Playing with MS

May 30, 2004 at 06:08 AM · I have MS, and I have developed tremors in my fingers. As a result, holding my bow has become more difficult. I often feel as though I were going to drop it. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can deal with this? I refuse to give up playing and let this defeat me!

Laurie T.

Replies (5)

May 30, 2004 at 07:23 PM · My cousin was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of MS 6 or 7 years ago. They have tried surgeries, electrodes, and presecription drugs of every sort but nothing helped.

I hope I don't get booted for this, but seriously, the only thing that stopped his shaking was marijuana. He used to smoke it but that's horrible for the lungs and he was having trouble breathing, so now he just uses it in baking (haha! brownies and cookies to be exact).

I know it's much more dangerous in the states to do this, but in Canada, he actually has permission from the government to do this and the marijuana that he gets is very controlled in terms of content. It is mixed with oils and herbs that have been catered for his specific needs. He gets it at a place called the Compassion Society or Compassion Club in Vancouver BC, and he no longer has to worry about what some seedy character might have mixed into the marijuana that he used to get in street allies.


May 30, 2004 at 11:54 PM · Greetings,

Laurie, of course it isn`t going to defeat you.

However, I am not completely clear which aspect of the problem you are focused on so a few points.

If you are actually dropping the bow and need more @adhesion to it then would very thin surgical gloves help. I even thought you might experiment with small velcro strins in some way.

If you are worrying about the transfet of tremor to the bow there is not a lot you can do about that. That is the nature of the bow. I have a friend with parkinson`s disease who sits at the back of an amateur orchestra and can barely get the bow on the string but people are glad to see hinm enjoying himself and vice versa. You might find it helpful to use tighter bow hair and tilt the stick more,



May 31, 2004 at 08:43 AM · Laurie, tremor can be reduced by adding a little weight at either your wrist or upper arm - I have seen success for people in using cultery and writing for example. You need to experiment to see if its right for you. I have made weighted cuffs using tennis sweat bands that had sinkers inserted to achieve the desired weight. Now you can buy weighted cuffs for use in exercise programs also, but these might interfere with the bow hold and be too heavy. you need to monitor tension carefully, because in using the bow you are supporting your arm for some period of time and you don't want to develop a tendonitis. Go slowly until you know hoew your body responds. the idea is to basically dampen down the degreee that the muscle misfire effects the overall limb control. Some people benefit from doing a period of weight bearing through their upper limbs immdeiately before controlled work - think push ups against the table, for instance.

My sister has had her MS diagnosis for over a decade, and she loves fine needlework and the like. she had reached the point where even hadnwriting was difficult, and had been wrongly diagnosed with RSI, but once she knew that she wasn't going to worsen her condition by enjoying her needlework and knitting, she just stuck at it. She has stayed very funtional with her upper limb control, despite having absolutely no conscious idea of where her hands are in space (we like getting her to touch her nose with her finger tip with her eyes closed). Best of luck.


June 2, 2004 at 02:15 AM · I have no additional suggestions except to keep up that attitude! You're an amazingly strong person and I applaud you :D. Keep it up and let us know your progress!

June 25, 2004 at 11:18 PM · Thanks to all who responded. I have had a very busy month, so I've only just had a chance to look at the responses I received, and I'm very grateful for all the advice.


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