Miscellaneous RSI Tips

Forearm Extensor Muscle Overuse and RSI

(Article updated 22 April 2011)

RSI symptoms are very often the result of extremely tight (overused) forearm extensor muscles. These muscles are located in the upper forearm region. They are used to raise the wrist and fingers, which is the primary motion involved in unergonomic keyboard and mouse driven activities such as having the hands bend backwards and fingers raised while hovering over a keyboard ready to type.

The tight and potentially knotted extensor muscles end up being over used, and don’t get the chance to recover. This leaves them in a permanently fatigued state, tightly tensioning the forearm tendons to which the extensor muscles are attached, causing referred pain down the tight tendons into the hands, wrist and fingers.

Forearm Extensor Muscles
Forearm Extensor Muscles

The forearm extensor muscles consist of five main muscles and are shown colour coded in their approximate position in the image above. The image is meant for indication only, and I recommend you search for a more detailed anatomical diagram for a more accurate placement.

The five forearm extensor muscles are –

  1. Extensor carpus radialis longus which attaches to the index finger but controls bending of the wrist towards the thumb as well as bending the wrist back.
  2. Extensor carpi radialis brevis which attaches to the middle finger and again controls the raising of the wrist.
  3. Extensor digitorum which attaches to all four fingers of the hand but controls the straightening of the 3rd, 4th, 5th fingers.
  4. Extensor carpi ulnarus which attaches to the 5th finger and is used to cock the wrist outwards, for example reaching for a far away key on a keyboard.
  5. Extensor indicis attaches from not far behind the wrist to the index finger and is the primary control muscle of that finger.

The extensor muscles exist at different depths in the arm and some are hard to precisely locate.

Over use strains along any of these extensor muscles from bad ergonomic practices (like having a clawed wrist at a keyboard) can lead to them developing knots (solid tissue that is scarred). This scarring results in pain (to press on at the location of the knots) but is mainly noticeable as referred pain down the forearms into the back of the hands and fingers – which is a classic RSI symptom. The extensor muscles (apart from the extensor indicis)  attach to various bones around the elbow joint, and some pain symptoms can also be found close in to the attachment points.

You can do a check to see how fatigued your forearm extensor muscles are. Using your left hand to check your right forearm extensor muscles press down firmly with the thumb onto the full area of the various forearm extensor muscles, move the position of the thumb over these muscles and check for pain. Repeat the diagnosis with the left arm extensor muscles and your right thumb.


If you are in any doubt about what these muscles do, press your thumb on your arm as above and raise your wrist up as if you were about to type. Also raise and wiggle your fingers. With your thumb, you should be able to feel the various extensor muscles tightening as your wrist and fingers raise.

If you find the extensor muscles to be in pain with the above procedure then these muscles are fatigued. It also means that ergonomically, you are not using your keyboard properly and are probably typing using the claw, which causes this type of problem. This type of condition is one of the most common mechanisms for RSI pain, but can easily be addressed by changing the way you type.

If you are experiencing pain in these muscles, it is time to try to relieve them which can be done by massage, icing and rest. Consult your doctor or a trained physiotherapist to find out the best techniques which may include ultrasound. You should also read my post about Trigger Point  Therapy on extensor forearm muscles which describes my findings from an excellent book for self help in RSI diagnosis and massage techniques. You may also want to try to find a knowledgeable Trigger Point massage therapist.

It is also time to re-assess your typing technique otherwise you may be placing yourself at risk of an RSI type condition. This may send the forearm extensor muscles into a more permanently fatigued state, from which recovery may be difficult, and in some extreme cases may be impossible.

In my own case, forearm muscle fatigue is the primary mechanism for my RSI pain. Unfortunately for me, I learned of the prevention techniques several years after my symptoms began, when these symptoms had already become more persistent.  I do however still get some much needed temporary pain relief these days from massage of the forearm extensor muscles and tendons, just not very long  lasting , but my injury is after all a long term one.

Related articles on forearm extensor muscles :

Typing with clawed hands

Forearm extensor muscle overuse wrist position and RSI

Does forearm extensor trigger point massage offerer a potential cure for RSI?

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Does forearm extensor trigger point massage offerer a potential cure for RSIDoes forearm extensor trigger point massage offerer a potential cure for RSI??

