Control and recovery from RSI conditions benefit from a good patient understanding of their condition, causation, symptoms and treatment. Information is therefore very important to RSI sufferers. There are no off the shelf remedies for RSI. In fact, recovery is likely to involve a combination of treatment and lifestyle changes, with the relative importance of each varying from individual to individual. Assistance is increasingly proffered from all angles, including doctors and physiotherapists, alternative health practitioners, ergonomists, technology companies, scientists and lawyers. Not only that, within each of these respective fields opinions and schools of thought vary thus adding to the complexity and confusion of the situation. Ultimately, especially if you are an RSI sufferer, you must research, discuss, question and analyse the information available and make up your own mind as to the best course of action to take. The books included in these reviews have provided help to some RSI sufferers dealing with their conditions. These book reviews are provided by individuals and are not provided as recommendations by RSI Action.
You are advised to consult your doctor with regard to any matters relating to health, in particular regarding matters that may require diagnosis or medical attention.
Books reviewed below:
- Body Learning: An Introduction to the Alexander Technique
- Conquering Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – A self-care program to recover from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (and related Repetitive Strain Injuries)
- Coping successfully with RSI – Overcoming Common Problems
- Dr. Pascarelli’s Complete Guide to Repetitive Strain Injury – What you need to know about RSI and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- It’s Not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome! – RSI theory and therapy for computer professionals
- Repetitive Strain Injury – A computer user’s guide
- Repetitive Strain Injury – A handbook on prevention and recovery
- RSI: How to avoid it, and what to do if you’ve got it
- The Alexander Principle
- The Alexander Technique – A Skill for Life
- The Handbook of Self Healing
- The Mindbody Prescription
- The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief
- Understanding and Treating RSI
- Work Related Upper Limb Disorders
Body Learning: An Introduction to the Alexander Technique by Michael Gelb
published by Aurum Press Ltd, revised in 2004 ISBN 1-85410-959-6
Conquering Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – A self-care program to recover from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (and related Repetitive Strain Injuries) by Sharon Butler
published by New Harbinger Publications Inc, ISBN: 1-57224-039-3 This book contains a large number of stretching exercises targeting various areas in the upper body which may be causing problems by pressing on nerves and ligaments. Diagrams help to choose the exercises which might help against specific symptoms. A couple of these exercises are used by myself for maintenance, it is also worth checking out the website (www.selfcare4rsi.com) which has more specific stretching programs for conditions such as carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel syndrome (unfortunately not free).
Coping successfully with RSI – Overcoming Common Problems by Maggie Black & Penny Gray
published by Sheldon Press in 1993 ISBN 0-85969-811-4 Now here’s a fantastic ‘bed-side’ book. It’s actually quite old but incredibly helpful. Pretty much everything I read in this book (and Suparna’s book) I certainly go along with (after much reading and research). This is a small, concise and straight to the point reference for RSI sufferers. The book has given me practical advice and helped to get back to work.
Dr. Pascarelli’s Complete Guide to Repetitive Strain Injury – What you need to know about RSI and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome by Dr Emil Pascarelli
published by John Wiley & Sons, June 2004, ISBN: 0-471-38843-2 Dr Pascarelli has spent many years studying overuse injuries and RSI. Dr Pascarelli founded the Miller Health Care Institute for Performing Arts in 1985, and has undertaken painstaking and detailed analysis of the activities of his patients (Musicians, dancers and keyboard workers of all varieties). He has examined more than 4,000 patients with RSI, and used that knowledge to help his patients, and through his book the wider RSI and medical community. This book provides the background, explanation of the injury mechanisms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Its deals mainly with keyboard operators and musicians. It’s provides a good glossary and extensive further reading. This book by Dr Pascarelli is considered the ‘bible’ by many people that seem to write about RSI. It’s where I first saw a picture of the ‘Goldtouch’ keyboard and the ‘Cirque’ touchpad (which I’ve found extremely helpful). This might be a ‘bible’ but I didn’t find enough ‘positive outlooks’ in there for me. I believe rest, pacing, breaks, stretching, upper body fitness, correct workstation setup and of course maintaining good posture to be the key factors in helping combat RSI symptoms.
It’s Not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome! – RSI theory and therapy for computer professionals by Suparna Damany and Jack Bellis
published by Simax in 2000 ISBN: 0-9655109-9-9 The book is by Suparna Damany – who I believe to be an absolute Godsend for RSI sufferers. It’s recent and up to date. Shame she lives in the US though – she’s worked wonders with people. A generally new, well-constructed and positive outlook for RSI sufferers. I found ” It’s Not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome!” pretty helpful. Although it is the only one I read. I presume that this will be well known to all, but I guess I found it helpful because it offered biological theory on what the problems may be and then exercises to address. Most importantly it was very positive. Excellent book, just could not put it down. A full explanation of the ‘injury’ mechanisms, treatment and advice on prevention. I do have a concern about the suggested recovery period of 24 weeks treatment; this may be a bit optimistic.
