One of the first things doctors do when you go in complaining about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or some Repetitive Stress Injury is tell you to take it easy for a while (sometimes offering a wrist brace) and give you a prescription for anti-inflammatory drugs. This helps some people, but a lot of us just have trouble again once we get back to work. Since visiting a new doctor (one who specializes in natural medicine, which involves getting to the root of the problem instead of just throwing drugs at you) for something else (see my heartburn blog), I'm starting to wonder about the role vitamin/mineral deficiencies might play in repetitive stress injuries.
The main reason I'm wondering is that I found out I'm not digesting things properly, so my body is short on vitamins, and minerals. I'm currently being tested for food allergies (which can be the basis for all of this). After finding out that joint pain is one of the side effects of this malnutrition, I'm wondering if that may be at the root of my RSI (as well as my other issues). It's something you don't necessarily think about (at least I didn't, because I eat a healthy diet), but now it's got me looking up these things on the Internet (and I'm definitely going to ask my doctor about it when I get the results for my food allergy tests).
Here are some interesting articles I found, in case you're curious about this sort of thing:
"Orthomolecular" medicine may help with muscle and joint pain, depression, and chronic fatigue. (In this system--which is practiced by MDs, despite being considered an "alternative medicine"--non-toxic, natural substances are used, primarily herbs, vitamins, and minerals).
Vitamins and Your Health -- This is a big long article on what all the vitamins and minerals do for you exactly.
Natural Pain Relief for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome -- Both B6 and B12 are mentioned in this one: "A Japanese study of 174 university students found that students with lower levels of vitamin B6 showed symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome." -- "Vitamin B12 - a study looked at the effectiveness of vitamin B12 for people with carpal tunnel syndrome due to overuse of the nonparalyzed arm after stroke. For two years, 67 people in the study received 1500 mcg of vitamin B12 a day, and the remaining 68 did not. After two years, there was significant improvement in the group taking vitamin B12 compared to the untreated group."
Oh, and for those of you wondering if you might be having these vitamin/mineral deficiencies, take a look at your fingernails. My doctor knew right away when she looked at mine, because they have vertical ridges down them. I'd never thought anything of it, but I guess nails can tell a lot about your overall health. More on that here: Fingernails and Nutrition.
This is not to say I think everyone who has RSI trouble has mineral/vitamin deficiencies, but I'll be interested if it's part of the problem in my case, since I've tried just about everything else for my hand troubles.