Starting A New Journey In TV Production With Repetitive Strain Injury

Holly Steadman, UK

Summary: Before her injury Holly worked in TV production and development. She regularly worked long hours but loved what she did. About two years ago Holly started developing work related pain and cramp in her fingertips that gradually radiated up her forearms, arms, shoulders and neck.

Holly was diagnosed with RSI and was hopeful that rest and anti-inflamatories would settle the problem. Unfortunately, the problem got worse and Holly found herself in a vicious cycle of having to take time off work to feel better but then returning too early because she didn’t want to let down her company.

Eventually, the problem got so bad that Holly was struggling with the simplest of tasks that you take for granted. Holding a drink or simply using cutlery was extremely uncomfortable. Her sleep became severely compromised and she felt the only way she would get better would be to stop her work and move back home.

The things that Holly felt made her worse:

-Unhelpful advice: Some health care professionals advised Holly to lift weights in order to try and strengthen her affected joints. Unfortunately, for Holly this just made the pain and swelling worse.

-Invisibility: Because RSI does not normally present as a physical change that people can see, it was difficult for people to understand how Holly could have been suffering so badly.

-Early return to work: The guilt of being off work, kept making Holly attempt to return to work too early and so she did not have time to fully recover.

Getting back to her passion

First Game-changing moment - More Positive thinking:

Holly has always had a generally positive outlook, but during this difficult time, she realised just how powerful positive thinking could help her. When feeling like things were getting difficult and negative, she tried to catch herself and focus on the positive things in her life.

Second Game-changing moment - Solely focusing on recovery:

Whilst we champion people going after things they want to do, it is important to recognise when you need to take a break from work. One of Holly’s key breakthroughs came from building an understanding of how work was triggering her RSI. By stopping work and focussing on her recovery she has managed to make a great deal of progress.

Third Game-changing moment - Finding the right people:

Holly initially suffered from well meaning advice that made her symptoms worse. However, a pivotal meeting with a Pilates instructor called Mehret Hope turned out to be life changing. Holly felt that at last there was someone who truly listened and understood her condition. Moreover, she was also able to work out a recovery plan.

The little things that made a big difference:

-Targeted training: One of Holly’s triggers is over using her hands. This can make rehab of the area tricky. Fortunately, working with Mehret they developed a light Pilates program, which allowed Holly to start building core strength whilst still protecting her joints.

-Massage: Gentle self massage helps Holly manage swelling in her hands and upper limbs.
-Massage: Gentle self massage helps Holly manage swelling in her hands and upper limbs.

-Assistive equipment: Holly uses an oversized mouse to make it easier to use when working on a computer. The mouse can be used with the left or right hand or feet. The drag lock feature also enables a user to move objects on the screen without having to hold the mouse click button down which can be very helpful with RSI.

Learn More About Holly’s Work

To listen to the Holly Steadman Podcast please Click here

Learn More About Jordan’s Work

Holly is now building a new business in TV production and development. To learn more about Hollys previous work pleaseClick Here