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Originally Posted by bkw58
True, Focal Dystonia affecting the hand(s) is often caused by musicians and writers performing repeated hand movements, but not always. Dystonia is a neurological disorder caused by the brain sending incorrect information to muscles and may be symptomatic of other diseases such as Parkinson's. Initially starting in my right hand, 4th and 5th fingers, involuntary prolonged muscle contractions were helped by prescription meds. That has run its course. Depending upon the cause there may be several alternatives available. In any case, a neurologist* is the professional to see, IMO.

*That is, one specializing in movement disorders.


FWIW, earlier this year there was an article in The New Yorker called "The Yips" that included some information on focal dystonia that I thought was very interesting. The article starts by being focused on golfers, but if you keep reading, it eventually gets around to musicians and focal dystonia.


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Originally Posted by Louis Podesta
Originally Posted by rov
Hi, I would like to make a thread about injuries that you had because of the piano and how you recovered. Thanks!

Sharing is caring? Not always, as is the case with this particular thread.

You are not a doctor, homoeopathist, chiropractor, physical therapist, or osteopath. Just what do you think you are going to accomplish from others, who are also not health professionals, sharing their pain and its associated grief.

As far as the monitors of this particular thread, shame on you for letting this to get as far as it has. That is unless you would choose to turn this into a sympathy for pianist website.

Injuries of any nature are very serious matters, and, in my opinion, should be dealt with by website "show and tell."


I disagree. No one here is claiming to be a doctor or try to diagnose problems. The thrust of this thread appears to be just sharing experiences. Perhaps by sharing, people can understand that it is possible to have injuries from playing (or other activities that affect playing), and that if they experience any pain or discomfort they should seek professional help to treat and also to ensure that the pianist does not re-injure themselves by improper technique.

I see nothing wrong with this.

To the OP: While I've never suffered pianist injuries, I was in a car accident and lost the use of my left hand for a few months as my wrist sprain healed. I had to have physical therapy, and then just a lot of patience before my left hand was able to play without fatigue.

I also have from time to time experienced issues of fatigue and excess tension when playing certain passages. This was completely due to how I was playing and I took the cue from my body to slow it down and work out what I was doing wrong from a mechanical standpoint. Letting this kind of thing go or working through it is a common cause of pianist injuries.


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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by bkw58
True, Focal Dystonia affecting the hand(s) is often caused by musicians and writers performing repeated hand movements, but not always. Dystonia is a neurological disorder caused by the brain sending incorrect information to muscles and may be symptomatic of other diseases such as Parkinson's. Initially starting in my right hand, 4th and 5th fingers, involuntary prolonged muscle contractions were helped by prescription meds. That has run its course. Depending upon the cause there may be several alternatives available. In any case, a neurologist* is the professional to see, IMO.

*That is, one specializing in movement disorders.


FWIW, earlier this year there was an article in The New Yorker called "The Yips" that included some information on focal dystonia that I thought was very interesting. The article starts by being focused on golfers, but if you keep reading, it eventually gets around to musicians and focal dystonia.



Good article in The New Yorker. Very informative. Thanks.


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The article reminded me of something I had forgotten. In the seventies I played a lot of competitive tennis. One season, my serve went completely and inexplicably haywire and I just couldn't control where the ball went. I was all right until just before impact, then the ball flew just about anywhere - onto the next court, over the back fence, or most embarrassingly, onto the back of my partner at the net. I fixed it by developing an entirely new technique, much weaker than my previous but at least guaranteeing the serve went in. I saw the season out with these weak serves, which did not impress my club at all. I worked on it over the following winter and it came right, thank goodness. Reading about the golfer brought it all back.


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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by Louis Podesta
Originally Posted by rov
Hi, I would like to make a thread about injuries that you had because of the piano and how you recovered. Thanks!

Sharing is caring? Not always, as is the case with this particular thread.

You are not a doctor, homoeopathist, chiropractor, physical therapist, or osteopath. Just what do you think you are going to accomplish from others, who are also not health professionals, sharing their pain and its associated grief.

As far as the monitors of this particular thread, shame on you for letting this to get as far as it has. That is unless you would choose to turn this into a sympathy for pianist website.

Injuries of any nature are very serious matters, and, in my opinion, should be dealt with by website "show and tell."


I disagree. No one here is claiming to be a doctor or try to diagnose problems. The thrust of this thread appears to be just sharing experiences. Perhaps by sharing, people can understand that it is possible to have injuries from playing (or other activities that affect playing), and that if they experience any pain or discomfort they should seek professional help to treat and also to ensure that the pianist does not re-injure themselves by improper technique.

I see nothing wrong with this.

To the OP: While I've never suffered pianist injuries . . .

Thank you very much for your insightful post. However, just today, as a result of my psoriatic arthritis (combined with my infatuation with learning the Rach 2nd) I have developed a mild increased inflammation of several knuckle joints of my middle and third fingers of both hands.

Accordingly, what I have been taught by my chiropractor/acupuncturist is how to specifically treat this condition.

This post by the OP has not, and will never accomplish anything similar to this/that. With all due respect, when you live with physical injuries at the piano your entire adult life, then you naturally take a very suspect view of idle talk.

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I don't think this is idle talk, however. I think it's passing along of information. Just like all the different "Awareness" things going around for various diseases - the more you know, the better equipped you are to deal with it or find the correct help. Some people live with the pain and think it's a part of the process, not realizing that pain should not exist when playing piano. So not idle, informative. smile


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But, Louis, I don't see how this invalidates the specifically sought point of the OP or its potential value.

At the end of the day, whatever the condition of one's playing apparatus may be - whether caused by ailment or injury or, indeed, untroubled in any way - the ability to play depends upon the pianist's own ability to adapt the motions of that apparatus to the physical conditions of the tasks it's being required to contend with. A health professional might be able to improve the initial state of the apparatus, and offer general advice as to applying it, but can accomplish nothing as regards the entirely specific circumstantial adapting.