69 replies on “Forearm Extensor Muscle Overuse and RSI”

You made mention of the problems associated with lateral deviation of the wrist on November 23 last year and this post shares certain key issues whereby the muscles responsible for lateral deviation are the extensor carpi ulnaris (the one you mention here) and the flexor carpi ulnaris (just on the other side of the ulna). Typically it is the flexor group that gets too tight but it can be the extensor, as you say depending on the working positions. You did not mention the presence of the Radial nerve in the lateral elbow as a point to avoid massaging. As you promote self-administered therapies it is important to give as much detail as possible as massaging a nerve is counter-productive.
Thanks for you posts and keep it up!!
Doc Russ

Thanks for the clarifications. As you are probably aware I am not a medical professional, and don’t try to be. Hence my common references to consulting a doctor or medical professional for best advice.
In my past experience it has been extremely difficult to find anyone (OK, I’m talking last 13 years here) to diagnose or identify my problems. I think that education on RSI type conditions in the medical community over the last 15 years has been in a state of evolution hence limiting the ability to correctly recognise and diagnose these conditions. I can only hope that with the increase in numbers of RSI sufferers, these conditions will become more commonly taught in medical schools.

I was perhaps unfortunate to come through with this injury at the wrong time and hence missed out. It’s certainly been a self learning journey! It’s frustrating it’s taken me this long to figure out what I needed to know all those years ago!
I think that medical professionals that understand RSI need to have much closer ties with industry ergonomists and suffering workers so that diagnosis and worker education can happen much quicker. I believe we are still a long way away from this today, and as a result, cases of RSI type conditions will continue to dramatically increase.

If you can expand on the location of the radial nerve (a web linked diagram would be good) I would be happy to reference this. Also is there anything in your experience beyond massage that could help badly fatigued (and possibly permanently scarred) forearm muscle/ligament tissue? I’ve been through lots of ultrasound in the past, (but not much recently) which stopped helping as soon as i started using a keyboard again at work. Most of my attempted rehabs were done while still holding down the job that created the problem in the first place!

Thanks for your comments

I suffer from forearm muscle pain a little rather midwayr down the forearem . If the pain is caused by RSI.? Then I am a loss as to what might have caused it, as I don’t type!
The pain is certainly apparent in both arms! So any little computer work I do at home for pleasure, (I don’t play games, rather I might roam web pages), should confine any problem to the rh arm?

The pain is most noticeable when l press down on the arms, similar to leaning over the bicycle handlebars.

Alan Y

RSI is not solely restricted to computer use. Many repetitive task or hobbies can lead to pain eg piano playing etc.
Having said all that, my father who is 85 and has minimal exposure to computers other than playing a few card games on them at home has an occasional tweak of forearm/hand pain and that is down to his style of mouse, and bad ergonomics ie desk. He doesn’t use the computer much at all.
I’d advise you to consult your Doctor or Physiotherapist though to check your arm out.


Good tip on how to check with your thumb. I found it hard to tell whether I’m healed aside from curling a heavy dumbell or playing vigorus paddleball. Starting to play paddleball again was what caused my problem. My bicep and inner forearm didn’t get sore, my tricep got sore once and healed, but my forearm extensor muscles, which I had never thought about before, seem to be a problem.

Hi like Barry I found your tip on how to check with your thumb spot on. My current episode has been brought on from windsurfing at the weekend. I do not want to give up windsurfing.
Any site you would recommend for stretching/strengthening exercises to cure/prevent recurrence.

Hi guys. I am also been suffering from tight forearms for a long time. Unfortunately I did not seek out treatment until now (I’ve had the symptoms for 4 years) Right now the therapists are doing a combination of ultrasound and massaging to try and get the tightness to go away. I hope that eventually this will work, but I am worried that I’ve had it for so long that it won’t. Do you guys have any tips on how to get rid of it? Has there been any progress or success in gettting rid of long term fatigue?

Hi Landon, 4 years of symptoms is not good, but it’s not the end either. I’d say you should look at my recommendations about dealing with symptoms

The physiotherapy you are getting is realy only symptom relief. The root cause of your problem is the tenson in your forearms as you (presumably type). Until you look at where thee tensions are coming from and make adjustments, you will continually bounce between physiotherapy and pain. Id also check out the post which for me describes the hidden tensions in the forearms when a lot of people type.
It may well be that you need to make posture as well as ergonomic equipment (eg drop down keyboard tray) adjustments before you can use a keyboard in the less forearm stress manner described. An ergonomist should eb able to provide you with this information

Of course you need to also factor into the equation the time you are spending on a computer daily. Nothing quite beats time away from comuters to help ease the pain.

