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Any professional musicians?


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Old 06-18-2016, 01:35 PM   #1
ilovelordh
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Post Any professional musicians?

Hi all,

This is my first post. I'm a professional cellist, and I was diagnosed with mild CTS in 2012. I've tried splints, stretching exercises and acupuncture, but I still have numbness and pain in my bowing hand and wrist. I've tried looking at my technique and posture, but I think part of the problem is having very cold, dry hands all the time, which causes me to grip the bow more. I've finally resorted to surgery in a couple of weeks, after having cancelled one op last year, and I keep reading about long recovery times and painful, troublesome scar tissue. Are there any musicians out there who have any advice? Thanks!

 
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Old 06-24-2016, 04:44 AM   #2
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Re: Any professional musicians?

Not a musician but I had right wrist carpal tunnel release in June 2012. My surgery went smoothly and my recovery was not long and I had minimal pain. I was 2 weeks in post opp splint and then 4 weeks with brace. I had one physical therapy appointment when splint came off. Pt gave me a few exercise to do at home, which I did religiously every day. When I saw surgeon again he liked my progress and said to just keep doing the exercises. I have no problems with scar tissue and my wrist feels great and no tingling in my fingers anymore.
Make sure your surgeon is a hand specialist, it can really makes a difference who does surgery.

Good luck with your surgery.

 
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Old 06-24-2016, 01:23 PM   #3
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Re: Any professional musicians?

Hello Mycats,

Thanks so much for your reply. I'm so glad that your surgery worked out well. It's good to hear a positive story!

Lots of people seem to complain about numbness and pain with CTS. I don't have pain ( yet ) and the numbness is only in the winter months. I also suffer terribly with dry and constantly cold hands, and I wondered if that was a symptom of CTS, or just bad circulation (in which case I'm wondering if I need an operation ? Or perhaps the two symptoms are linked??

All the best.


 
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Old 06-24-2016, 07:51 PM   #4
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Re: Any professional musicians?

Did you have nerve conduction test to help make diagnosis? I had pain, numbness and tingling in my hand and fingers all the time. Sometimes it got so bad I could not use my hand. My ortho did nerve test to confirm diagnosis of CTS.

I also suffer from cold hands due to raynolds syndrome, which is separate issue from CTS for me as it affects my hand and feet.

Before you let some cut into you make sure you are certain of diagnosis, you may want to get second opinion.

 
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Old 06-25-2016, 07:31 AM   #5
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Re: Any professional musicians?

I did have nerve conduction tests, and my consultant said that the CTS was worse in my left hand, but I have pain in the heel of my right hand, near the median nerve, when I play cello, as well as numbness at various times, which makes me wonder which hand to have surgery on first!

I, like you, have cold hands and feet, and my hands go from being ice cold outside,even in June, to quite red in central heated rooms. I just want to make sure that the numbness isn't caused by my circulatory problems rather than CTS before I go under the knife! (Thankfully, should it come down to surgery, my surgeon is meant to be one of the best hand-specialists in the country.) Thanks for your replies.

 
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Old 06-26-2016, 08:31 AM   #6
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Re: Any professional musicians?

I wonder if you have considered the way you are using your whole body, particularly across the shoulders which are controlled by the cervical vertebrae? A small cervical nerve irritation or compression can cause symptoms like temperature change, numbness, tingling, etc. Symptoms can occur at the point of compression, or anywhere along the path of the nerve, called a dermatome.

Have you ever heard of or looked into a system of bodywork called the "Alexander Technique?" Many professional musicians here in the US rely upon it to keep them in tip top shape. You can find information about it online. I assume it is practiced in the UK.

 
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Old 06-26-2016, 10:52 AM   #7
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Re: Any professional musicians?

Thank you for your reply. I have paid very close attention to my posture and technique throughout my career, and especially in the last few years since having the CTS diagnosis in 2012. As a student, my cello teacher insisted that I have Alexander Technique, so it is not new to me, but I haven't had it in years. The problem is that wherever you look for solutions, someone will recommend something that they swear by. Tai Chi has been lauded, I tried acupuncture recently which helped some, but not enough, physical therapy which didn't, just started vitamin B complex from having read other posts on here, and it's just mind-boggling how much there is to try, and how little time and money! I'm also due to try Active Release Technique on Thursday next week, in the hope that 3 sessions before my impending surgery on the 11th July may actually help enough to make me consider postponing surgery!

