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Beemer Offline OP
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I suffer from finger osteoarthritis and have painful first joints that have developed Heberden nodes which are large swellings of bone around the joints. Over the last two weeks when playing, my left index finger joint can suddenly produce such an excruciating pain that I cannot continue. I suspect that the cartilage has now deteriorated so much that bone nerves are being compressed. The strange thing is that I can press on the tip of that finger as hard as I can without pain but if I flex or put upward pressure on the joint the pain is like a needle jabbed into the joint.

As far as I know nothing can be done to fix this and I am in dispair. The exception is that a surgeon has offered to permanently cement that joint straight or at an angle. Two things come to mind. The first is might the pain remain and second what effect would this have on my playing if the other fingers were not similarly cemented?

Just now I am trying to play without using that left index finger and finding it extremely difficult and frustrating.

Thanks for reading if you got this far and if anyone has advice I will be happy to read it.

Ian


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My friend who suffers from OA has stopped eating processed sugar to lessen inflammation. Don't know if this is medically helpful but she is convinced it is. She is also very physically active, does daily aerobics, yoga and stretching. She also took some prescription drug everyday but can't remember what it was called. She dropped it after she stopped eating sugar.

I have ligament damage in my fingers. I do daily hand stretching and massage. 15mins a day 1st thing in the morning. I've experienced pain like you describe, press finger tips with force and no pain but needle like crippling pain when curling the finger joints upward. I discovered the stretching and massage almost eliminate the pain.

Good luck.


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Originally Posted by Fidel
My friend who suffers from OA has stopped eating processed sugar to lessen inflammation. Don't know if this is medically helpful but she is convinced it is. She is also very physically active, does daily aerobics, yoga and stretching. She also took some prescription drug everyday but can't remember what it was called. She dropped it after she stopped eating sugar.

I have ligament damage in my fingers. I do daily hand stretching and massage. 15mins a day 1st thing in the morning. I've experienced pain like you describe, press finger tips with force and no pain but needle like crippling pain when curling the finger joints upward. I discovered the stretching and massage almost eliminate the pain.

Good luck.


I would like to ditto this advice. Your condition is most probably reversible but it does require a multiprong approach. I would recommend that you investigate the following lifestyle questions for possible areas that can be changed and improved:

1) First and foremost reduce stress. Various activities can help you do this.

2) Eating habits. I feel vegetable, whole grain based diets (not wheat) provide the best foundation for healing. A good amount of water, seeds, cleansing herbs help remove accrued toxins in the body. Moderate eating and avoiding all liquids that are less than room temperature. Avoid eating after 7:00pm is very helpful.

3) Sleep habits affect your ability to properly digest and renew.

4) Moderate exercise helps move the blood which nourishes and removes toxins. Avoid all forms of exercise that will exasperate your problem and this includes piano playing until you heal. Definitely review whether you carry tension in n your body especially from you shoulders through your fingers.

5) Moderate breathing exercises to improve your overall system.

Hope these ideas help you. This is not a short term healing process. It will take time, but the toxins that have accumulated in your joints can be naturally flushed out and will allow your body to heal itself.

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I have similar issues with the two index fingers and lesser pain/discomfort in the other fingers - I can no longer bend the index fingers as far as the other fingers, they stick out somewhat and have similar nodes to yours on the LH index finger. As I also have arthritis in my neck joints which injections failed to help, I was prescribed anti-inflammatorys (NSAIDs) Naproxen - non-steroidal. I also apply marjoram oil diluted in almond oil to the fingers. Unfortunately I cannot use the NSAID medication every day as it thins the blood which leads to other problems so I take one every other day. I suspect my fingers are not so advanced as yours but it affects dexterity in fast passages, which can also provoke that sudden searing pain. Not sure it makes a huge difference to the fingers but it gives some temporary relief to the neck for part of the day.

It is depressing and for the last 4- 5 years, having bought a digital piano, I have been in something of a race against time, recording an ever-decreasing repertoire so that when the time comes at least I can then listen and take some consolation that I used to be able to play those pieces.

I hope that it will be possible for there to be some intervention that extends your playing days. All the best.

