2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
91 members (anotherscott, 36251, Anglagard44, AndrewJCW, aphexdisklavier, APianistHasNoName, ambrozy, accordeur, 21 invisible), 904 guests, and 537 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 2 1 2
arthritis and practice?
#579255 05/03/07 09:58 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,990
C
1000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
1000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,990
Well, I finally went to an orthopedic dr. who, after squeezing my thumb (ouch!), said I have arthritis in both thumbs. (I've had burning pain, and extreme wrist stiffness) He said it's an old wives tale that you should continue to exercise the joints - it only worsens the arthritis. I am devastated! After a 25 year lapse of not playing, I went back to the piano in 1982, got accepted as a music major at my college in 1983, and just finished my bachelor's degree in music (took forever, since I work full time). Now I can relax and learn music I want to learn, am finally seeing some real progress, and now this pain/stiffness is severely cutting down my practice time (10-14 hours a week). I am worried that if I continue to play, I won't be able to use my hands at all in the future. Any feedback would really be appreciated. Should I accept this diagnosis? Should I quit piano? I'm sure there are tons of musicians who suffer from arthritis. Thanks.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: arthritis and practice?
#579256 05/03/07 10:17 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,534
G
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
G
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,534
Consider blind pianists for a moment. They
can't even read sheet music and must stuggle
with things that we take for granted. Yet
many of them put normally-sighted pianists
to shame. So you want to whine about
pains in your thumb?

Re: arthritis and practice?
#579257 05/03/07 10:24 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 3,288
L
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
L
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 3,288
Irenev, please ignore the meansprited, unhelpful, and strange comment above.

I'm not old (yet laugh ) But I do play about 20 hours of tennis every week (school team + tournements + training). My left arm (I'm left handed by the way yippie )forearm has been hurting for the past month. My coach said this was due to over use. Now i'm taking 2 days off a week and my arm is feeling a little better.

I don't really know much about arthritis. Can it go away if the thumb is not used?

Matt

Re: arthritis and practice?
#579258 05/03/07 10:31 AM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 476
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 476
I have what I believe is arthritis in my hands but haven't seen a doctor for it. This is mainly in my thumb and index finger. First thing in the morning, my hands are stiff and I can't close my hand into a fist. Movement improves as the day goes on. I haven't seen a doctor but take aspirin and glucosamine chondroitin (maybe misspelled). There is some pain but not bad enough to send me to the doctor yet. I think you might want to get a second opinion as my hands feel better after I've practiced.

Re: arthritis and practice?
#579259 05/03/07 10:33 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,990
C
1000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
1000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,990
Matt, thanks for the kind response. I also play tennis, which further aggravates the pain--thought not what you devote--just a couple of hours a week--only so much time in the day. I don't mind the pain, I can live with that and play with it, but the stiffness greatly impairs my ability to play challenging technical pieces, e.g., long reaches, esp involving huge chords, powerful playing, fast tempo. The forearm and wrist get so stiff that it becomes immovable. We both know how that impact a serious tennis game as well. Stiff wrists can ruin good form.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: arthritis and practice?
#579260 05/03/07 10:39 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,990
C
1000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
1000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,990
Quote
Originally posted by Agilita:
I have what I believe is arthritis in my hands but haven't seen a doctor for it. This is mainly in my thumb and index finger. First thing in the morning, my hands are stiff and I can't close my hand into a fist. Movement improves as the day goes on. I haven't seen a doctor but take aspirin and glucosamine chondroitin (maybe misspelled). There is some pain but not bad enough to send me to the doctor yet. I think you might want to get a second opinion as my hands feel better after I've practiced.
Thanks, I take glucosamine but not with chondroitin (made w/bovine and I don't eat meat). Hopefully, yours is not arthritis. I do want to get a second opinion. thanx.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: arthritis and practice?
#579261 05/03/07 10:44 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 35
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 35
I too was taken aback by Gyro's comment, which shows a surprising lack of compassion! Irenev was not "whining", and her frustration is understandable given that this condition directly affects her ability to play. Blind pianists are to be admired greatly, but their affliction does not impact their physical ability to play, but rather their navigation of the keyboard. Enough said.

Irenev, I am not struggling with this condition (yet), so I don't have advice from the standpoint of experience. However, common sense would seem to dictate that you take it easy during a flare-up and keep playing to a minimum, then go back and do what you can when it eases. (I assume arthritis sufferers have "good" and "bad" days?) Also, seek additional professional opinions and remedies. Don't give up! And my sympathies are with you, even if I have not been much help in a practical sense.

