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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What it is is about six months ago I bought a new piano, a beautiful Yamaha. It’s more resistant than my old keyboard and I didn’t exactly ease into it, in fact I guess you could say I was a little over enthusiastic. It just sounded so good. I started developing cramps in my hands so my doctor gave me quinine sulfate and the cramps went away but I developed numbness in my hands to the point where I can’t feel the keys. I went to a surgeon who sent me to a neurologist who prescribed prednisone and physical therapy. Neither did anything. My physical therapist says I absolutely have to stop practicing or I’ll destroy the nerves in my hands, two doctors said I don’t and one says I need to back off. I’m having a nerve conduction test done in December, they couldn’t see me before then. The PT says nerves regenerate one millimeter per day and I might have to take 200 days off. That’s impossible for me. I have an email in with a school that teaches injured pianists and I’m waiting to hear back from them. Has anyone on here been injured and if so do you know a doctor in the NY area who specializes in treating musician related injuries? Thank you for your time. Phil Barone
 

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Did they say anything about carpal tunnel syndrome? I would ease off like the docs said. Nerve conduction tests I suspect will only reinforce what they already know. I would be very conservative with this. Too many doctors can be a bad thing. Get well soon
 

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Sorry to hear.

If the action on the Yamaha is too heavy, talk to a good piano tech. It can be adjusted.
 

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What it is is about six months ago I bought a new piano, a beautiful Yamaha. It's more resistant than my old keyboard and I didn't exactly ease into it, in fact I guess you could say I was a little over enthusiastic. It just sounded so good. I started developing cramps in my hands so my doctor gave me quinine sulfate and the cramps went away but I developed numbness in my hands to the point where I can't feel the keys. I went to a surgeon who sent me to a neurologist who prescribed prednisone and physical therapy. Neither did anything. My physical therapist says I absolutely have to stop practicing or I'll destroy the nerves in my hands, two doctors said I don't and one says I need to back off. I'm having a nerve conduction test done in December, they couldn't see me before then. The PT says nerves regenerate one millimeter per day and I might have to take 200 days off. That's impossible for me. I have an email in with a school that teaches injured pianists and I'm waiting to hear back from them. Has anyone on here been injured and if so do you know a doctor in the NY area who specializes in treating musician related injuries? Thank you for your time. Phil Barone
Oohhh... I am cringing..... So, peripheral nerves do regenerate after they have been severed - cut - torn out - you name it, at a rate of average 1mm per day but there are differences in motor and sensory nerves. And most importantly, that is not what you are looking at.

Let's go over what you did to yourself.
- you practiced too much and probably got some tendonitis / inflammation a.k.a. carpal tunnel syndrome.
- you took some quinine sulfate to counter the pain and that's exactly what it did by numbing your receptors and then it started running away and numbed you more than you intended
- you were put on prednisone - a steroid - which counteracts the inflammation but at the same time also weakens your immune system - because that is how you combat inflammation and allergic reactions
- now you are freaking out, understandably and that's what makes things even worse.

I lost all my contacts to MountSinai but one of the countries best hand specialists is there: https://www.mountsinai.org/profiles/michael-r-hausman.

I had 5 spiral fractures in my 4 metacarpals and he fixed me so that 3 months later I had regained full functionality. I hated him because he was very rude but there is nobody I could recommend more highly

Best wishes
Michael
 

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phil, sorry to read this.

i understand exactly what you are going through. i went through years of not being able to play the sax as much as i would have wanted, due to injuries ( non sax related ) to both shoulders and both wrists. Eventually after surgery and extensive physio , I came through it.

i mention this because my experience taught me one main thing.................

you can get as many opinions etc from experts etc, and folks on forums, as you care to seek out. Anyone who you ask will have an opinion.

But when it comes to the crunch, here is the deal.......... You have to listen to your own body, and act on what it is telling you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your body is telling you that your piano practicing is hurting you. Honestly, it is screaming it at you. you must listen to it.