This goes as much for the arthritic likes of you and me as for anyone else. Hence I think that most of the foregoing replies contain valid and informative answers, of which yours is just one particular species.

We make the best we can out of what we have, eh? And most of that consists of long experiential learning how to.


Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein

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I had never had any pain in my hands, wrists, or arms until one time I went to a piano summer camp and studied with this teacher who was obsessed with making sure her students were relaxed and didn't injure themselves. That week and only that week my hands started hurting....It was probably just a little soreness from practicing more than usual. Still funny.

However, ever since I was a kid (maybe 12) this area between my upper back, neck, and shoulder would hurt, especially after practicing piano for an extended period of time. I don't tense up my shoulders when I play or anything, so I'm not sure what it is. I have found that stretching and loosening up my upper body before practicing helps a lot.

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I have had to deal with strain in the back of the neck from time to time, and it is obviously due to lack of flexibility while practicing. The cure is easy and obvious - simply move the neck around a bit more. Same for the lower back, which can get strained a bit if I practice several hours. The cure for that is equally obvious - frequent breaks from practice and remember to stretch to relieve the muscles.

But finger injury is the scary subject…

I put in about three hours of practice and I am not casual about it. My way of avoiding injury is to not practice full force all the time. At least half my practice is mezzo-piano and avoiding unnecessary pressure - particularly when learning complicated fingering or working out wrist-hand positions, or accurately mastering leaps or various intervals, and so forth. It is the unrelenting forceful playing that causes injury - so I am keen to avoid that. And I take frequent breaks - at least every fifteen minutes I get up, drink some water, stretch, look out the window for a moment, and then go back to the piano. That keeps me fresh for the next round.

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Originally Posted by Morodiene
I don't think this is idle talk, however. I think it's passing along of information. Just like all the different "Awareness" things going around for various diseases - the more you know, the better equipped you are to deal with it or find the correct help. Some people live with the pain and think it's a part of the process, not realizing that pain should not exist when playing piano. So not idle, informative. smile

I am so glad you used the "A" word, awareness.

1) As a social activist philosopher, as such, I am a scientific empiricist. I got that way from constantly trying to be "aware" of everything around me, and then trying to come up with the why and its associated wherefore (Cartesian Rationale).

2) Also, as a physician's son, I know full well that making a person "aware" that there are such things as germs in this world has not made anyone any healthier because the average person washes their hands no more than a few times a day.

In the 1990's, everyone who was gay already knew that if you had sex without a condom you were drastically increasing your chances of getting infected. Yet, BILLIONS! of dollars were spent making people "aware" of the dangers of un-protected sex.

The point is: you could run this thread for the next fifty years, and you would never cover all of the assorted injuries that pianists have experienced. Because, in that this is (tip of the iceberg) anecdotal evidence, it will never seriously result in someone making there situation for the better. If that was true, then any health practitioner could just phone it in, or do it over the internet.

I was very hard on Laguna Greg, when he was weighing in on any and all posts regarding injuries, because the patient was not physically before him, and he did not know exactly how and what the injury was. Since then, he has been more selective, and I am glad for that. For the record, he is probably the most highly trained/qualified physiotherapist in the nation, as it relates to piano injuries.

With all do respect, when a student improperly plays a section of a piece, awareness of what they have done is only a very small part of fixing the problem. Injuries are no different.

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Originally Posted by outo
I did however suffer carpal tunnel symptoms on my first year of playing. It was not solely from playing though, but the combination of bad computer use and heavy practice. Hasn't returned, but I do have to be careful with the computer...

How did you overcome it? Congrats, by the way....


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Originally Posted by phantomFive
Originally Posted by outo
I did however suffer carpal tunnel symptoms on my first year of playing. It was not solely from playing though, but the combination of bad computer use and heavy practice. Hasn't returned, but I do have to be careful with the computer...

How did you overcome it?


1. I stopped practicing the piece that was too much smile

2. Stopped adding about 3 hours of computer work at home to what I already did at work. And made some ergonomic changes at home as well.

3. Wore a wrist support for about 2 weeks.

4. Got one of these and practiced with it for a few weeks:
Handmaster

Originally Posted by phantomFive

Congrats, by the way....

Thanks? smile

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Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by phantomFive
Originally Posted by outo
I did however suffer carpal tunnel symptoms on my first year of playing. It was not solely from playing though, but the combination of bad computer use and heavy practice. Hasn't returned, but I do have to be careful with the computer...

How did you overcome it?


1. I stopped practicing the piece that was too much smile

2. Stopped adding about 3 hours of computer work at home to what I already did at work. And made some ergonomic changes at home as well.

3. Wore a wrist support for about 2 weeks.

4. Got one of these and practiced with it for a few weeks:
Handmaster

Originally Posted by phantomFive

Congrats, by the way....

Thanks? smile

Well, if I had carpal tunnel and overcame it, I would feel very, very happy; not everyone does that, so congrats are in order!


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Originally Posted by phantomFive

Well, if I had carpal tunnel and overcame it, I would feel very, very happy; not everyone does that, so congrats are in order!


I think I had kind of forgotten about how stressing it was smile

But I see what you mean, It's practically impossible to play when the nerves get inflamed and since recovery can take months it's pretty scary...

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I used to get pain a lot near my right wrist, on the outside, every time I played octaves for an hour or so. It went away once I learned to relax my wrist, I was holding it too tight.

For a while I got pain in my thumb when practicing quick passages a lot. I had to stop playing for a few weeks to get rid of that one. Eventually I learned to have better fingering, and my thumb became more flexible, and that one went away.


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