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Sorry to hear that. Thats one issue when practising physical activities, which is that it is difficult to know at which point it might create a real injury. And it varies so much by individual ! Take care and I wish you a quick recovery. Regards.

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Hi Sammy
I hope you will go back to your doctor— and hopefully get a specialist referral.
I can only begin to imagine how disappointed you are as I know I would be. Please take care of yourself and let us know how you’re doing


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Sammy, I've had a very similar experience - I played other instruments, no problem whatsoever, use computers a lot - then tried the piano and in three months time my hands were ruined.

It took me 5 teachers + Alexander technique + a lot of time to be able to play again. And still, almost 4 years later, my hands and arms are still super sensitive, so I must pay careful attention to my technique all the time. I simply cannot afford to play with sloppy technique.

Iaroslav Vasiliev was correct (as usual) - you'll need to re-program your brain to move your body correctly. You can rest for a year and the pain will still come back as soon as you start playing, because you will be doing the same wrong movements. You'll need to find a piano teacher to guide you through the very basics of movement, in a very gradual manner. Use every book you can can about technique to deepen your knowledge, but don't do it without a teacher.

Most teachers will not suffice in this case. So don't stop looking for the right teacher. Only the fifth teacher I tried was able to put me on track.

Good luck and best wishes!


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Originally Posted by sammyplayspiano
An update for anybody that is interested enough to read it. It's been almost an entire month since I've taken a break for piano and instrument playing of any kind. This morning I decided to play the bass just for a very short amount of time, 10 maybe at most 15 minutes. I soaked my hands in warm water and stretched before hand and it felt very mildly sore after playing, but this has been a typical amount of soreness for the last few weeks. So I didn't think it was an issue. However a few hours later while I was reading my right hand was suddenly very painful, the most painful it's been in a several weeks. To describe the pain it was an intense stinging soreness that started in my wrist and shot through my whole hand. It lasted for about 5 minutes and then subsided to a much less intense dull ache that is continuing even now.

I'm considering going back to the doctor because that was extremely unpleasant and I'm not sure what could have provoked it. I spent a good bit of time on the computer so maybe that's why? I am wondering if the very little bass playing I did caused that?

I appreciate everyone that took the time to respond to my post. This situation is honestly really starting to worry me as this wrist problem is starting to feel like it could be more serve than I initially thought it was. I am kicking myself so hard this point for what seems like an issue that could have been preventable had I just stretched and taken breaks whenever I played for longer periods of time. Extremely frustrating to say the least.
Sammy, please get a referral from your doctor to a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT).

https://www.htcc.org/

These therapists can treat your hand as well as fabricate any custom splints you may need in your recovery.

Last edited by Jethro; 10/14/20 08:07 AM.

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This maybe not relevant, but maybe it is. If the pain comes from using the computer, then it's usually the using of the mouse that's the problem. I have had mild pain from mouse-usage (I have been working on computers for over 30 years), and I changed to a trackball which really helped. At some time I didn't have a trackball and I started to use the mouse with my other hand. It's take a short time of getting used to, but it also helped.
Is the pain only in one hand, and is it the hand that you use the mouse with?

I remember a video on the forum where it was plain to see that somebody was using way too much tension in his / her hands while playing the piano. Maybe if you post a short video of your hands while playing, then somebody will be able to spot if may be there is something wrong with your technique. (It would be way better if a teacher were to have look in real-life, but if that's not possible, then this is probably the next best thing.)

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Not sure if this was mentioned, but have you gone to a physical therapist for hands?
Decades ago I hurt both my wrists in separate events on a job. They had special equipment with heat and massage after each session. Felt very good. Had splint to wear, but eventually got better. There is scar tissue there that acts up if I impinge it. Days of traditional pushups were over. But I am able to play piano without wrist pain.

I would imagine the material has an effect. i.e. Playing a Chopin Polanaise can be trying at times.
Good luck on your recovery.

Last edited by joggerjazz; 10/14/20 08:13 AM.
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As much as I support good teachers they are not qualified or licensed for that matter to treat the kind of injury you are describing. It can become chronic and more serious if you don't take care of it now. Stop playing your instruments and work with the medical team first. Have your doctor refer you to a physical therapist or much preferably a certified hand therapist who can be either a physical therapist or occupational therapist who specializes in hands. That's where they get that extra certification- there's extra training involved specific to the hands as well as several thousand hours training under a mentor.

There are different levels of treatment available for this. The doctor could inject cortisone and follow up with therapy. Or you could go completely conservative with just therapy, splinting, or combination of modalities including ultrasound phonophoresis or iontophoresis with dexamethasone, exercises, stretches, manual therapy etc. But you need an evaluation first to figure out which tendons are involved and then go from there.

Last edited by Jethro; 10/14/20 08:25 AM.

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Originally Posted by Jethro
As much as I support good teachers they are not qualified or licensed for that matter to treat the kind of injury you are describing. It can become chronic and more serious if you don't take care of it now. Stop playing your instruments and work with the medical team first. Have your doctor refer you to a physical therapist or much preferably a certified hand therapist who can be either a physical therapist or occupational therapist who specializes in hands. That's where they get that extra certification- there's extra training involved specific to the hands as well as several thousand hours training under a mentor.

