, in other countries sick people are worse off, but within a supposedly kind of well working organisation such as the NHS, this mess should not have happened. In other countries (I've lived in one...) sick people are better off. Apart from the physios and technicians, there was not a SINGLE step that wasn't messed up.

So here I am now, hoping the best for my appointment with the specialist next month, but not expecting much by now. I'll probably be told that I've missed too many happy operation occasions to be considered for treatment or something ubblol Needless to say, if I see that leaflet "CTS CAN be treated, however it is crucial that you see your doctor straight away" still lying there I might start a fire and laugh maniacally.

Of course, I'm also less than impressed with the way the privates would just operate without a diagnosis.

Thanks by the way for tempting me to finally write this all down, I'll put it into a letter form and give it to the complaints department, regardless of what'll happen next, I was meaning to do this anyway. Of course, given that I'll be moving to Exeter in January, Bristol in May and Edinburgh again in September, I doubt I'll be in one place long enough to plough my way through the waiting list if there should be an operation after all. But such is life, eh?


"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

Owner of Dragosani's left half

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Birgit
Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 27th Jan 2005
Total posts: 4145
Posted:Just to clarify, the "NHS" was not meant as criticism of the whole structure. I am not well-informed enough to judge that, though on many occasions I have been involved with it and witnessed how it works I have been less than impressed. I recognise the need for and benefits of a public health service, but that doesn't keep me, and shouldn't keep anyone, for criticising the bits of it that very obviously do not work or need improvement. After all, apart from the obvious that it's about everyone's health, over 70% of the finances of the NHS come from taxes, so it's not like it's "all free for everyone" - it's a service most of us pay for.
(Sorry about going off-topic here, am happy to start a new thread though I suppose it might be good for people with RSI/CTS to read a bit about this experience)


"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

Owner of Dragosani's left half

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PK_
PK_

Lambretta Fanatic

Member Since: 20th Dec 2001
Total posts: 4991
Posted:Birgit,

You have very good cause to have concerns with the current state of the NHS and it's practices.

Some of which I have suffered in the past too.

NHS Admin staff is a big target area for problems and I can relate to that.

I also had physios tell me that there was nothing more that they could do with my back an that it was inoperable frown and still today do I live in pain with it.

As I said previously, in a sense the NHS works and works well but in others it causes concern and problems for others such as yourself.

I hope that you will get an outcome to your problems and I think that you would do right contacting the NHS complaints department.

I came to having to register with a doctor this afternoon, having suffered quite incredible pain in my ear last night, this is the second time that I have suffered with this same problem this year, my local health centre told me that they are not taking patients right now and I had to go and register with another practice frown and that I could not get an immediate appointment, so now I have to wait until I can call on Monday morning to find out if I can get an afternoon appointment with some one.

*sigh*


PK.

"To be an angel, one need not have wings.
In giving love there is an equal grace.
Nor need one seek the aura in the face,
As love unveils the beauty of all things."

*Francois Couperin.

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Birgit
Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 27th Jan 2005
Total posts: 4145
Posted:hug

See, it's really not like there's nothing wrong with it, and unfortunately any organisation can only be as good as its funding and its employees allow. In the case of my specialist doctor guy, there had been lots of complaints, both his own secretary and the lady at the nerve test told me, but apparently noone had tried or succeeded to correct his attitude a bit.

Hope your back gets better soon!!


"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

Owner of Dragosani's left half

Delete

PK_
PK_

Lambretta Fanatic

Member Since: 20th Dec 2001
Total posts: 4991
Posted: Written by: Birgit


hug

unfortunately any organisation can only be as good as its funding and its employees allow.



I agree but in the NHS's case... that would be the British Tax Payer as the majority... as for it's employees? they are faced with political and public standards, cut backs, lack of funding, short staffed.... like most companies! I'm afraid. frown

As for my back getting better.. not much chance of that but who knows what the future holds.


PK.

"To be an angel, one need not have wings.
In giving love there is an equal grace.
Nor need one seek the aura in the face,
As love unveils the beauty of all things."

*Francois Couperin.

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faith enfire
faith enfire

wandering thru the woods of WI
Location: Wisconsin
Member Since: 27th Jan 2006
Total posts: 3556
Posted:how's your thumb doing, Pele?

Faith
Nay, whatever comes one hour was sunlit and the most high gods may not make boast of any better thing than to have watched that hour as it passed

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PK_
PK_

Lambretta Fanatic

Member Since: 20th Dec 2001
Total posts: 4991
Posted: Written by: faithinfire


how's your thumb doing, Pele?



She is away for the next 3 days auditioning and performing.


Sending good vibes for that thumb! hug


PK.

"To be an angel, one need not have wings.
In giving love there is an equal grace.
Nor need one seek the aura in the face,
As love unveils the beauty of all things."

*Francois Couperin.

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Page: 12

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