RSI Pain Relief – Contrast Baths

Some temporary RSI forearm muscle pain relief is achievable using an easy to administer method called contrast baths. I was taught how to use this procedure by a hand/arm physical therapist while living and working in the US.

The idea is to have two waterproof (plastic storage boxes work fine) containers. Each one  should be just greater in length than the distance from your elbow to you finger tips. These should be filled with water to a depth enough to cover your arms when fully submerged.

One container should be ‘hot’ – not too hot.  ie. no greater than 40-45oC (104-113oF)

The other container should be ‘cold’ – cold tap water with a few ice cubes (or an ice cooler pack) in it to chill further to no lower than 10-15oC (50-60oF)

You will also need to have a clock or timer handy with seconds/minutes easily visible. A kitchen timer or stopwatch is good for this purpose.

The procedure is simple, and involves submerging your arms into the ‘hot’ bath for 1 minute, followed by submerging them for 1 minute in the ‘cold’ bath. Then repeat this switching between baths for 10 to 15 minutes (longer if desired).

You can repeat contrast baths a few times a day if necessary, but it may be impractical to do this at work. You could also increase the time from one minute in each bath to two minutes in each bath if found to be more effective.

This temperature cycling should help relax any stressed out muscles a bit, and give some immediate pain relief. At the peak of my RSI condition after coming home from work every night, I would do contrast baths to get some pain relief. Its a low cost and self administrable procedure that can help reduce RSI pain.

Please check with your health advisor first if you have diabetes, heart problems or Raynaud’s Syndrome before doing contrast baths so that they can determine whether it is advisable for you to proceed.

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1 comment

  1. Krista Gabri says:

    I really like your blog. Thanks for the great information. I’ve been looking at it a few times now and really enjoy it. I’ll stop back again soon. Please keep up the great job!

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