I guess one thing that I have not really seen mentioned anywhere is strengthening the forearm muscles. Doing exercises with therabands and light weights to improve the strength of the muscles. Have you come across this anywhere in your research? It is one of the things the physical therapist says could improve my situation. The stronger the muscles become, the longer it takes for them to fatigue.

Hi Landon, you are probably asking the wrong guy. I have battled chronically fatigued forearm extensors for many years now. I too wish I had ‘built them up’ more before the injury. I would caution you to not overdo this because when they are in pain, the best thing for them is rest. Save exercises for when they feel better (not easy with a full time job). Go along with what your physio recommends, but keep in mind what I said earlier about cutting down exposure, and improving posture.
A good overall cardio and body workout is swimming, and I can’t recommend this highly enough. Also Yoga is very beneficial too.
There also are some excersisers out there, including grip specific ones (aimed at climbers) again I’d suggest not over using these, but getting blood flow into sore injured muscles has to be a good thing. Its the lack of blood flow (and hence oxygen) to these muscles whilst using a computer that creates the ripe environment for these types of injuries.

I used a chain saw for several hours as well as an axe last weekend and never noticed any problem at the time. This week though I have had terrible pain in my right forearm all week. The pain is a terribly sharp stabing pain that runs from my outside wrist area to about six inches down. I am in my forties and have never felt anything quite like this before.

<p>I am having a pain in the forearm similar to what is described above. However, when probed with my thumb, I don’t find an especially sensitive spot. Also, when I move the arm in a certain way, eg extending my arm fully out to my side, to shoulder level I get a pain that is a bit lower on the arm, and along the side of the arm, rather than the top as illustrated above. I am wondering if this could be caused by a nerve problem in my neck or back? Any thoughts?</p>

Hi Joe,

RSI conditions can be caused by a whole multitude of different activities, and each will have it’s own signature. Just because you have different symptoms does not mean that you do or don’t have RSI. RSI conditions are very specific to the task that caused them, and you didn’t mention what it was that has led you to experience these symptoms.
I suggest you get checked over by your GP or Physical Therapist to try to pinpoint the source of your pain.

I just finished massage school and i would recommend massaging them. You can use your thumb along the sore muscle going away from the hand. You can also knead your forearm, like you would bread. If the pain is unbearable or there is any swelling than see a doctor. But I usually massage mine and it helps, it’s easie rot massage with oil or lotion. You could go on youtube and search massaging the extensors or flexors group and there are tutorials on how ot do that effectively.

What keyboard setups (wrist pad, ergonomic or split keyboard, etc.) have been preferred by people with forearm stress?

Has anyone here heard of or tried prolotherapy treatments or trigger point therapy? I went to physical therapy as mentioned above for about three months and it didn’t work, so I am looking towards more “alternative” types of treatment and medicine…

Hi Guy,

there is no universal solution that fits everyone. Everyone is built differently. Advice from a professional ergonomist is required to find out what will suit you. In my case (before I gave up my full time job anyway) I was using a drop down (fully adjustable) keyboard platform by Humanscale, a straight keyboard but with my wrists trained to neutral and a Contour roller mouse. If you check through my other posts on the site you will get more info. Try ergo equipment out before buying and please get some advice from an ergonomist. There are a lot of factors that can cause RSI, and everyone is different, so there will be different answers to your question from everyone who has gone through this. You also need to look at exposure and workload as well as other factors. Remember you can be sat in the most ergonomic chair at the most ergonomic desk with the most ergonomic mouse and keyboard and still be at risk of RSI if you don’t use them properly. Especially if you don’t ensure your posture is good. Sorry for the vague answer, but it happens to be the truth.


I was wondering if anyone has tried acupuncture to help treat RSI. This has been suggested to me from several massage therapists and people who have had the treatment, but I don’t want to spring a check for something that costly if others have tried with no success?

