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Pianist with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome #401232
04/25/06 02:56 PM
04/25/06 02:56 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 2
M
misspianolady Offline OP
Junior Member
misspianolady  Offline OP
Junior Member
M

Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 2
I am a professional pianist with carpal tunnel symdrome. I have been playing for over 40 years. My physician says I risk losing the use of my thumbs, at the least, if I do not have surgery to correct the problem. I would love to hear from another pianist who has this problem or who has had this surgery.

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Re: Pianist with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome #401233
04/25/06 03:02 PM
04/25/06 03:02 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 272
Oregon
Q
quindecima Offline
Full Member
quindecima  Offline
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Q

Joined: May 2005
Posts: 272
Oregon
I had Carpal Tunnel in both of my hands. I had it for about 15 years or so before I did anything about it. My advice, get the surgery. I had both of my hands done at the same time thru the palm it took about a month before they were back to normal. I have a problem with my left thumb but the Dr. says it is Arthritis.


I'm a fool for Chopin. The biggest mistake in my life......Thinking that fishing was more fun than Bach when I was younger.
Re: Pianist with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome #401234
04/25/06 03:28 PM
04/25/06 03:28 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 4,983
boston north
lilylady Offline
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lilylady  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 4,983
boston north
I was diagnosed with a moderately severe problem in both hands at least 15 years ago.

I wore the brace straps and learned to modify my hand/wrist behavior.

Do not sleep with your hands curled under and above your head.

Do not hold your hands/wrist at an angle. Keep them out straight while you sit, rest, sleep.

There is swelling in my hands/wrist which make even walking with my hands at my sides, swinging, swell more. Especially in heat.

I sleep with my hands and arms at my sides.

I sit with my wrists straight.

I keep my elbows in a straight line as much as possible.

I reduce salt intake.

I drink tea/etc for a diuritic(sp)

Ibuprofen is a muscle relaxant, anti swelling, and pain relief medication. Been on 10 per day for 15 years.

Surgery was not an option - moderately severe for several years apparently made me a not very good candidate for recouping. I gave up on it and have just learned to live with it.

Some days I can play a lot, other days when I work too hard in horticulture, I cannot.

BTW, when I first learned that I had a problem, I also learned that another piano teacher who had the operation could not play AFTER the operation.

Now I am sure that techniques in the cure have changed since these 15 years, and if that is the route that you want to take...I wish you good luck. I have just learned to cope with it.

BTW...I am typing on a new erganomic (sp) keyboard. Hand placement is good. No twisting of the wrists. Hands placed upward, not downward or flat. Had one in the past and highly recommend it.

Roberta


"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."
Re: Pianist with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome #401235
04/26/06 12:27 AM
04/26/06 12:27 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,534
G
Gyro Offline
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Gyro  Offline
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G

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,534
One physical exercise that may help is to
do hand stands--or at least something
resembling them if you're not good
at gymnastics--with the fingers
pointed frontwards, inwards, and sidewards.

Re: Pianist with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome #401236
04/26/06 06:20 AM
04/26/06 06:20 AM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,618
Geneva, Switzerland
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,618
Geneva, Switzerland
Gyro:
Quote
One physical exercise that may help is to do hand stands--
And if you do them in the shower, it saves buying a bidet.

- Michael B.


There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.
Re: Pianist with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome #401237
04/26/06 06:35 AM
04/26/06 06:35 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 420
australia
M
mmmmaestro007 Offline
Full Member
mmmmaestro007  Offline
Full Member
M

Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 420
australia
Quote
Originally posted by PoStTeNeBrAsLuX:
Gyro:
Quote
One physical exercise that may help is to do hand stands--
And if you do them in the shower, it saves buying a bidet.

- Michael B.
.

damm! and i just bought a bidet! laugh


"musical training is a more potent instrument than any other because rhythym and harmony find their way into the inner places of the soul" -Plato
Re: Pianist with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome #401238
04/26/06 09:00 AM
04/26/06 09:00 AM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 2
M
misspianolady Offline OP
Junior Member
misspianolady  Offline OP
Junior Member
M

Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 2
Thanks, everyone, for your advice. I hesitate to have surgery on my hands, but I surely do not want to risk permanent damage to my thumbs or other. I appreciate your replies.

