Recovered from 4 years of computer hand RSI

Hey guys, I used to have chronic hand pain from using the computer until I completely recovered with the help of the information and techniques I found on the TMS wiki. I posted my success story there previously in the hopes of helping others overcome similar issues ( But I am reposting here for increased visibility. I am so thankful to everyone who contributes to this effort and who helped me get better. I hope that my post can help others in similar situations. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or want to talk about your own issues.

Original post:

Hey guys, just thought I'd post my success story so others can hopefully learn from it. I'm going to keep it pretty short (or at least short relative to the length of my experience), but if it sounds like you and you want more detail, feel free to comment or message me with questions.

I recently recovered from 4+ years of extreme computer-associated RSI ( pain in my both of my hands. The pain first started when I was 19 and had my first internship. I was using the computer with poor ergonomics for 25-30 hours a week. I started to have pain the backs of my hands from typing. The pain got exponentially worse very quickly--a dull, throbbing pain, that eventually culminated in a triangular bruise on the back of one of my hands. I quit my internship early, and rested my hands, eventually turning to a foot mouse and speech recognition to use the computer when my hands took longer to improve than expected. I ended up doing this for about a year until I got very similar pain in my knees from using the foot mouse. So I switched to a head mouse. And so on, for four years, until I had RSI in many body parts, but mainly my hands, knees, and throat. The general pattern was that the more I would use them for fine motor stuff, the more they would hurt, and they more they hurt, the faster they got worse. Rest would stop the progression, but it never seemed to solve the underlying problem (or at least not at any significant rate). The type of pain was also weird and varied--sometimes I would get muscles spasms, occasionally, some bruising, but mostly that dull, throbbing, aching pain.

Needless to say, I saw a shit ton of doctors and physical therapists throughout this period. The doctors tested me for a million ailments, and I came up normal on everything. The physical therapists gave me stretching and strengthening exercises that appeared to me to be counterproductive. In the end, my parents spent a lot of money to come to the conclusion that mainstream western medicine has no idea what was wrong with me (although they didn't always like to come out and say that).

Years later, I had managed to make it through college with my increasingly insane progression of alternative computer inputs (eye mouse, mouth mouse, etc.), and I was pretty much at the end of my rope. The only way I could use the computer was by talking (very quietly) to someone my parents had hired to use it for me. I was using this to apply to jobs, without any real hope of being able to actually do the jobs I was applying for (I'm in engineering, which requires constant computer use and fine motor work with hands).

I had read a little of Dr. Sarno's book previously, but dismissed it because a lot of what he talked about didn't seem to apply to me. My pain seemed to be very correlated with activity, and not with raising or lowering stress levels, as far as I could tell. But my mom became convinced my injuries were psychosomatic, so I decided to at least read the book. Then I found this wiki. For a week or so I couldn't decide whether or not I thought I had this condition (I had about half the indicators for, and half against). Until I found this video, by Forest, the creator of the wiki:

In about 10 minutes, he described remarkably similar symptoms to what I had, and said he got better via the methods described in this wiki. I decided to try going back to using the computer with my hands, while relaxing, and ignoring the pain, reminding myself that I was pretty sure it was not physically caused. And what do you know, it worked! Over about a month, 90% of my hand, knee, throat, and other pain evaporated.

I should mention that I am very much a perfectionist, and this incident make me realize that I tend to stress myself out a lot all the time. I have since worked on this, and it has improved significantly. But my hands got better faster and more completely than this phenomenon. I suspect this is what initially caused my pain, but that over time, it became more a self-perpetuating phenomenon--my pain got worse because I thought it would get worse, or because I was afraid it would get worse.

It's about a year later now and 99% of my pain is gone. And when it comes back, I just don't worry about. I remember it's fake, and it's gone within a few minutes or hours.

I was very close to giving up on engineering and becoming a full time lifeguard for the rest of my life (no repetitive motion in that job, and I'd done it before). But computers/engineering are my passion, and I really didn't want to do this. Now I have my life back. It's incredible. Being able to use my hands for what I want feels like a superpower.

Good luck!

Update today: still pain free, 2 years after writing this. I also recovered from back pain (that I previously attributed to scoliosis), and knee pain (which I previously attributed to running) in a similar manner.