Hi Landon,

I havn’t tried acupuncture for this condition. I was offered it a few years back, but didn’t like the thought of it more than anything.
Recently I have had some for other ailments, with some success. I may get around to trying it for my RSI at some stage.


My condition has gotten better! I’ve been using an innexpensive Microsoft keyboard that is split and the keys are angled. I also pull the keyboard closer to my body whenever possible to minimize my reach. I take purposeful breaks from typing during the day, try to be “kinder” to the keys instead of banging on them, and I occasionally massage my forearm. All these efforts seem to be working for me.

Hi Guy,

I’m glad to hear this works for you. You are fortunate that you caught it in time and made those adjustments required to your working practice.
RSI need not be a career destroyer if it’s recognised at an early enough stage.
There are many more of us out there that took too long to discover those adjustments, and are now in a more permanent state of RSI pain.
The education of the small adjustments need to take place at an early stage of our lives ie. in schools.


Hi – I have as recently as 8 weeks ago been suffering chronic pain in my upper forearm, wrist and fingers, it came on after a really extensive period of typing as I cleared my desk to go on holiday. I thought the three week reest would do it good – but it returned as soon as I started typing again. So, after reading these comments I realise I have an rsi injury. If I completelyrest this arm and like do NOTHING for a couple of months – willmy arm recover? I would really appreciate your comments/observations. I have found all t he commentson this site to be themost helpful so far – thanks

Hi Shirley,

Rest (from computers, high tech gadgets , phones, in fact anything that involves small clicks – hard these days I know) would be beneficial.
I’d also see your doctor and get advice on taking some anti inflammatories. I’d also see a physio (you may have to hunt around for a good one) get some ultrasound
and massage on the forearm extensor muscles (most likely to be causing your finger pain). You should also try not to panic, stress is a trigger for tension which is a trigger
for RSI pain. You also need to get an ergonomic assessment done. Your employer has a responsibility to provide you with a safe ergonomic setup. It is most likely that
your injury happened because of a combination of bad ergonomics with an extended period of typing in a stressful environment with minimal breaks. From an ergonomic point of view, I expect ‘the claw‘ may have come into play too, so its important when you go back to work not to use any un-ergonomic practices that led you to this injury.
You also need to religiously take breaks when working, introduce stretches and small micro breaks from typing, get up and move around more. There are break reminders available for free download.
If your job involves text input (rather than say programming commands) then consider a voice recognition system. Also consider a physical pastime that gets your arms moving better like swimming , kayaking or yoga.
Also read over my FAQ section and ‘breaking the RSI pain cycle‘ sections here (if you havn’t already).
Keep in mind that you have caught it early, and hence you have the best chance of doing something about it.

Best wishes.

Fatigued extensor muscles can be symptom of tight flexor muscles. When you type or play the piano, you use the flexor muscles repetitively, which for some reason causes the body to adjust the flexors by shorting them (the same thing can happen for runners who repetitively use the calf muscles). So the weaker extensor works hard to maintain the balance and becomes fatigued. The solution is to the lengthen the flexor muscles by deep massage and stretching (stretching is probably not enough). You have to be careful to avoid messing with the median nerve running down center of the flexor, although some tingling is probably unavoidable. You can also sleep in a position where the flexors are slightly stretched, by putting your hand up against a pillow or wall. For some reason, long-term half-way stretching seems to work better than 30 second full stretches, at least for this muscle. The extensors should also be stretched and massaged, but if you do the flexors regularly, then extensors will probably end up taking care of themselves.

I’ve spent (wasted?) 18 months not having RSI diagnosed as the pain was mostly in my wrist and hands so my GP suspected arthritis and sent me to a rheumatologist, who did an MRI on the wrist (‘mild synovitis’), but was so focused on joints that they never assessed the muscles/tendons. Finally they gave up and sent me to physio, where the therapist immediately found knots/nodules on all four of my forearm muscles, plus nodules on tendons, and told me it’s my extensors. So I see him weekly and feel much better informed, but wish the rheumatologist had listened to me saying where the swelling was, rather than looking for arthritis symptoms.

So what I want to say is — make sure you are listened to, and if you think you haven’t been referred to the right place, go back to your GP and discuss it with them. Hospital doctors seem to be very ‘tunnel vision’ about their specialty areas, when I really needed a broader assessment.