Re: Pianist with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome #401239
04/26/06 09:03 AM
04/26/06 09:03 AM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
Kansas
apple* Offline
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apple*  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
Kansas
good luck.

i used to have carpal tunnel syndrome pretty bad. I guess i was sleeping like a baking chicken with my hands curled up into my sides. A few weeks of splints and a conscious effort (which included extra bedclothes) to sleep with my hands straight cleared it up. I still have occasional problems.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, ├Ľun (apple in Estonian)
Re: Pianist with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome #401240
04/26/06 09:25 AM
04/26/06 09:25 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,263
Massachusetts
Pathbreaker Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Pathbreaker  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,263
Massachusetts
Interesting to hear about the sleep part. I have also noticed problems from sleeping funny so I'd bet that's a good place to start.

Re: Pianist with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome #401241
04/26/06 09:29 AM
04/26/06 09:29 AM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,618
Geneva, Switzerland
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,618
Geneva, Switzerland
To be a little less frivolous than above, I used to suffer a little of what I suspect was mild carpal tunnel syndrome in my left wrist. My wife is left-handed and most appliances in the kitchen are placed so as to be operated with one's left hand. About a year ago I found that even lifting a half-full kettle produced quite pronounced pain in my left wrist. I took to making sure that I did not sleep with my LH under my head (a long-standing habit), adjusted my PC keyboards at home and in the office and undertook a few gentle stretching exercises[1]. After a few weeks the effect had lessened a lot, going away totally in a couple of months.

Best of luck with your condition, I hope you find a viable solution.

- Michael B.

[1] As well as swinging the kettle around before pouring water to make tea, so that I could use my right hand smile .


There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.
Re: Pianist with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome #401242
04/29/06 07:48 PM
04/29/06 07:48 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,595
Pacific Northwest
P
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member
pianobuff  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
P

Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,595
Pacific Northwest
MissPianoLady--
I developed carpal tunnel syndrome in college studying Piano Performance.

It was so depressing. I literally had to stop playing the piano for five years! At that time even looking at a piano hurt.

What I discovered was that I had been taught faulty technique.

Learning a natural technique at the piano saved me.

You had mentioned your thumbs. I am interested to know if you use your thumbs at the piano by moving them vertically, like you do with your other four fingers. This is so unnatural and so many pianists do this.

Try having your hand hang from wrist naturally when carrying the arms over the keyboard to play. Fingers do ALL the work by "taking" from the piano in a kind of sweeping fashion. The thumb should move sideways, the thumb should bend at the knuckle. It you are moving your thumb correctly, the thumb will touch the key next to it. It should be a tall thumb and with a soft sound. Your arm and wrist will move only because your fingers are doing all the work, everything is relaxed. Wrist should naturally be higher than knuckles of hand when playing, forearm parallel to floor.

When I feel I have used my hands/arms in an incorrect way, gardening, computer, etc... I go to the piano and think fingers when I play, and play with technique mentioned. The pain instantly goes away.

I hope the best for you. Good luck and I hope I may have helped. This natural technique of playing the piano has helped me immensely.


Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation
Re: Pianist with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome #401243
04/29/06 08:06 PM
04/29/06 08:06 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,263
Massachusetts
Pathbreaker Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Pathbreaker  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,263
Massachusetts
Does anyone have any good information about Alexander Technique and whether or not it is a decent path for preventing injury or technical problems related to tense muscles?

Re: Pianist with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome #401244
04/29/06 08:21 PM
04/29/06 08:21 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 5,446
Philadelphia
D
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member
Derulux  Offline
5000 Post Club Member
D

Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 5,446
Philadelphia
Quote
Originally posted by PoStTeNeBrAsLuX:
Gyro:
Quote
One physical exercise that may help is to do hand stands--
And if you do them in the shower, it saves buying a bidet.

- Michael B.
Yes, but while the "trickle-down" effect is rather nice, I'm not so sure I'd be fond of its opposite... wink


TO the original topic: My grandmother had the surgery, but tried to postpone it as long as possible. She can still play, but with limited functionality...and she has to be very careful. I'd suggest doing whatever it is you're going to do before the injury gets any worse. Your doctors will know better than me what course of action that should be. wink


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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