Endless Wrists Problem which ruined my life
When you have 1 free minute, I kindly ask you for an opinion on my problem that has ruined my life.
My problem is perhaps impossible to solve given that I have never achieved results from 1995 to the present.
Until 1995 (when I was 18) I used to play 6-8 hours a day every day, both the violin and the guitar, but then I had a problem with both my wrists, apparently because of too much playing. Since then I have never basically played again because of the huge pain I have had in my wrists if I play,
which obviously has completely ruined my career and my life.
Sorry for my english, I am from Italy.
At first the problem was just a little bit of a nuisance and a little stiffening in the wrists.
In the stupidity of 18 years old I continued to play many hours every day even though I was realizing that the problem
was getting worse and worse and after about 6 months later without a single day of rest from playing the problem exploded.
Until that moment I had been playing for about 5 years.
I have been visited by a huge number of doctors, orthopedists, hand experts, surgeons, physiotherapists, osteopaths for these almost 25 years.
I have tried many therapies in the past, absolute zero improvement ever.
According to the exams (several MRIs, echographies, X-Rays, electromyography, rheumatic blood tests), nothing is abnormal and no one has been able to give me a diagnosis with certainty, even after so long!
The pain occurs only on the upper band of the wrists, exclusively there, without hitting the fingers or the hand or the forearm.
No tingling or involuntary movements (dystonia has been excluded). No strange posture of the hands / wrists.
No longer playing the situation has normalized, I can do all the basic things in life (eating, driving, using the computer) without problems/pains. But if I do something more complicated, like even simply carrying an heavy bag, the pain appears. If I play, the pain explodes absurdly.
What is very strange is that even if I do have some nuisance while playing few minutes (15-20 mins, not more),
the real pain explodes all of a sudden only after 24/48 hours and is so extreme that I must rest about 10 days
before 'playing' again very few minutes.
In other words I basically can't play at all.
I have done endless research on the subject since 1995 and the most probable thing seems to be that the tendons have degenerated when at the time I played too much and didn't give them time to recover, but I am not completely sure.
In this case it would be a degenerative tendinosis,
not a simple tendonitis which is 'only' an inflammation.
It seems that a degenerative tendinosis is not seen by exams like MRI because it happens at a microscopic level.
If you have ideas on how to improve I am really looking forward to your answers and if by miracle I improved I would be more than happy to reward with anything you want, really anything. Otherwise I am already so humiliated and depressed after 24 years of this mess that I guess I am gonna die because of it sooner or later.
Thank you in advance
Well, that's depressing.
Have you seen a physician that specializes in rehab medicine for musicians?
Also maybe talk to someone who teaches Alexander Technique?
I never heard of tendinosis until now, this was very informative, and scary:
If you have not already, explore alternative medicine, such as acupuncture and Ayurveda. I am surprised that doctors could not find anything. I do remember one of fellow amateur musicians, who is a doctor telling me that there are circumstances when pain exists without visible changes in tissue. Keep in mind that the source of pain may originate elsewhere and that the root cause may not be in your wrist at all.
Not sure if this might be your condition, but if so you might follow the suggestions regarding rest and exercises in this article.
Have you considered Multiple Sclerosis? It's basically a form of auto-immune disease where your body attacks your nerve sheathings as well as other CNS components. Google it and see if any of the symptoms match up.
Have you contacted
Attention ~ Rocco Pensa URGENT/ TIME SENSITIVE JULY 28, 2019 ~
Thank you to all answers.
Rocco, you say nothing of lessons or teachers before you were 18.
@Gordon Shumway ~
@Gordon Shumway Well I was doing relaxing exercises but some days I was literally playing morning afternoon evening night, so even more than those 8 hours I mentioned, probably too much, and above all I didn't rest at all when the problem started and was getting worse and worse. I continued to play for about 6 months until my wrists 'literally collapsed and I couldn't materially go on', so if it's really a degenerative tendinosis it's probably as extreme as possible, infact I never improved after so many years and so many attempts. Since then I have tried to play many times with relaxed hands, as relaxed as possible, but it doesn't help at all.
Perhaps a good test might be for you to see if you can play the piano. But relaxed and for no more than 30 minutes a day, or even less. Don't be ambitious about it.
Hi Rocco, I'm not a medical professional, and I don't know if you've pursued this already (sounds like you've done a ton of things), but if your situation is tendinosis related, you might want to take a look at providers of Active Release Technique (ART) -- which can address tendinosis and the degeneration associated with it. I know someone who found no benefit from standard medical professionals/specialists (even musician specific), rest (utterly useless, since there was no inflammation, except at the very beginning, and rest did nothing to break up adhesions/fascia), occupational therapy, etc., and this method finally worked for her. You can find people certified in ART at activerelease.com -- and a quick look indicates there are some in Italy. ART has many different areas of certification, so I would look for a provider with numerous certifications and experience, and particularly in upper extremities. I don't know if this will help you, but if you haven't tried it, it might be worth considering. Wishing you the very best!
