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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hey everybody! just saying hi, and offering a pair of listening ears to anyone out there who is experiencing health problems related to playing the sax such as RSI, tendonitis, trapped nerves or neurological problems or if something just doesnt feel right when you play, or you seem to be getting worse no matter what you do in your practise. I might be able to offer some advice on where to seek treatment / practitioners or therapies to try. It can be scary and hard to know what to do when things go wrong, so if youre stressing about what to do, just hit me up im there for you :)

Im a sax player in London with dystonia which ive had for 3 years now, its a rare disability which means i cant play any more, but it has caused a lot of secondary problems like RSI tendonitis trapped nerves etc, so ive been around the block :)

stay safe out there!
 

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Hello, sorry to hear about your dystonia.

I can only offer my sympathy and my thoughts, you are certainly a brave man to react this way.

I have suffered and suffer many ailments in my hands. It began with a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome which took place after initial shoulder problems ( the cause of which was never entirely determined but I received many many different therapies trying to heal them). A neurologist told me that I had no choice but to have this operation (both hands) in order to prevent further neural problems which may have prevented me to play altogether if left untreated.

Scared by this perspective I agreed and was operated by two different surgeons in two different hospitals. I have to say , with hindsight (although I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t) this was a bad idea. From then on I had way more problems that I had before to may hands and certainly the scars of the operations were and are very sensitive and at times painful.

During a post-op check up a hand surgeon specialist at the local hospital (because of the metal industry they have a particular specialty in hands surgery) verified that I have two different types of thumb arthritis on both hands again. They ordered awkward custom made braces which may prevent further damage ( after a while I stopped using them). They told than at best worsening could have ben slowed down but it was problem that I had to deal with. My mother has pretty much the same condition.

I have also an hereditary condition called Dupuytren disease on both hands although, to date not in a very serious form, yet (and may never get that serious, my father had it too but he didn’t complain too much , but he didn’t play).

Few months ago I started experiencing growing problems with the co-ordination of my finger movements , it seemed to affect also other fingers ( index and middle) that aren’t nomally associated with Dupuytren disease especially the distal phalanxes affecting my playing rather dramatically.

To date I don’t know if what I am experiencing now is a functional problem or a neural one or a psychic problem associated with the current stress and isolation. All these hypothesis have been made by doctors.

I am very concerned. My playing has received a serious and deep dent and all of a sudden I managed to lose much of the whatever little abilities that I had gained in years of playing.

I understand that your problems are way more serious than mine but I feel incredibly sad to have to accept the consequences of this conditions .

As I said, you are a brave man. Accepting that one may have been dealt a bad hand ( the pun in involuntary) from life is a very difficult thing.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
hi milandro :) :) LOVED THE PUN, accidental or not🤣🤣🤣

thanks for telling your story here, it sounds really tough im sorry to hear your treatment hasnt helped your situation. these things are so complicated its hard to know what the results will be. what we all want is to find someone who really understands playing an instrument and how best to help. there are some amazing people out there who fit this category :)

On the Duputren's contracture its a wait-and-see thing over time isnt it. i know some people doing great work on this though so if it materialises in time, you will be able to get help with it.


The coordination issues you describe sound concerning. Obviously im unable to offer any really comment without more detail but by the sounds of how you describe it, i could offer a total guess that emotional stress and anxiety about isolation etc could be interfering and interacting with slightly dysfunctional movement patterns that you have learned over time through your previous injuries and surgeries. This is only based on my own experience and knowledge gained from my own treatments, so i would definitely recommend speaking to someone who is both qualified and able to help :) there are lots of them out there if you know where to look. if youre interested in some recommendations please DM me and i can definitely help with that, also i can offer some advice on simple and safe techniques you can try and see if they make a difference :)
 

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@tbh85

I agree the pun is particularly fitting the case ;)

Anyway, thanks. I am still trying to determine the nature of the problem. It may have something to do with all the conditions or not. Very difficult to make sense of it all, for me as it is for the professionals.
I am going to try to see what I can do locally but I’ll keep you offer in mind. Wishing you all the best.
 

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I'm sorry for you. Unfortunately I can only offer you sympathy, as I live in the U.S.. I hope It helps to know that you're not alone. I used to have a crooked jaw before playing, and playing the saxophone straightened it out, incorrectly, and now my jaw pops in and out of place and hurts sometimes.

