Arthritis

Question
Posted by: | 2017/10/25

Q.

Mysterious, chronic, and debilitating computer-related repetitive stress injuries?

I am a 22-year-old white male in generally good health, except that I have had debilitating pain in my hands and other parts of my body for more than three years from computer usage, piano playing, texting, and similar fine motor activities. Apologies in advance for including so much detail, but these injuries are massively reducing the quality of my life and I am trying to include all possibly relevant information. I have seen many doctors and physical therapists with no diagnosis so far. In the meantime, I have made many adaptations to address the problem: -in place of a keyboard and mouse, I exclusively use voice recognition software, in combination with various alternative hands-free mice -I don’t text, or use my phone for anything but making calls -I quit piano -I learned to write with both hands -I learned to play video games with my feet, then quit altogether Unfortunately, from my adaptations, I have incurred a chain reaction of repetitive stress injuries in other parts of my body, including but not limited to: knee problems from a foot mouse, neck problems from a head mouse, even throat problems from excessive speech recognition usage. I have observed some reliable commonalities in these injuries. First, the pain is delayed from the repetitive activity that causes it. Second, the pain seems to exponentially accumulate from the repetitive activity, often taking weeks to subside even after I stop the activity. Third, the worse the injury is, the greater the list of activities that irritate it, and the faster it gets irritated. Finally, once beyond a certain point of injury, it seems like the underlying problem never goes away with rest. With my most injured body parts (hands and knees), months (and sometimes years) of rest cause the symptoms to vacate only temporarily—as soon as I return to an irritating activity, pain returns as quickly as ever. However, in a few cases, I have responded quickly enough and with enough rest/behavior modification to allow other injured body parts to pretty much fully heal. This is what the pain/irritation feels like in my various injured body parts. Hands: the first thing that happens when I start to do an aggravating activity (such as typing) is that I get significantly increased blood flow to my hands. The veins in the backs of my hands pop out and my hands feel like they are swollen with fluid. Although uncomfortable, this is not actually painful at first. However, if I continue the activity, then pretty soon I

Expert's Reply

A.

Arthritis expert
- 2017/10/27

You may have flexor tenosynovitis in the hands and this often responds to cortisone injections.

It also sounds like you may have fibromyalgia and you should probably see a rheumatologist.

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