Something has to change. You must stop doing that which is hurting you..... NOW. Or you risk even greater, possibly long term, damage.

i know this is not what you want to hear. Ive been there. it is painful news, and hard to accept.

if someone says it is ok to keep practicing....ignore that bad advice. Your own gut feeling and little voice in your head is usually correct.

try this experiment. go to the piano right now and play for 20 minutes. any physical issues?

Listen to your body. it is almost always correct.

I hope someone here can help with a suggestion re a teacher who helps folks with injuries, and in the meantime, you have my best wishes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oohhh... I am cringing..... So, peripheral nerves do regenerate after they have been severed - cut - torn out - you name it, at a rate of average 1mm per day but there are differences in motor and sensory nerves. And most importantly, that is not what you are looking at.

Let's go over what you did to yourself.
- you practiced too much and probably got some tendonitis / inflammation a.k.a. carpal tunnel syndrome.

- you took some quinine sulfate to counter the pain and that's exactly what it did by numbing your receptors and then it started running away and numbed you more than you intended
- you were put on prednisone - a steroid - which counteracts the inflammation but at the same time also weakens your immune system - because that is how you combat inflammation and allergic reactions
- now you are freaking out, understandably and that's what makes things even worse.

I lost all my contacts to MountSinai but one of the countries best hand specialists is there: https://www.mountsinai.org/profiles/michael-r-hausman.

I had 5 spiral fractures in my 4 metacarpals and he fixed me so that 3 months later I had regained full functionality. I hated him because he was very rude but there is nobody I could recommend more highly

Best wishes
Michael
Hi Michael, thanks so much for that, I'll definitely look into him. It's the ulnar nerves apparently but I'm having a test done in December that will determine that. Have a great day. Phil
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
phil, sorry to read this.

i understand exactly what you are going through. i went through years of not being able to play the sax as much as i would have wanted, due to injuries ( non sax related ) to both shoulders and both wrists. Eventually after surgery and extensive physio , I came through it.

i mention this because my experience taught me one main thing.................

you can get as many opinions etc from experts etc, and folks on forums, as you care to seek out. Anyone who you ask will have an opinion.

But when it comes to the crunch, here is the deal.......... You have to listen to your own body, and act on what it is telling you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your body is telling you that your piano practicing is hurting you. Honestly, it is screaming it at you. you must listen to it.

Something has to change. You must stop doing that which is hurting you..... NOW. Or you risk even greater, possibly long term, damage.

i know this is not what you want to hear. Ive been there. it is painful news, and hard to accept.

if someone says it is ok to keep practicing....ignore that bad advice. Your own gut feeling and little voice in your head is usually correct.

try this experiment. go to the piano right now and play for 20 minutes. any physical issues?

Listen to your body. it is almost always correct.

I hope someone here can help with a suggestion re a teacher who helps folks with injuries, and in the meantime, you have my best wishes.
Thank you. Yeah, I already know it, I have to stop. My hands don't get worse after I play, they're pretty much numb all the time. It's a hell of a quandary. Thanks again and have a great day. Phil
 

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.

Let's go over what you did to yourself.
- you practiced too much and probably got some tendonitis / inflammation a.k.a. carpal tunnel syndrome.
- you took some quinine sulfate to counter the pain and that's exactly what it did by numbing your receptors and then it started running away and numbed you more than you intended
- you were put on prednisone - a steroid - which counteracts the inflammation but at the same time also weakens your immune system - because that is how you combat inflammation and allergic reactions
- now you are freaking out, understandably and that's what makes things even worse.
It is amazing out how easy it is to get prescriptions that cover up problems but solve nothing.....in the end you likely had your symptoms covered up so that you could make the situation worse (by practicing) without noticing a thing.

Agree that being your own Doctor is the best thing. I just finished going through a round of physical therapy for knee problems. Doctor simply specified physical therapy, however he did not specify "Physical Therapy for damaged knees." As a result I received physical therapy for, 'Previously restored knees" and though one knee improved some, I discovered a much worse problem in my other knee.

Please consider that your high-resistance piano playing may have simply put you over the edge, but that you had a different core problem to begin with, like carpal-tunnel.