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I have the same problem and think I am also in a race against time as my dad had the same malady and was in a great deal of pain at the end of his life.. I have been a life long knitter and think the constant hand exercise has helped. I think your case is probably more advanced but a cortisone injection in the joint can help. I have found running warm water over my hands before starting to practice helps too. I notice my right, first finger which has a huge nodule and is fairly twisted will not "flatten out" and it really affects my reach. I always have to remind my teacher when she marks fingering that some of what is optimum for here is never going to work for me. I think before I had any fusing surgery, I would want a second opinion-- Is that possible with your health care system? It is getting harder to do here.

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I think most GPs would suggest you keep those fingers mobile insofar as you can. I have similar, stiffness but no pain; piano definitely keeps things moving for me; maybe you can use a lighter repertoire and avoid certain finger positions. I wish you well.

Things have improved for me when I stopped using a computer mouse . . . .

Last edited by peterws; 09/04/18 02:19 PM.

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I have a similar problem, only with the left thumb instead of the index finger. I have had partial relief from massaging, squeezing "therapy putty" (which comes in various softness/hardness), and doing finger exercises, plus giving up holding my tablet, my phone, and my artist palette in that hand, as well as giving up knitting. I hope you find a solution.

Last edited by mom3gram; 09/04/18 03:11 PM.

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I know that many people get significant relief of pain symptoms by dipping their hands in hot wax dips in the morning.

I also read the medical guidelines that say that topical (and sometimes oral) NSAIDs should be applied frequently until the inflammation subsides, along with gentle massage and passive joint movements. And after having the inflammation subsided frequent active range-of-motion exercises, massage and gentle stretching is recommended. Exercising in the water is more efficient.

Considering surgery, there are several types of joint prostheses available.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4787560/

And in the future the stem cell therapy is anticipated to become a breakthrough in OA tratment.


Wish you all the best!

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Originally Posted by mom3gram
I have a similar problem, only with the left thumb instead of the index finger. I have had partial relief from massaging, squeezing "therapy putty" (which comes in various softness/hardness), and doing finger exercises, plus giving up holding my tablet, my phone, and my artist palette in that hand, as well as giving up knitting. I hope you find a solution.


I also have an issue with my left thumb. In addition to the above, I also wear a thumb brace during the day. The brace really helps reduce the pain while wearing it.



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To those of you who have issues with inflammation: Curcumin (which is the yellow part of the spice turmeric) is a well-established anti-inflammatory chemical. It has rather poor bio-availability, but there are ways of increasing absorption in the human body (e.g. eating it along with piperine, which is a constituent of black pepper).

It is apparently very effective against inflammation, and also healthy in various other ways. I suggest you look into it.


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Originally Posted by NobleHouse
Originally Posted by mom3gram
I have a similar problem, only with the left thumb instead of the index finger. I have had partial relief from massaging, squeezing "therapy putty" (which comes in various softness/hardness), and doing finger exercises, plus giving up holding my tablet, my phone, and my artist palette in that hand, as well as giving up knitting. I hope you find a solution.


I also have an issue with my left thumb. In addition to the above, I also wear a thumb brace during the day. The brace really helps reduce the pain while wearing it.


There is something called the exocet insert; it refers to a piece of carbon fibre which is slipped into the previous cartilage housing by a doctor of some description. It's a new thing, and seems to give good results. . . .


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Yup, NobleHouse, I wear a thumb brace at home when it gets really bad also. I don't like driving with it, nor do I like answering questions about what I did to my thumb, so I don't usually wear it away from home unless I'm desperate. LOL


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Originally Posted by mom3gram
Yup, NobleHouse, I wear a thumb brace at home when it gets really bad also. I don't like driving with it, nor do I like answering questions about what I did to my thumb, so I don't usually wear it away from home unless I'm desperate. LOL


I wear mine all day at work. Take it off at night and the weekends.



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Aww, Beemer, I'm sorry. No advice, just simple sympathy.

For this,
Originally Posted by mom3gram
like answering questions about what I did to my thumb
my advice is straight from the Wise Guy Playbook. Tell people that it is overuse from hitchhiking, or tried to give two "thumbs up" using one hand, or that you jammed it up... ...okay maybe you don't want to go that far.


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Originally Posted by Beemer
I suffer from finger osteoarthritis and have painful first joints that have developed Heberden nodes which are large swellings of bone around the joints.
Ian


Very sorry to hear this. There has been some great advice on this thread about reducing stress and diet, to which I would add that it is worth a look at food intolerances and allergies which *sometimes* can cause or agravate the complaint. Getting this diet sorted out is I think probably the best long term help you are going to get for the arthritis.