Well havw been having the symptoms doe about18months!!!! Getting unbearable, working dayly in theatere with patients and havy sets? Can’t change that. To scared to ask the neoro’s I work with what is happening!

Hi Alan,

I also have RSI and pain in my forearms. It’s in both hands… been going on for about a year now. I read your posts and I am starting with deep tissue massage and rest.
I’ve also had a PRP (platelet rich plasma) injection about 3 weeks ago on my right forearm. I hear it usually takes 3 months to see the full results. So far, I’m not feeling any better though.

Are you still doing deep tissue massage? Has your condition improved since spring?

Hi Julian,

Sorry to hear about your RSI. Good question about massage. I am still monitoring the situation with the trigger point massage therapy. I basically went on a two month free for all on my extensors and other arm muscles and have softened them up quite a bit. I had a lot of knots. However in the process (probably because I’m doing it myself) I have massaged something that has pressed on the ulnar nerve a bit and I now have numb little finger, which I am trying to figure out. I do however have RSI pain, and it can still be bad, but it is slightly different from before. It seems to emanate from the attachment points of the extensors, and massage alone won’t fix that, only rest, ice and perhaps time will. I haven’t given up on trigger point therapy though, as some of the muscles I have massaged are sore again especially the Brachioradialis. So more work is required, but I’m just a bit apprehensive with the ulnar numbness going on. Keep in mind I am a 15 year sufferer, so I may have a stubborn version. Keep at the Trigger point massage, minimise exposure to computers, and optimise your ergonomics, and hopefully you will see a difference.


Thought I give my two cents worth.

Lately I’ve started experiencing aches in the right forearm that seemed to start when I was doing wrist strengthening exercises with a theraband and was twisting my forearm as my physiotherapist suggested. After a few days, the aches appeared and never disappeared.

Then recently, the same aches started in my left forearm but more towards the inside when I was lying on my back with my arms resting on my chest. Now, both sides really ache and I don’t know what to do.

My physiotherapist seems somewhat baffled by the symptoms. This is making me nervous since the aches won’t go away and sleeping at night has become a nightmare. She gave a stretching exercise that involves bending the palm down and stretching the extensors. Sometimes it feels good, other times it seems to agitate my pain.

Next week I’m going to talk with her regard trigger points and other options.

If you have fatigued muscles to begin with, exercising them will potentially make them worse, so be careful. They may not need strengthening if they are already overused, they need rested, deactivated (if they are trigger point related) then exercised. It is important that you try to understand the mechanism for your pain. I do really recommend that you look at the trigger point therapy workbook for advice.

I have soreness in my left forearm and the top of my left hand. My grip in my left hand feels weaker, in particular because of weakness in my thumb.

I think there may be two things going on. First, about 7 months ago, I severely strained my left elbow and bicep while putting a rocking chair together. At one point I was trying to get two pieces together by using my left arm to pull them in place as though I were doing an intense barbell curl, and I way overdid it. I must’ve torn something or strained something on the inside of my elbow then because it has been sore at the inflection point for months

At the same time, we recently (1 1/2 years ago ) had a baby. I often lift him up to carry him. Because he weighs 22 lbs I frequently swap carrying him in the crook of either arm. I’m wondering if the combination of these two events– carrying an ever growing baby and the rocking chair injury — plus the fact that I do a lot of typing for work, is what is causing the problem. The weakness in my left thumb is disconcerting.

Interesting note: My wife ALSO experienced a similar problem last week, in both forearms. Its gone away for her in the last day or so. I wonder if carrying the baby is a major factor?

I’m 46 and in moderate physical condition. Thoughts?

I should have noted that the soreness is on the top of my forearm as well as underneath the forearm and wrist, with more pain the closer you get to my hand.

Hi Jason,

I’m afraid I’m not experienced with RSI from holding a baby, but there are a lot of references to it doing an online search. I do believe that if you have an event that strains something, and are also doing other things that involve repetitive or strained motion eg computer use and also holding a baby, then your arm will be being used in different ways but each under strain and maybe each causing you to compensate for the other. I have had more than my fair share of different pains in forearms, elbows, hands and wrists, and many develop because of the natural tendency to compensate for one type of pain, leading to new strains and new pain. Maybe until your pain subsides a bit you can carry the baby in a central carrier and give your arms a rest. Have you seen a physio about it yet? You may also want to check your the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook (by Claire Davies) that I reference on this site, its a very good reference for referred muscle pain and how to self treat.