Recommend keeping your mind open about what the root of the problem is.
 

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Phil you might also see if you can find a certified hand therapist. You might need a referral from a doc for your insurance to cover it. Helped me with my hands. I know how much it sucks to fear or experience losing the use of your hands. Maybe someone can hit you with some cortisone, that can do wonders in the right circumstance.

Good luck, right there with you...
 

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Thank you Robert. You're the one that hipped me to Debussy's exudes, right? Hope everyone is having a great day. Phil
It wasn't me recommending the Debussy but if you figure out who, thank him or her for me. I just downloaded the Etudes, will start reading later.
 

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Phil, my wife is a piano teacher, so she can't give you any medical advice, but she weighed in on the "what happened" of your troubling story, and offered a small bit of "what might be done about it":
She acquired a very old Steinway last year and had it restored. The action on any new (or freshly rebuilt) piano apparently starts out needing a heavier touch until it wears in. So that's part of what happened with you. And she said it sounds like you did overdo it (understandable because you loved your new box as she did her Steinway) by playing too long and too forcefully to make it speak.
She said that ten-minute practice sessions focusing on scales and things played slowly would have been unlikely to do you any harm. She also wanted to encourage you that maybe it's not too late, with therapy/doctors, to go back and do that in a recovery period, and that hopefully the action will lighten up sooner than later as you play softer, slower things (which as we know can be a key part of developing technique). Somebody else mentioned having a tech make the action lighter and I know that variable aspect of it was something she was able to be selective about with the guy who set up her instrument.
All the best, Phil. Hang in there and we are pulling for you.
 

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Some very good points above. I'd just add that, between an MD who says "can" and a PT who says "don't," I'd trust the PT every time.

If your new piano just needs breaking in: while you're healing up, you might consider looking for some young pianists who would like to have a wonderful practice piano. The breaking in doesn't have to be done by you yourself.

Good luck and best wishes for your healing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Phil, my wife is a piano teacher, so she can't give you any medical advice, but she weighed in on the "what happened" of your troubling story, and offered a small bit of "what might be done about it":
She acquired a very old Steinway last year and had it restored. The action on any new (or freshly rebuilt) piano apparently starts out needing a heavier touch until it wears in. So that's part of what happened with you. And she said it sounds like you did overdo it (understandable because you loved your new box as she did her Steinway) by playing too long and too forcefully to make it speak.
She said that ten-minute practice sessions focusing on scales and things played slowly would have been unlikely to do you any harm. She also wanted to encourage you that maybe it's not too late, with therapy/doctors, to go back and do that in a recovery period, and that hopefully the action will lighten up sooner than later as you play softer, slower things (which as we know can be a key part of developing technique). Somebody else mentioned having a tech make the action lighter and I know that variable aspect of it was something she was able to be selective about with the guy who set up her instrument.
All the best, Phil. Hang in there and we are pulling for you.
Thank you so much, it's greatly appreciated, to everyone. I'm cutting way back on my practicing technical stuff and focusing more on music. I'm also going back to my old keyboard and having the action lightened up on my keyboard and hoping for the best. You guys are all great. Phil
 

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Hopefully you are not experiencing an adult onset glycogen storage disease (GSD) such as derailed my US Army Band (DC) career in the mid 1960's. Lack of necessary enzyme allows lactic acid buildup in exercised muscles resulting in cramping. Be careful of the quinine sulfate "cure" as overuse can cause optic nerve issues. The amount of carbohydrates in your diet may have some effect on the condition if that is what it is.
 

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Dr Stephen Frucht treats musicians. He is a neurologist who specializes in dystonia. Musicians Dystonia is extremely hard to diagnose properly. It is often misdiagnosed as nerve damage, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and chronic overuse. There are so many signals that the brain receives and needs to interpret when playing an instrument and with dystonia, the signals become one big signal triggering the fingers, or embouchure to do what ever the heck it wants. It often hides under the radar and most doctors never give it a thought.

It took over ten years for me to be diagnosed. It took even longer for the VA to recognize it has a device connected disability.
 
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