I hope you stay well!
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@tbh85

I agree the pun is particularly fitting the case ;)

Anyway, thanks. I am still trying to determine the nature of the problem. It may have something to do with all the conditions or not. Very difficult to make sense of it all, for me as it is for the professionals.
I am going to try to see what I can do locally but I’ll keep you offer in mind. Wishing you all the best.
(y)(y) good luck, a LOT can be accomplished on video calls especially with self-directed rehab programs so i hope you find what you need, soon! :)
 

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my friend and teacher has dystonia...for a long time. He was accepted as a candidate a to a treatment at a reputable hospital involving a type of brain surgery to release his hands and fingers from the problem. This is his life and work. The procedure is in 72 hours. We are hoping for a successful operation. Quite a remarkable journey.
 

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How awful, what you guys are going through! The pain in my slightly arthritic left thumb has diminished considerably over the years and I have stopped wearing a brace, (wrap around wrist-thumb) and I’m able to enjoy playing clarinet and saxes. An exercise that helps me is pulling the thumb out, somehow relieving the thumbs joint,
(from a physio).
I’m so sorry to hear of your maladies and can offer no remedy except to wish you good luck.
 
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How awful, what you guys are going through! The pain in my slightly arthritic left thumb has diminished considerably over the years and I have stopped wearing a brace, (wrap around wrist-thumb) and I’m able to enjoy playing clarinet and saxes. An exercise that helps me is pulling the thumb out, somehow relieving the thumbs joint,
(from a physio).
I’m so sorry to hear of your maladies and can offer no remedy except to wish you good luck.
Thanks mate! Coincidentally, when I get thumb pain, pulling the thumb out and popping the joint relieves it as well. I also wish you a better future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm sorry for you. Unfortunately I can only offer you sympathy, as I live in the U.S.. I hope It helps to know that you're not alone. I used to have a crooked jaw before playing, and playing the saxophone straightened it out, incorrectly, and now my jaw pops in and out of place and hurts sometimes.

I hopw you stay well!
my friend and teacher has dystonia...for a long time. He was accepted as a candidate a to a treatment at a reputable hospital involving a type of brain surgery to release his hands and fingers from the problem. This is his life and work. The procedure is in 72 hours. We are hoping for a successful operation. Quite a remarkable journey.
thanks for posting this. sending up strong positive vibes for your friend for a strong positive result from the surgery 🤞👆🌟💫 do check back in and let us know how your friend is doing
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm sorry for you. Unfortunately I can only offer you sympathy, as I live in the U.S.. I hope It helps to know that you're not alone. I used to have a crooked jaw before playing, and playing the saxophone straightened it out, incorrectly, and now my jaw pops in and out of place and hurts sometimes.

I hope you stay well!
ouch sounds painful! that is a drag, keep the faith!
 

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Hello, sorry to hear about your dystonia.

I can only offer my sympathy and my thoughts, you are certainly a brave man to react this way.

I have suffered and suffer many ailments in my hands. It began with a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome which took place after initial shoulder problems ( the cause of which was never entirely determined but I received many many different therapies trying to heal them). A neurologist told me that I had no choice but to have this operation (both hands) in order to prevent further neural problems which may have prevented me to play altogether if left untreated.

Scared by this perspective I agreed and was operated by two different surgeons in two different hospitals. I have to say , with hindsight (although I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t) this was a bad idea. From then on I had way more problems that I had before to may hands and certainly the scars of the operations were and are very sensitive and at times painful.

During a post-op check up a hand surgeon specialist at the local hospital (because of the metal industry they have a particular specialty in hands surgery) verified that I have two different types of thumb arthritis on both hands again. They ordered awkward custom made braces which may prevent further damage ( after a while I stopped using them). They told than at best worsening could have ben slowed down but it was problem that I had to deal with. My mother has pretty much the same condition.

I have also an hereditary condition called Dupuytren disease on both hands although, to date not in a very serious form, yet (and may never get that serious, my father had it too but he didn’t complain too much , but he didn’t play).