Hope your pain resolves itself soon.


I have developed chronic pain over the Extensor carpus radialis longus as a result of lifting boxes incorrectly. I did this daily for a period of 3 months and am now paying the price. I have been dealing with this for more than a year now. I did go to the dr and was given anti-inflams and have attempted to resolve by self message, rest, ice, heat and arm wrap. These are only temporary fixes and the pain never completely goes away and always returns worse than ever. I try to use my non-injured arm more but am noticing it is beginning to hurt too. Go figure! Recently, I began using a hot tub with powerful jets. I put my injured arm about a foot away from the jet for a good message. Depending on the power of the jet you may need to adjust where you place your arm. Too close and you may bruise your skin (did that!). I only do this for about 15 minutes a day. The next day the pain is completely gone! I mean gone! It only comes back if I begin using it more than I should. I am hot-tubbing it every other day and can really feel relief. Don’t know if this will take it away permenantly but it is worth a try and really helps. I am by no means a doctor and not giving advice, only sharing what is working for me. Joan

Hi Joan,

thanks for sharing, have felt the pressure from inlet valves at swimming pools, so I imaging you could get a good massage from a jet of water. It will give a good massage as well as heat the area, promoting blood flow, and in your case some pain relief. I don’t have access to a hot tub otherwise I’d give that a try for a while.


Hi joan,

I have exactly the same problem, could you let me know what what jet pressure gadget you have for doing this please?

many thanks Craig

I’m 24 and I’ve had a serious problem with elbow pain for 2 years now, and yet I can’t relate to any of you at all. You speak as if it’s an annoyance, something that bothers you. When mine started to really hurt I stopped, I havn’t typed for the past 2 years. I don’t understand how people can work with this thus, mine must be either completely different or very severe.

There are sore spots a few inches down from my elbow joint which flare up VERY quickly when I type, write, or wiggle my fingers. It is THAT sensitive. I’ve tried a ton of rest and achieved nothing. They suggested I might have radial tunnel syndrome so I had surgery for that, did nothing.

I have it in both arms, it has destroyed my life and I can’t STAND how everyone seems to think it’s some minor convinience. For god’s sake what the hell is this thing that no-one else seems to have, at least no this badly. I’m typing this with my toes, that’s how ridiculous this whole situation is, I did an entire Masters in computer science with my feet last year ffs and got the top grade. And what have I achieved? Nothing, fricking nothing, and no one seems to care or give a damn. I don’t blame them, but I can’t bare this relaxed approach the doctors take. “Oh take these pain killers and go away for a month.” Go away for a month and do what? I can’t do anything!

I am 24, I’m losing my friends, I can’t find work with this, people are probably getting bored of me because I’m FORCED to bring it up all the time when they ask why I can’t do something. I hate being defined by it. I loved my life and I just want it back, please can someone out there juist take this horrific completely undeserved thing away.

Hi Fraser,

Sorry to hear about your elbows. Having had some elbow issues recently, I can sympathise. Have you tried looking at trigger point therapy? You can fins that pain gets referred into the elbow from elsewhere eg tight/knotted triceps. Check the triceps out and see if there are any very sore spots in the muscles there. You can see this diagrammatically in the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Claire Davies. I’d also do some activity that involves big arm motion like swimming to loosen all those tendons and muscles that may be causing tightness in the elbow. I also can sympathise with your GP experience, it’s very common for GPs or consultants to not know much about repetitive strain injuries.


Fraser, and everyone else, please for the love of God read these two books by Dr. Sarno

I came here last year and never got better after spending thousands of dollars on therapy and doctors. I saw about 9 doctors and a dozen physical therapists, none of which even suggested that RSI might be psychosomatic (mind-body). It was. All chronic injuries are.

This is the article which convinced me to read Dr. Sarno’s books. As soon as I did, I KNEW he was right. It was so many things, my personality profile, the fact that the pain comes and goes, that it moves around.

Read this first and then get the books. Have an open mind, and get your lives back.
I stopped coming here, but I forgot to unsubscibe, and just had to reply to your posts.