There are different levels of treatment available for this. The doctor could inject cortisone and follow up with therapy. Or you could go completely conservative with just therapy, splinting, or combination of modalities including ultrasound phonophoresis or iontophoresis with dexamethasone, exercises, stretches, manual therapy etc. But you need an evaluation first to figure out which tendons are involved and then go from there.

This is a valid advice. What I suggested should take place after this procedure is done, when the picture is clearer and the injury is treated.


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Given all your symptoms, I would see a hand specialist that has experience with pianists ASAP. Even if you have rotten health insurance. You don't want to cripple yourself with sub-standard health care or self-diagnosis. Personally, I would try to avoid surgery if at all possible.

Following your doctor's orders, you might avail yourself of physical therapy experts. And you might completely re-evaluate your use of of musical instruments, computers, smartphones, etc.

I had wrist arm pain from piano. A Golandsky teacher helped me sort that out and rework my technique. It took several months of rest and very slow return to the piano.

Golandsky has some videos on bad smartphone & computer use you might find on youtube; these electronics could be contributing factors to your issues. There are ergonomic keyboards and mice. You can also look at the US government's propaganda

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/positions.html

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Yikes.

Make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist ASAP. Sounds like something with the median nerve. So many things could have caused this and it's IMPERATIVE that you go get this looked at earlier than later. That's your best chance of avoiding surgery.

Also, when you're healed, find a teacher who specializes in the Alexander and/or Taubman method. I had some RSI issues for a while and it was completely solved by minor adjustments to my piano playing movements. I'm sure there are plenty of other techniques out there as well, but my experience has been with Taubman and some Alexander so I can only speak for those.

On the positive side, even if you do have a mild to moderate case of carpal tunnel syndrome that persists after conservative treatments, the surgery success rates are higher than ever.

Good luck to you! Hope it's nothing too serious!

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You might want to consider a wrist brace when sleeping, one of the softer ones designed for nighttime. Many people tend to curl their hands and wrists when sleeping. And even though that's not the cause, it could exacerbate an existing issue.

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Hi,
I have also overused my tendons. Unfortunately, it is not easy to go back to normal fast.
I cannot play "challenging" pieces for 8 months now smile
oh well...
That's life.
Unfortunately, in my case it was a careless teacher.

I have never encountered this problem on my own.
Noentheless, trauma is trauma, it's what you have to do - to rest as much as you can.
Maybe go to the seaside, get some fresh air.
Limit the amount of time you type, don't lift anything heavy.
Avoid cold.

I don't know, I think these are general requirements.
It will take some time to recover after a bigger trauma.
None of us wants trauma but if it happens you have to accept it as a part of life.


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Second update. It's been a few months now. I will try to keep updating this thread for anyone that might be in a similar boat as I was. There was almost nothing online for the problem I was experiencing. Physical therapy helped, but did not provide a "cure" so to speak. Every exercise I learned from physical therapy could've been found online for free though.

I'm now taking lessons with a teacher that is a professor of piano performance at a local college. Incredibly skilled and knowledgeable about anything and everything piano related. This has also helped improve my hand technique and has helped with my hand pain.

I realize now there is no quick fix for this kind of problem. What was originally a forearm and wrist problem has become exclusively a finger problem. My hands are often cold during and after playing the piano. My arms fall asleep so easily now. Most activities involving my fingers provokes a little bit of soreness or pain in my fingers. Piano, guitar, writing, using my phone, carrying groceries, using and keyboard and mouse (including now). The pain is in the joints of my fingers. I want to add that the pain usually subsides after about 20-30 minutes. I went out of town last weekend and didn't interact with a piano or computer for four days and my finger pain was completely absent.

In October I thought that I would well over this hand problem by now. Never imagined I would still be dealing with these problems in late May of the next year, but I am. Looking for advice from anyone at this point I am pretty desperate. If anyone else has experienced finger joint pain that has lasted several months, what did you do to fix it? I am genuinely so terrified of developing more serious conditions in my fingers since this problem has been going for months.

What should I do at this point? I am looking for advice from any and everybody.

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I sent you a PM. The short version is that if you haven’t already done so, you should see a hand specialist (either an orthopedic hand surgeon or a physiatrist with a special interest in hand problems). If you have already seen them, it sounds like it’s time for a follow up visit (or alternatively, a second opinion).

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
I'm sorry to say it, but in most cases this thing doesn't just heal. It requires movements retraining and without that it may return indefinitely. Many things were written about it, and there are piano teachers who specialize in that retraining. It may be worth searching for one of them in your area.

If you are not advanced yet, the most important point to understand is how crucial it is to keep wrists relaxed when playing piano and how really relaxed they must be. I think many people underestimate the necessary degree of this relaxation. That degree is beyond what we need for our everyday activities and beyond what is required for sports. For piano wrists must be very, very relaxed and flexible. Wrists relaxation is something that requires every day work, it's that important.


About time span for healing I guess it's all individual. You know there are stories among pianists like, 'I tried technique X and I was healed immediately'. And others say it required them a few months of rest and then half a year of retraining. The latter stories I trust more.
This is the advice you need to take on board. Hopefully your new teacher 'gets it'.


never taught a child who had poor technique, just poor practice
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