Few months ago I started experiencing growing problems with the co-ordination of my finger movements , it seemed to affect also other fingers ( index and middle) that aren’t nomally associated with Dupuytren disease especially the distal phalanxes affecting my playing rather dramatically.

To date I don’t know if what I am experiencing now is a functional problem or a neural one or a psychic problem associated with the current stress and isolation. All these hypothesis have been made by doctors.

I am very concerned. My playing has received a serious and deep dent and all of a sudden I managed to lose much of the whatever little abilities that I had gained in years of playing.

I understand that your problems are way more serious than mine but I feel incredibly sad to have to accept the consequences of this conditions .

As I said, you are a brave man. Accepting that one may have been dealt a bad hand ( the pun in involuntary) from life is a very difficult thing.
There is life after hand disease. I too have Dupuytren's and have had the surgery on both hands. The nodules tend to reoccur so I'll probably need it again in a few years. I've got about ten years on the first surgeries. With that disease, the hand will eventually be pulled closed and you can end up with clubbed hands. I've had trigger fingers released also. From a playing standpoint, my hands can become extremely cramped, to the point I need to physically pull the crooked finger into a normal position. For me, the absolute worst position is left pinky playing a low Bb. Damn, it gets locked and can be painful to "unsnap" it back to a normal position. All that said, I would persist seeking physicians who are hand experts. Treatments get better every year. Lastly, you may want to try hot wax treatments, a process of immersing your hand in a deep pool of melted wax and letting it harden. The heat is retained in the hand. When done, just peel it off and put it back in the heating unit. It was very helpful for me, and also my wife who has bad arthritis.

Best of luck to you. Hang in there.
 

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I have Dupuytrens too. My wife's hand surgeon ( for basal joint arthritis ) told me not to wait too long. If it's pulling your fingers inward don't wait until they are pulled all way closed to get the surgery. Do it when the fingers are at a 45 degree angle or less.

Another, non surgeon, said wait until it's absolutely necessary because follow-up surgery isn't as successful. I have it in both hands and the soles of my feet. I have nodules on my foot tendons the size of big marbles and they hurt like hell when I walk in high arched shoes, which I've always needed because I was born with high arches. Enough about me. Fortunately the only thing bothering my playing is the osteoarthritis in my pinky joints. Some days they want to lock up, especially on clarinet.

I had a co-worker with dystonia that caused her head to bobble. She took botox injections to calm it but as it got worse she had a harder time holding her head up because higher doses of botox were needed. She was considering getting a pacemaker-like brain implant but never got up the nerve to pull the trigger. We lost touch after I retired so I don't know if she ever followed through. It's a tough condition. A priest at our church had it and it affected his speech. It's a hard thing to deal with.
 

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thanks for all the posts, fortunately the Dupuytren disease is not yet closing the fingers and it may never do that since my father only ever had the nodules ( on my hands they are visible only on the right hand but you can feel them also in my left) but never experience too many problems.

best of good health to all
 
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What a great idea for a thread. I just wanted to extend my very best wishes to you thb85, and to all posters on this thread. Your attitude and desire to help others is inspiring. I've had a few problems with RSI and a soft palate issue in the past but only very minor in comparison, so I can only imagine how difficult it must be being unable to play.

Hoping for peace, progress and good health for all
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
What a great idea for a thread. I just wanted to extend my very best wishes to you thb85, and to all posters on this thread. Your attitude and desire to help others is inspiring. I've had a few problems with RSI and a soft palate issue in the past but only very minor in comparison, so I can only imagine how difficult it must be being unable to play.

Hoping for peace, progress and good health for all
thanks for your good wishes, right back at you :) sorry to hear about your RSI thats extremely frustrating, nothing minor about not being able to play. take care
 

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I have Dupuytrens as well. I’m not even 40 and have visible nodules in my left hand. So far it hasn’t affected me much but I worry about it. My dad has it so bad he’s had multiple surgeries on both hands and the last couple didn’t do much if any good.
 

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As an update, the surgery was successful, only the second musician in the world to receive this operation, it was considered successful. Its a 5 year study with a lot of fine tuning over the next year but eventually their will be less and everything will be more normal..less thinking about the "new adaptor" implanted. Amazing thing to occur, maybe you will read stuff about it someday.
My friend is tired but healthy and healing.
 
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