My favorite quote from one of the books is:

“Consider that a fracture of the largest bone in the body, the femur, takes 6 weeks to heal and it will be stronger at the injury site than it was before. We are not made of paper mache, we are strong and resilliant, and the product of millions of years of evolution”

Injuries don’t just “not heal”. It’s pyschosomatic. All human beings have pyshosomatic sypmthoms, it’s part of the human condition. It may be just tension headaches for some, or full blown fibromyalgia for others. People have taken their lives, it can get that bad.

This process, this thing is the stupidest thing ever. All I had to do was meditate and conquer my anger and my fears over the past 3 months. It’s gone.

Hi Alan., thank you for your response. I have checked my triceps and I can’t find anything, the spots are only on my forearm although the back of my neck is a bit tight.

How much did the trigger point therapy achieve for you? I’m considering massaging the points 6 times a day if it really is worth it. But in all honesty, has your condition improved substantially? I will also need to avoid the radial nerve, is there any clear indicator for this?


the trigger point massage is is the only effective release for knotted muscle areas. Other methods just relieve symptoms.
It really does boil down to whether you have knotted trigger points or not. The book is an excellent reference. There may be other things going on with your elbows though, and I’m no expert on elbow pain.


Thank you for your advice. You’ll understand I’m highly sceptical of such treatments as the way I see it if your muscles are damaged, your muscles are damaged. I will however have a look at the first book you linked with an open mind.

But is there anything practical in it? I can’t see it suddenly fixing me due to some realisation. Is there some form of mental exercise?

I will report back to all.

Hi Craig,
I am sorry but I cannot tell you what the pressure of the jet is but it is a strong one. That is why I suggested you may want to adjust the distance of your arm accordingly. I can tell you that I place my arm away just enough to feel like I am getting a good message. The temp in the hot tub is set at 104 which is wonderful! My mother lives in a gated retirement community and I am using their hot tub. It is a good one!


I am just now joining this thread to stay up. Am 60, and exercise twice weekly, but cannot exercise arms due to the forearm pain. A steriod shot took care of the problems in my right arm, but left is still painful.

Suspect extensors, but do not want to be sure. Has anyone here had surgery for this issue??

Thanks to all~

Hi Everyone,
Interesting and saddening to read so many people’s different experiences with RSI.
Firstly I would say that while a friend of mine’s RSI was completely cured by the psychosomatic approach (Julian), after reading several of Sarno’s books several times through I have found almost no change in my condition. I’ve had the injury since May 2011 after taking on a gruelling 2 week musical (I’m a bass player). Therefore I’d say while some people’s may be psychosomatic, it’s definitely not the answer for everyone. Julian talked about his pain moving around, mine most definitely does not!
I have not yet found a way to deal with the injury 100% but there are a couple of things which I have found to have helped:
Hot water forearm baths, Massage therapy, Chiropractor (more for general body health) and an overall look at the ergonomics of the activities causing the pain.
It is incredibly frustrating that with all the amazing technological devices in the world, we can’t cure this condition. We’re just told to ‘rest’. How can we rest when pretty much every major activity modern day humans performs involves our hands??

Physiotherapy has not helped (despite their claims that they can), Painkillers are a waste of time (why just mask the problem, it’s not solving anything long term) and most other suggested ‘treatments’ I’ve tried also don’t seem to help.

I wish you all the best of luck in your endeavours to solve this problem and I hope it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice doing the activities you love/need.


Hi Guys,

I have pain in all different parts of my hands for the last 12 months but not in my forearms, it was brought on by using computers. I see most people here have pain in there forearms but mine is just in the hands. I have been resteing them for months and monts but no change , i have had all the mri scans, and some physio but there all baffled to the problem. Any ones advise would be grateful.

thanks craig

Hi Craig,

Have you tried probing around the extensor muscles a bit to see if they are tender or sore anywhere? A lot of extensor tension doesn’t manifest itself in extensor pain, but IS referred down the arms to the hands from there. This is covered in depth in the Trigger Therapy Workbook discussed already on this site.


Hi Alan,

Thanks for the reply, i have probed around these areas and also have worked through clair davis trigger point book, but apart for areas on my back i cannot find anything, My hand pain has kept my off work for nearly a year now and its only marginally got better, it does my around a bit and have tried the TMS route but havnt had any major breakthroughs, aside for that i am beginning to think there is no cure, with all the medical knowledge in the world its strange theres no cure for this.

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