Repetitive Strain Injury – A computer user’s guide by Dr Emil Pascarelli and Deborah Quilter
published by John Wiley & Sons in 1994 ISBN: 0471595330 Dr Pascarelli’s first book on RSI. A very good book particularly for RSI sufferers who are keyboard users. Covers all factors resulting in RSI conditions, provides help to recovery and getting back to work. Some of the later chapters (USA employment conditions and legal issues) are not relevant to the UK. This book is now out of print that can be found on second-hand market. Dr Pascarelli has now published his “Complete guide to RSI” (see above).
Repetitive Strain Injury – A handbook on prevention and recovery by David Ruegg
published by Largo in 1999 ISBN 0-9534718-0-2 Gives advice on treatment and prevention based on personal experience. It is a useful introduction to the subject. See http://www.rsihandbook.info
RSI: How to avoid it, and what to do if you’ve got it by Tonia Cope Bowley
published by Adlibbed Ltd ISBN 1-897312-23-7 T his book is the best self-help book on RSI I have ever seen. Also draws attention to the most neglected aspect of children’s use of computers – how to avoid the physical dangers of excessive use at the time of active growth.
The Alexander Principle by Wilfred Barlow
updated and published by Orion in 2001 (originally published by Gollancz in 1973) ISBN 0-75284-390-7 Alexander Technique teaches the individual how to use the self in a way that minimises muscle tension. I have found this useful in managing my RSI. This book provides a very useful and informative introduction to the technique by Dr Barlow who was taught by F M Alexander himself.
The Alexander Technique – A Skill for Life by Pedro de Alcantara
published by Crowood Press in 1999 ISBN: 9781861262868
The Handbook of Self Healing by Meir Schneider, Maureen Larkin and Dror Schneider
published by Penguin Arkana in 1994 ISBN: 0-14-019331-6 Very comprehensive guide to simple, gentle exercises accompanied by helpful drawings. Special programmes for a wide variety of ailments including RSI, back, neck and vision problems – exercises for prevention as well as cure. Meir Schneider is based in San Francisco but does do workshops in the UK every year, which I have been to – he is an extremely knowledgeable and inspirational teacher of bodywork. The website of his school is http://www.self-healing.org
The Mindbody Prescription by John E. Sarno
published by Warner Books in 1998 ISBN: 0-446-67515-6 “Dr Sarno identifies stress and other psychological factors as contributing to the onset of body pain (he does not say that the pain is ‘all in the mind’ at all, but is a result of the interaction between the mind and body). In his book, he outlines a method of overcoming this pain without special exercises or drugs. It is especially useful for RSI that doesn’t respond in the long term to other treatments. When I initially found The Mindbody Prescription, I was sceptical, but I also had nothing to loose. I read and re-read the book, and was able to apply the ideas in them to my RSI. Within a couple of months, I recovered completely from RSI. Not long afterwards I typed a 10,000 word dissertation, which would have been unheard-of before. The book may not be for everyone, but as I found, it was worth a go.”
“I managed to cure my RSI through reading this book, after over 10 years of RSI. It’s not an immediate cure (I took a gradual approach, and it was about 6 months before I was cured). The book gives the impression that it is an immediate cure, but for many people it takes a while before they notice any difference.”
“A word of caution, Dr Sarno’s book does not acknowledge the current medical understanding of RSI conditions (see other books by Suparna Damany and Dr Pascarelli), and offers his psychological approach in lieu of physical treatment.”
The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief by Clair Davies, Amber Davies
published by New Harbinger Publications Inc, in July 2004 ISBN 1572243759
Understanding and Treating RSI by Dr Paul MacLoughlin
published by Chelsea Press in 2005 ISBN 0954915801 Dr MacLoughlin’s second book on RSI. This book explains most of the specific types of RSI (e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome, tenosynovitis etc.), but only provides a short passage on diffuse RSI (which it calls Non-specific Pain Syndrome). The book provides a good insight into medico legal issues associated with RSI, it has several excellent anatomy illustrations, an extensive glossary and references.
Work Related Upper Limb Disorders, by Dr Michael A Hutson
Published by Hodder & Stoughton 1999
An excellent book for a medical readership with sections on pathophysiology and treatment. (RM)
© 2011 RSI Action…