Re: arthritis and practice?
#579262 05/03/07 10:49 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,584
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,584
Quote
Originally posted by Gyro:
Consider blind pianists for a moment. They
can't even read sheet music and must stuggle
with things that we take for granted. Yet
many of them put normally-sighted pianists
to shame. So you want to whine about
pains in your thumb?
I wish I could be indifferent enought to ignore the above post. However, this has to be one of the most mean-spirited, unkindest responses I have read. It would seem to me that the poster of this callous remark has no idea how painful and debilitating living with arthritis can be, and how terrifying the prospect of having to give up a passion may seem.

Blind pianists work against extreme adversity, yes, but they are not working against a physical disability that prevents them from pain-free playing and which may get worse should playing continue.

You indeed have a concern that should, I suspect, be confirmed by a second medical opinion before you take any drastic measures. A second medical opinion might also suggest alternative medications.

To have come to this point and not be able to pursue your passion is indeed - if not tragic - at least very sad and disheartening. I wish you well.

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
Re: arthritis and practice?
#579263 05/03/07 01:00 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,990
C
1000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
1000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,990
Quote
Originally posted by BruceD:
Quote
Originally posted by Gyro:
[b] Consider blind pianists for a moment. They
can't even read sheet music and must stuggle
with things that we take for granted. Yet
many of them put normally-sighted pianists
to shame. So you want to whine about
pains in your thumb?
I wish I could be indifferent enought to ignore the above post. However, this has to be one of the most mean-spirited, unkindest responses I have read. It would seem to me that the poster of this callous remark has no idea how painful and debilitating living with arthritis can be, and how terrifying the prospect of having to give up a passion may seem.

Blind pianists work against extreme adversity, yes, but they are not working against a physical disability that prevents them from pain-free playing and which may get worse should playing continue.

You indeed have a concern that should, I suspect, be confirmed by a second medical opinion before you take any drastic measures. A second medical opinion might also suggest alternative medications.

To have come to this point and not be able to pursue your passion is indeed - if not tragic - at least very sad and disheartening. I wish you well.

Regards, [/b]
Thanks Bruce and Bachinaminute. I was taken aback by Gyro's comments. I wasn't whining about the pain, and thank you Bruce for realizing that. I was saddened that this doctor basically said "don't play the piano." It's a bitter irony-- after all these years of lessons, recitals, practicing, buying a rather lovely AF grand--I am now ready to set up a studio and play for the love of music rather than for grades, and get this crappy news. I was hoping to get some info from other musicians who may have arthritis, or may have been given wrong diagnoses. Although being blind is an awful prospect, one can learn to navigate around the keys and not be restricted by a loss of range of motion. If you can't move the wrist or forearm, and the fingers are stiff, you may as well sell the piano.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: arthritis and practice?
#579264 05/03/07 01:05 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 113
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 113
I think a few more opinions would a good idea. There are doctors that work with musicians and may provide you with a different perspective.

I had a teacher who had a stroke and was told by three different doctors that he'll never play again. He didn't listen, went to another physician and needless to say he plays better than ever to this day.

As for Gyro's comment, it is totally irrelevant (to state the obvious)...Unfortunately humans just may be mean spirited by nature so it's up to those of us fortunate enough to have learned undertsanding, compassion and awareness to provide some positive energy in this universe.

Best of luck.

Re: arthritis and practice?
#579265 05/03/07 01:13 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,546
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,546
I want to add my note of support to you. I truly don't understand the response you got. Yes, get another opinion. See a hand specialist who may be able to refer you to a hand therapist for some rehab. Usually some form of moderate exercise is helpful for arthritis. Not to mention some medications (e.g. anti-inflammatories, but these have to be used with care and under supervision if you are going to use them long term). Ask about use of heat and cold (heat prior to playing to loosen up is sometimes helpful in reducing stiffness, cold afterwards to reduce inflammation) but again, your doctor needs to advise on this. Don't give up and find someone willing to work with you to maintain your ability to play. You might need to take it in smaller time periods, but I bet it's possible. Good Luck!!

Sophia

Re: arthritis and practice?
#579266 05/03/07 01:40 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 12
W
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
W
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 12
Hello Irenev:

I've had psoriatic arthritis in my hands and feet for about the last ten years. To give you some idea where I'm at for comparison all my fingers are swollen at the joints enough that it's not unusual to have people comment on their appearance.

While painful at times, I can honestly say it hasn't hurt my playing, and my playing does not appear to make the condition worse.

Take heart: doctors are often wrong in a good way. Doesn't mean they shouldn't be listened to, but don't forget to factor your own instincts into the equation as well. Your wrists are talking to you after all, not him. They'll tell you when it's time to quit piano (but don't be surprised if they never do).

Best wishes,
William

Re: arthritis and practice?
#579267 05/03/07 02:08 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,990
C
1000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
1000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,990
Quote
Originally posted by william:
Hello Irenev:

I've had psoriatic arthritis in my hands and feet for about the last ten years. To give you some idea where I'm at for comparison all my fingers are swollen at the joints enough that it's not unusual to have people comment on their appearance.

