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I had to quit programming for six years because of an RSI. In attempt to get around it, I even spent a year and half (painfully) writing a new kind of 'higher level' text editor better for use with motion sensors [1]. Now it's been ten years, and I still don't exactly know what the cause was/is, though I've got it to a point now where it's at least tolerable.

I think the most confusing factor here is the (potential) mental component to these injuries. I personally ruled that out as a possibility for the first five years or so just because it didn't really fit into my understanding of things that I could experience physical pain via something mental. The idea was tantamount to calling the pain artificial, which I knew was very much not the case.

The article (and others here) mention Dr. Sarno. I also read a couple of his books, and a couple more from others who think in the same basic framework. It helped. I'm certain there is/was a mental component—but I don't think Sarno et al's framework is good enough yet (don't get me wrong though—it does work for some people). Aside from results being imperfect, the fact that much of it is grounded in Freudian psychology is an obvious defect. I think they've hit on some techniques that can help, but the theory is bad (which prevents them from effectively refining the techniques).

My latest idea on what has caused all of this: I had some kind of physical injury early on (maybe tendonitis), and it eventually resolved itself. However, I developed this habit of very anxiously monitoring/testing the wrist/hand pain whenever using mouse and keyboard, which would cause the muscles to tense to the point of being painful. Unfortunately, my mind failed to distinguish between the original pain and that caused by tensing, so I continued operating under the assumption that I had some RSI, and continued vigorously worrying about it and attempting to solve it.

The only thing I can think of doing now (and which I am actively doing), is getting better at meditation so I can hopefully one day let go and not worry and tense up while using mouse/keyboard :/

[1] http://westoncb.com/projects/tiledtext

Sarno's program completely cured my RSI. My highly-regarded surgeon was ready to operate for cubital tunnel, which had been getting progressively worse for about 2 years. I was to the point that I would feel pain all the time while typing, and had some tingling/numbness. I was concerned about surgery, so I decided to try some alternatives first, and the stuff from Sarno was amazing. It was scary as hell to just tell myself that the pain wasn't real, and that I wasn't hurting myself, but I figured it was worth a shot.

It's been 10 years since then. I now have zero problems, no special exercises, no ergonomic keyboards, chairs, desks, etc. I also regularly play ARPGs like Diablo 3 and Path of Exile, which make most people with RSI cringe.

I agree that Sarno's framework is not perfect. I'm not sure I buy his explanations as to why it works, but it does work. The key is that there is a huge mental component to RSI (or, at least, to some cases of RSI) that most people don't acknowledge. The monitoring/worrying about damaging yourself does something to those muscles/tendons that builds up over time.

I started having back issues about five years ago. It got so bad that getting out of bed in the morning was a struggle. I was diagnosed with a herniated disc at L4/L5. I tried chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage therapy to no avail. Then I came across one of Sarno's books. I remembered Howard Stern singing his praises years ago on his show, so I decided to at least give it a shot. I was very skeptical, but within the first twenty pages Sarno had described my situation to a tee. I started following his advice and saw immediate results. I was back to running and doing yoga within a few days and a couple weeks later I was back in the gym doing dead lifts. Aside from an occasional flare up during stressful periods, I haven't had any issues since then.

However, I don't agree with Sarno's view that the mind uses pain as a diversion from psychological or emotional issues. I think it uses to pain as a way to get our attention, to let us know that we need to deal with those underlying issues.

Your interpretation matches my experience, too. It seems more like the mind uses pain and anxiety to call attention to the fact that something is wrong, rather than to distract us.

I am another Dr Sarno advocate. I had been out of my startup for two months, in utter despair. I happened to bump into a friend who recommended the book and free online course. It changed my life.

Another Sarno cure checking in. I had debilitating "RSI" for two years. Read The Mindbody Connection by Sarno and within just a few days I was feeling much better. Within a couple of weeks I was virtually back to normal. It's been almost two years now since my recovery and I am doing great. I would highly recommend Dr. Sarno's books to anyone with "RSI".

That should be The Mindbody Prescription, not The Mindbody Connection.

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