In carpal tunnel syndrome and other types of RSI, the blood flow to tissues or nerves gets restricted in some way. Few physicians can really explain how or why. By restricting this blood flow, the tissue gets a slight oxygen deprivation, which results in pain. There's enough oxygen to keep the tissue alive, but not enough to keep it doing what it's supposed to do, and this, I can tell from seven years of experience, is very painful! Additionally, there's a build up of all kinds of break-down products which can't easily find their way out of the tissue, because of the restricted blood-flow. I do believe that this might be an additional pain factor.
I have developed pain throughout my whole body, from my right hand, wrist, lower arm, elbow, upper arm, shoulder, neck, upper and lower back, buttocks and at times, the left arm area as well. Next to this severe pain, I also have a lot of head aches, which I guess are a result from the tension I build up in my neck and back muscles. Mentally, I feel totally fit, but my back and arms just feel tired of hurting.
|Ouch, that hurts!|
I have always wanted to learn to build websites, to design stuff using computer programs, write a book or two and at some days I would even like to play a game for an hour or so. Apart from the missed opportunities, my RSI has mainly been blocking me in my writing, until now. In the past few weeks, I developed severe pains in my arms, back and neck. My left shoulder, which used to be fine, is terrible. Today, I even took a day off from work, because I couldn't even think of going back. My temporary work consists of conveyor belt work. I have to pick stuff up or put stuff on it, repeatedly. Which, as you would expect, leads to pain.
I once read that there is a psychosomatic factor in RSI. This basically means that something in your unconscience is bothering you and in some way leads to physical (somatic) effects. These don't necessarily have to be bad effects. Think of 'blushing'. This happens without any conscience involved. You can't even stop it if you want to. This can sometimes lead to funny scenarios.
I know from my own experiences with anxiety, which I have suffered from at times during the past 5 years, that something psychosomatic is going on there. I learned that, when I am in my comfort zone, doing the things I like, I don't feel anything, no anxiety, no stomach aches or reflux feelings (they come together with the panicking). When I am out of my comfort zone, in places I don't want to be, or feel very nervous about (like meetings, job interviews, sometimes even visiting a friend I haven't seen for a while), I do get the panic attacks. This tells me that there is NOTHING wrong with my body. I am not sick. I do have the ability to feel great! I even do so on a regular basis. There's just those times that I don't that I want to get rid of.
Something similar goes for my RSI complaints. When I am on a vacation, I feel great. Not tired, no pain, full of energy, ALIVE! At those moments, I am totally distracted from the things that 'trigger' my RSI. When I'm behind my keyboard, I think of RSI, I hope it will not affect me as badly as it did before. It's like a Pavlovian effect. Due to previous experiences with pain in certain positions, the body starts creating the pain when you're in this position again. Isn't that strange? I totally recognise this.
Just a few days ago, I was searching Twitter for "RSI" and stumbled upon some guy's blog, on which he wrote an article about RSI as a psychosomatic disorder. He referred to a book written by Dr. John E. Sarno, a medical doctor and Professor in rehabilitation medicine (or something similar) in New York. The book was called 'The mindbody prescription'. This book describes a disorder called Tension Myositis Syndrome, a psychosomatic syndrome, resulting in physical pains (back, neck, carpal tunnel syndrome, whiplash, and many more). The author has a history in medicine since 1950, and treated literally tens of thousands of patients with these complaints. He 'cured' them!
|Dr. John E. Sarno|
Sarno describes these 'vague disorders', which are often hard to cure by traditional medicine, as a defense mechanism. To put it briefly, he claims that the brain is divided into two compartments, the conscience, and the unconscience. As I explained earlier, we can all agree that these two exist. The unconscience serves as some sort of hard drive device, storing emotions and feelings built up from your childhood until the present, good ones, but bad ones too (he names divorces, death of loved ones, little attention from one of your parents, being perfectionist, people pleaser and more)! The unconscience tries to hide the bad emotions from getting to the conscience, causing emotional pain in the conscious mind. To do so, the unconscience has developed a trick! To distract the conscious mind from these bad emotions (or rage, as he calls it), the body develops pain. His theory is that the mind 'thinks' that this physical pain is easier to deal with than the emotional pain. Which, of course, sometimes may be the case, depending on the type of bad emotion or the type of complaints!
Reading this description I was immediately interested, knowing that psychosomatics do occur and exist in my own daily life. I certainly do fit the profile he describes (for example; I decided to stop seeing my father when I was eleven years old, and I haven't heard of him since, and there are several other things I could have unconsciously been building 'rage' for... I didn't know that, for sure!). I am open to any explanation. I decided to buy the book, which, unfortunately, was not available on Kindle in Europe. I decided to buy his latest book instead; 'The Divided Mind'. The other book I ordered in paperback, and is on it's way... I have been reading this book for days now. It is filled with the theory, the treatment and the views of several physicians with decades of experience in medicine. This is not a vague, alternative medicine-promoting book, but a book reviewing the psychological perspective of medicine, written by scientists with years of experience in their own fields.
And now for the astonishing, almost unbelievable part...
Sarno claims to be able to cure people, by just educating them! He claims most of his patients are 'cured' within just weeks, by only reading his book!! His treatment is fully based on self-awareness. There's a few things he asks you to do:
- At first he does a medical examination, he is a medical physician at a hospital.
- Get a thorough understanding of why the body develops these pains (the brief description I wrote about above)
- Know that your body is fine, there is NOTHING wrong with your body. (even if consulted with herniated discs or something alike, these occur in a large percentage of the people, are fully natural and no reason to be in such pain, he claims).
- Focus on the emotional pains, which could be the pains you built in your unconscience? List them. Write an essay about each one of them.
After this, read your list every day, let your conscience and unconscience accept the built up rage. Study the theory everyday, repeat every day that there is nothing wrong with your body (This works in many different ways, tell yourself you feel good in the morning, you will feel better than if you'd tell yourself the opposite).
That's it! (as far as I understand, at this moment)
I have searched the internet. All I found was people that are either skeptical and therefore not willing to try it, OR people who readily accepted the theory and were cured in a matter of weeks. Sarno claims to have a 90% success rate. The 10% he accounts to the people who do not believe in his theory, who aren't willing to accept it and fully cooperate. I didn't find one negative story. He cured thousands and thousands of people by educating them.
I have not yet finished reading 'The Divided Mind', but already I can recommend it to anyone. It's an interesting read. Of course, the above description is totally incomplete and ridiculously unprofessional, written by me... If you truly want to know about this, buy his books and read them.
I know I will try it, what if there's a chance I can 'cure' my pain... What if he's right?
(did I mention that I haven't felt any pain in my hands while I was writing this blog?)
Let me know your experiences with RSI, back pains, Dr. John E. Sarno or anything related. Please feel free to share in the comments below.
Follow me on Twitter!