While painful at times, I can honestly say it hasn't hurt my playing, and my playing does not appear to make the condition worse.

Take heart: doctors are often wrong in a good way. Doesn't mean they shouldn't be listened to, but don't forget to factor your own instincts into the equation as well. Your wrists are talking to you after all, not him. They'll tell you when it's time to quit piano (but don't be surprised if they never do).

Best wishes,
William
Is it painful? So sorry. Thanks, I will continue to play with as little tension as possible. My teacher and I are working on that. I will look for a second opinion. I've yet to find a doctor in this area who cares that I'm a musician. I wonder how they would feel if they were told they couldn't perform their job any more?


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: arthritis and practice?
#579268 05/03/07 02:28 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 12
W
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
W
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 12
No the pain isn't too bad, but thanks for asking.

You're smart to go for a second opinion. Perhaps what you need is a doctor who plays--there're bound to be lots of them out there.

Re: arthritis and practice?
#579269 05/03/07 03:14 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
you need to test and heal yourself.. learn to know your hands and what they can do. ice and nsaids relieve swelling and pain.. nsaids will tear up your digestive track if abused. you need to learn how to touch and play the keys without injury. skilled technique and playing is very easy on the hands.

(i sound like a quack but have lived with arthritis for a long time)

meat and animal fats really bother it and nuts make it better. (i really pay very close attention to all this)


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

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: arthritis and practice?
#579270 05/03/07 04:22 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,337
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,337
Just to add to apple's great advice, I am told green tea also is good for arthritis and general inflammation of that kind. I prefer citrus flavors but maybe you could give it a taste and see which one you like. It won't exactly cure you but it can't hurt either. best of luck to you

Re: arthritis and practice?
#579271 05/03/07 05:26 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 631
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 631
I also have psoriatic arthritis, its only very mild in the fingers so far - you can make out slight swelling in the joints. As I understand it, it's a problem with the immune system that causes it to attack the joints - from my talks with my specialists it appears that movement isn't likely to make it any worse. Mine is currently under control with disease-modifying drugs, but they have their own pitfalls to be aware of. Certainly slows down the advance, though.

Re: arthritis and practice?
#579272 05/03/07 07:58 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
and yes.. if it hurts - stop immediately.

I've found however, that accomodating pain.. finding the path of least resistant actually teaches me to play correctly.. a gentle turn of the wrist or elbow.. a slight rotation. i play very softly to find the spot where the tip of the finger aligns with the top of the shoulder with no distortion... using the weight of my arm or hand to depress the key.

What are you playing?


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

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: arthritis and practice?
#579273 05/03/07 11:40 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 88
A
alx Offline
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
A
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 88
I am sorry to hear your hurting, and more sorry to hear that your physician is trying to take away your dream of playing. I am an orthopaedic surgeon, and play the piano. By all means, seek a second opinion with a orthopaedic hand surgeon who has performed an extra year of fellowship training. Many times arthritis in the thumb can be improved with surgery, depending on the severity or depending on which of the thumb joints it affects. Generally extreme amounts of exercize may hasten joint deterioration, howerver moderate amounts of exercize are extremely beneficial for arthritis. Moderate amounts of exercize actually stimutlate the joint lining, call the synovium, to produce lubricating fluid, call synovial fluid. Anti- inflammatory medication, like over the counter Aleve, can often help with pain and inflammation. Chondroitn/glucosamine sulfate may help. Unfortunately I cannot examine you or look at your xrays. With the information, you have provided, I think moderation would be the key. However, seek out and find a fellowship trained orthopaedic hand surgeon, or possible a rhuematologist (a non surgeon, medical physician specializing in arthritis) for an opinion. Believe it or not , even though there is a minimum standard for physicans, there can be great variability in the talent, and abilities of orthopaedic surgeons. Good luck, and keep on playing the piano that you love.

Re: arthritis and practice?
#579274 05/03/07 11:47 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,522
G
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
G
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,522
I too am sorry to hear about your pain. I think the best course of action for you is to follow ark's suggestion and seek another opinion. He is not only a pianist, but also an orthopaedic hand surgeon and therefore is totally qualified to address this problem from a professional perspective.

I wish you well. Gaby Tu

Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

Link Copied to Clipboard
What's Hot!!
News from the Piano World
100,000!
---------------------
NEW! Sell Your Piano on our world famous Piano Forums!
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Searching for my first piano
by AndresVel - 01/16/21 03:34 PM
Tuning pin video
by accordeur - 01/16/21 03:22 PM
Concert pianist opintions regarding DP actions
by Marc345 - 01/16/21 02:50 PM
Size, placement, brand
by Anjru - 01/16/21 02:31 PM
KAWAI CA79 METRONOME
by Giovanni Zanini - 01/16/21 01:43 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics204,299
Posts3,047,419
Members100,079
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4