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It's Not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: RSI Theory and Therapy for Computer Professionals

by Suparna Damany MSPT and Jack Bellis

listed in sports injuries

[Image: It's Not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: RSI Theory and Therapy for Computer Professionals]

This book was recommended to me by the Osteopath to my partner, who had been suffering intermittent neck and shoulder shooting pains, which appear to be related to posture and exercise regime. I thought that I had been well informed about carpal tunnel syndrome and Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), which play such a major role in injuries afflicting bodyworkers, massage therapists, not to mention all of us who use computer keyboards everyday.

The title It's Not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome suggests the depth of understanding and the comprehensive nature of the information contained within this book. Suparna Damany is a Physical Therapist and  Jack Bellis a long-time RSI sufferer of RSI, defined as muscle pain or nerve problems of the hands, arms or shoulders believed to be caused by overuse. It can also include the neck and back and may be accompanies by burning, numbness, tingling, or pins-and-needles sensations. The symptoms range from dull and diffuse aching to intense, searing, and very specific pain. The book is aimed at: new patients – typically long-time computer users who have just notices some aches or pains; chronic sufferers – individuals who already know that they have a serious RSI problem but have been unable to solve their problem; prevention techniques to make individual and entire workplaces safer from the ravages of RSI; and Therapists –  healthcare professionals who will find the techniques and exercises useful for their patients.

The authors seriously debunk a number of misconceptions held by medical and other healthcare professional. The first point of widespread confusion is mistaking carpal tunnel syndrome for all RSI... true carpal tunnel syndrome, in which the actual cause of the problem in confined to the wrist, is fairly rare. For most computer users, the cause of the problem is much more widespread, involving aggravation points up and down the neck, shoulder and arm. Attempts to address only the wrist area are almost always followed in a matter of months by a litany of other symptoms.

This books uses extensive case studies throughout to illustrate the seriousness of symptoms and they emphatically emphasize the importance of prevention. They also state that there isn't an instant quick magical cure; treatment releasing multiple trigger points is often long-winded, painful, with frequent apparent relapses. The authors discuss the [erroneous] traditional medical response, i.e. anti-inflammatories, surgery, and provide extensive reference to the existing published literature throughout. They then proceed to discuss their diagnosis of a general syndrome explaining most computer-related RSI, describe how to obtain relief with specific therapies, techniques by the user and the therapist, how to improve your work station and improve the use of your body.

Part I is the Introduction; Part II Theory consists of seven chapters: How Computer Users Get RSI; Prognosis; Explaining the Inexplicable, Predisposing Factors, Understanding the Anatomy, Classification of RSI Syndromes and Diagnosing RSI. The book makes extensive use of excellent and clear diagrams illustrating the correct neutral wrist position and dorsiflexion, bending the wrist, Schematic of the Root Causes of RSI, including feedback loops, showing that after working for many years in one position with millions of repetitions, how the initial responses of fatigue, slouching posture, muscle tension and chest compression, lead to secondary results such as compensation and overloading, inflammation and swelling, abrasion and irritation, nerve entrapment and loss of sleep. The ultimate results are pain, numbness and anxiety or depression. The authors are very detailed in the description of the symptoms, anatomy, tests – if you are a sufferer, your attention will be riveted. Part III The Information, references are in the middle of the book, are fairly extensive, including books and online information.

Part IV Therapy includes a Summary of Treatment Recommendations, Debatable Therapies, The Recovery Roller Coaster, Strategies for Hands-On Therapy, Reducing Habitual Muscle Tension, Workstation Modification; Ergonomics.

I have seldom seen a book written so extensively with the obvious purpose of helping patients help themselves and obtain help from appropriate health professionals. There are hundreds of exercises, detailed drawings of each exercise; every recommendation is backed up with huge experience.

Reading about the potential severity of symptoms which can be experienced by patients has made me more determined than ever to do my utmost to heed the exercises and practical tips about computers, keyboards and workstations for myself, my staff and my partner. This is an important book to keep on your bookshelf.

Further Information

Available from and

Sandra Goodman PhD

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