 
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Old 06-28-2016, 06:46 AM   #8
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Re: Any professional musicians?

It is frustrating but sometimes it takes a variety of treatments to get some relief. I would think ART would help, but not sure how much you can accomplish in three sessions. Also, it might not hurt to meet with an Alexander technique practioner just to be sure you haven't developed muscle tension etc. that you are not aware of.

Good luck to you. I know how difficult it is to decide exactly when surgery is necessary and when is the right time!

 
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Old 06-28-2016, 03:56 PM   #9
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Re: Any professional musicians?

OK, I was wrong about three sessions maybe not being enough to see if it would help, or not....I have a standing weekly appointment with a guy who uses a combination of therapies that bear some similarity to ART and he has training in ART. We talked a bit about your situation....he has treated musicians that play in orchestras here in the US and he is familiar with the " diagnosis" of Carpal tunnel. He felt that you should know or at least have some idea after three treatments if ART is going to help. I wish I could tell you more about his treatment modality, but I don't fully understand the premise it is based on well enough to explain it in such limited space.

But generally, in something like carpal tunnel the issues are not just limited to that small localized area. There are other issues that are contributing and perhaps causing the problems. Usually there are adhesions that form in the connective tissue throughout the body due to structural misalignment, abnormal strain, repetition, etc. The aim of treatment is to restore structural alignment and balance, break up focal adhesions, restore the health of the connective tissue and to learn better movement if necessary.... To just treat the localized center of pain does not address other issues that caused the problems in the first place.

In my guy's opinion, there can be a need for surgery, but very, very often, other treatment modalities are preferable in the long run.

ART is a good place to start. Hopefully you will have a good practitioner who really understands the principles of ART. Unfortunately there is no "governing body" so one never knows if a particular practioner will be good or not.

 
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Old 06-29-2016, 04:51 AM   #10
ilovelordh
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Smile Re: Any professional musicians?

Thanks so much for your detailed reply, which was very reassuring. Everything you said made sense to me, as I have always had neck/shoulder fatigue, and more recently, shoulder blade pain which I am sure links with the pain I have in the heel of my hand when I exert pressure whilst playing. It just doesn't follow that CTS surgery is going to get rid of all of that. Also, there are other health issues which make me more prone to CTS, as well as a hereditary factor. I can't see how an operation is going to eliminate all of that.

I started doing some back strengthening exercises a few days ago, and very interestingly, the pain moved to a different place. ( further up to the trapezius muscle, which is where I used to have pain when I was much younger )

I see my ART guy tomorrow, and he did say in a phone conversation, that he would be able to tell me after two or three sessions whether I would need surgery. Here's hoping!

Thanks again, and I'll keep you posted

 
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Old 06-29-2016, 06:19 AM   #11
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Re: Any professional musicians?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovelordh View Post
Thanks so much for your detailed reply, which was very reassuring. Everything you said made sense to me, as I have always had neck/shoulder fatigue, and more recently, shoulder blade pain which I am sure links with the pain I have in the heel of my hand when I exert pressure whilst playing. It just doesn't follow that CTS surgery is going to get rid of all of that. Also, there are other health issues which make me more prone to CTS, as well as a hereditary factor. I can't see how an operation is going to eliminate all of that.

I started doing some back strengthening exercises a few days ago, and very interestingly, the pain moved to a different place. ( further up to the trapezius muscle, which is where I used to have pain when I was much younger )

I see my ART guy tomorrow, and he did say in a phone conversation, that he would be able to tell me after two or three sessions whether I would need surgery. Here's hoping!

Thanks again, and I'll keep you posted
Everything that teteri66 work makes sense. I did try conservative measures, not sure what it is called but sounds something like what teteri66 was describing where they break the adhesions in the connective tissue. That gave me temporary relief from my CTS in my right wrist, but more importantly it got rid of all the muscle spasms I was having. I think that may be why my surgery worked so well as the underlying cause was treated as well. Although my right wrist needed the surgery, as it was really bad, my left wrist which had mild CTS has not given me any problems since then.

I hope everything works outo for you and you don't need surgery.

 
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Old 06-29-2016, 11:13 AM   #12
ilovelordh
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Re: Any professional musicians?

Thanks! It's entirely possible that I may need to go ahead with the surgery, and work on the rest of my body before and afterwards as well.

 
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carpal tunnel syndrome, cts surgery, recovery time, scar tissue



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