Personally I wouldn't want to have finger joints fused as I believe lack of movement contributes to the problem. I recommend daily soaking hands in quite warm water then gentle exercises and stretching while they are warm and relaxed. After the exercise give it 30 minutes rest then soak the hands in chilled water to reduce any pain and inflammation, in fact just the cycles of hot and cold soaks in themselves should help a bit.

To give you some hope I had this same problem with quite enlarged nodes for which the medical consensus seemed to be 'you can do stuff to slow or even arrest the growth of these but not reduce them' but the key for me (in addition to all the very recommendable stuff in this thread) was when I bought one of the 'snake oil' magnetic bracelets not because I thought it would do anything but to appease my wife who thought I should try one. Having a science background I didn't think the magnetism would do anything (although I bought the strongest magnetic field one available) but I did get a solid copper and unvarnished based bracelet rather than steel or platinum as there is at least a long established tradition of wearing copper as an arthritis cure so I thought the thing might have some chance of doing something. Anyway, the moment I put the bracelet on my remark was 'that's odd it feels as if its tingling'. Just four or five days later my comment was 'that's odd it feels as if my fingers are improving already, that's ridiculous, it must be in the mind'. Two weeks later it was 'are those swellings a bit smaller or am I imagining it?'. Six months later all the pain had completely gone, so had the nodes on my fingers, so even had almost all of the nodes on my toes. Almost coincidentally with that my body started reacting to the copper with irritation and swelling and I can't wear the bracelet any more, but I don't need to either :-)

Now I can't say these bracelet things will work like that for anyone else, quite frankly it seems ridiculous that they worked like that for me and I still don't know if it was the magnet or the simple copper that was important. But there are lots of things to try so don't give up. Pretty much anything that reduces either stress or inflamation or is a traditional arthritis cure is likely to help so keep working at it - do enough small things to help and you can get on top of it.

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
I know that many people get significant relief of pain symptoms by dipping their hands in hot wax dips in the morning.

I also read the medical guidelines that say that topical (and sometimes oral) NSAIDs should be applied frequently until the inflammation subsides, along with gentle massage and passive joint movements. And after having the inflammation subsided frequent active range-of-motion exercises, massage and gentle stretching is recommended. Exercising in the water is more efficient.

Considering surgery, there are several types of joint prostheses available.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4787560/

And in the future the stem cell therapy is anticipated to become a breakthrough in OA tratment.


Wish you all the best!

Some who had these implanted reported that although they had increased movement they still experienced pain. I already have hand surgery for a different problem so am aware of the long recovery time. I will continue with the local anti-inflammatory gel because I have multiple myeloma which means I cannot take oral anti inflammatory medication.
thanks for the link.
Ian


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Originally Posted by Beemer

Some who had these implanted reported that although they had increased movement they still experienced pain. I already have hand surgery for a different problem so am aware of the long recovery time. I will continue with the local anti-inflammatory gel because I have multiple myeloma which means I cannot take oral anti inflammatory medication.
thanks for the link.
Ian


I see. Multiple myeloma is a serious condition. I hope you overcome it very soon. Take care.

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Originally Posted by QuasiUnaFantasia
To those of you who have issues with inflammation: Curcumin (which is the yellow part of the spice turmeric) is a well-established anti-inflammatory chemical. It has rather poor bio-availability, but there are ways of increasing absorption in the human body (e.g. eating it along with piperine, which is a constituent of black pepper).

It is apparently very effective against inflammation, and also healthy in various other ways. I suggest you look into it.


+1


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I have a similar problem, though not as severe, and have gotten relief from wrapping my joints with self adhesive bandage wrap that I purchased from Amazon. I split it down the middle and use just enough to make 2 wraps around my finger. It's flexible enough to not impede playing but adds enough support to give some relief.

I hope you can find some relief and keep playing. All the best.

Last edited by jarobi; 09/16/18 12:16 PM.
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I was getting joint pain in my fingers, and sometimes when i would play the piano, my fingers would lock up. I started following Dr. Joel Wallach's advise and started supplementing my diet with Osteo-FX, Gluco-gel, and Ultimate EFA.
After 2 months the inflammation and pain is gone and it has made a huge impact on my hands and playing the piano.
All the Best and Good Luck!!
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