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Jul. 9th, 2005 @ 04:10 pm (no subject)
Hello everyone, I just joined this community. I'm looking for anyone who can relate or share stories with, and it looks like I found the right place.

In about March of this year I was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. I'm in my second year of college, majoring in music education and I've been playing the flute for about nine years. I've been to 4 doctors since the first one, ranging from a chiropractor to orthopaedic surgeon, and they have all told me the same thing.

I was wondering if any of you have been through this or something similar and what were some things you did to alleviate the pain besides take ibuprofen. I'm currently going to a physical therapist for about 4 weeks now, and have not yet noticed a difference. I've been advised to take a break from playing, and have done so for about a month now, even though this will set me back quite a bit. Not only can I not play for 15 minutes without a significant about of pain throughout my arms and wrists, I find myself being able to do less and less with my hands, such as lifting things, gripping, etc. Technique was my strongest forte in my playing career and now has becomes my weakest because my fingers have become clumsy and lethargic.

Has anyone gotten cortizone shots or been through surgery for this? These are some of my options and I want to thoroughly research them before I consider them.

Also, my main support system, which are my friends and family, can't relate because they don't understand what I'm going through, and some have never even heard of, or see proof of syndroms like these.

Any advice from anyone would greatly be appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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jon foreman
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Date:July 9th, 2005 02:15 pm (UTC)
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I can almost completely relate.

I'm going into my 4th year as a music ed major, and i too am a flute major. My flute teacher for my sophomore and junior years made me change my right hand position because I was 'turning back' too far for her liking. I had to take an entire semester of any 'playing' type class (including piano) due to the fact that changing my hand position cut off a nerve going from my elbow to my hand. I went to a hand specialist and musician hand therapist in NYC for a while, and their diagnosis was that I had irreversible nerve damage, and that I would either learn to deal with it or undergo repair surgery.

Therapy helped a small bit, now I can practice for about a half hour without any trouble. Even so, I'm used to practicing for several hours!

The decision of whether or not to get surgery is a really personal choice. There is always the risk of it not going well and you may not be able to play ever again. Then, theres the positive side. I myself have decided not to get the surgery, just because truth be told, I am an education major, not a performance major, thankfully.

Feel free to IM me if you wanna talk about this. My screen name is Madfishcat13. Best of luck with everything!
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Date:July 9th, 2005 07:41 pm (UTC)
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senior piano major with carpal tunnel/arthritis type deals here.

also in the position of having to miss the spring jury and being faced with it early in the coming fall... and I didn't play any of may or june, just started working with it a few days ago. It's gonna be a trip, and I just keep hoping my body is going to hold out for yet another round, as I'm giving a recital and graduating next spring.

Thankfully most of my studio understands and sympathizes, as many of them have problems of their own that cause them grief. It is a very slow process. Work with it as best you can, but please understand (as I have done this on more than one occasion) that if you push it too hard it will get much worse and take even longer to recover from.

I know a few people that have gotten the shots for similar problems, and according to them it helped for awhile but then it stopped helping... so... those are my two cents. I've never considered surgery, at least not for myself, simply because in my case the functionality comes and goes and I'm afraid of doing more harm than good.

You have a support system here! People don't understand, especially non-musicians, what it means to want so badly to work with what you're passionate about and just not be able to 'cause your body says no... we're all here if you have more questions or need to talk :)