'@Bud Scott no, never contacted PAMA, should I ?/' Yes.
Rocco, your "feeling like you're going to faint or die any day" comment suggests that there may be something going on here beyond a problem with your hands. Have you seen a chronic pain specialist and been evaluated for chronic pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia?
Rocco, I'm just posting in support of you -- to note that I do not feel that there has been anything wrong with your attitude or responses in this thread, contrary to Elizabeth Matesky's assertions.
This has all been a very fascinating and absurd, but I think this thread illustrates the limits of this website's medical knowledge and advice-giving. Good luck on your quest, Rocco, it seems like a truly frustrating experience.
@Lydia Leong ~
@Gordon Shumway You mean try with the piano to search for a new instrument to play or to have some information on the wrists?
"@Gordon Shumway You mean try with the piano to search for a new instrument to play or to have some information on the wrists?
Well, to me your own diagnosis of having some kind of degenerative tendinosis seems quite probable.
@Gordon Shumway I absolutely was hyper-ambitious on the violin and guitar, that's why I am still searching for a solution after 24 years
My brother used to know a weight-lifter. He broke his foot or his leg.
why are you mentioning that ?
I worry that your approach is similar to his.
why ? I am not playing at all
Rocco-- You have already done about all you can by going to specialist MD's. You will not likely find better advice here. I had another kind of joint problem when much younger that wrecked any possibility of a career as a mainstream classical violinist, so I can sympathize, but can't help. I re-trained for a non-music job. After about 20 years the condition "burned out" and I returned to playing, but it was too late to become a first-rate pro. Your story sounds like an example of Over-Training. The sports trainers and MD's that work with expensive pro athletes know that the best schedule is to alternate heavy and light work-out days. The two occupational groups that have Not learned that lesson yet are the military and musicians. The other cause of problems would be incorrect (for you) form and ergonomics. After a long period of rest and therapy you might be able to return to the violin, but start over at the very beginning with a teacher that really understands posture, form, and motions. We are not designed to play the violin. I am always a little suspect when a teacher uses the word "Natural" to describe their methods.
At risk of adding to the many non-professional diagnoses here, do you know if it's definitely tendonitis?
At risk of adding to the many non-professional diagnoses here, do you know if it's definitely tendonitis?
On the psychological front, is it just a psychological unhapiness in the context of a healthy life (as you suggest in one post) or is it humiliation, being depressed and torture (as you state in others)? The question is whether they are as extreme as you've made it to be in certain posts or is it a milder manageable form? An important distinction: The latter is manageable , the former is a black hole difficult to get out of without help.
The body and the mind are more interlinked than most of us want to acknowledge. It's not unusual for someone who has been injured and then become depressed, or otherwise distressed, to experience continuing pain or loss of function even after any structural damage has healed. I have no idea if this is what happened to the OP, of course.
@joel quivey Thank you for the support
Hi Rocco - I am sorry you have been going through this for so long.
Acupuncture is pure quackery that has no basis in science. Controlled clinical trials comparing acupuncture with sham-acupuncture showed no difference in outcomes. Decades of work and over 3000 clinical trials have shown that acupuncture doesn't work for anything.
Sorry George, I can't let this go.
Why? Because acupuncture is pure quackery. There is no such thing as "meridians." I believe in science. You can believe whatever you want.
I read your reference. It is a rant.
The "rant" is from highly-respected peer-reviewed scientific journal. That is not opinion, that is fact. But arguing with proponents of quack treatments like acupuncture is like arguing with creationists, climate change deniers, and anti-vaxers. But I hope that pointing out that acupuncture is quackery will save some people like Rocco their time, pain, and money. That's a fact.
Your evidence is based on one article from a couple of anesthesiologists.
"Acupuncture is not supported by any good research, which is clear to people who actually read the fine print.
Why would you assume that I was belittling you? Has nothing to do with your person.
NIH has detailed information on acupuncture, indicating mixed scientific evidence:
Lydia, I don't have a dog in this fight, but my understanding of the placebo effect is that you don't actually have to believe that something is going to work to benefit by it.
I'm not here to convince anyone that acupuncture does or does not work, I've read most of the linked article, and have had acupuncture on and off for a variety of issues over the past 5-ish years. I don't know why I'm taking the time to respond to this given the last time I tried to respond to a thread that covered a non-conventional medical topic...
Rocco, this isn't "traditional" medicine, either, but I highly encourage you to read about the work of the late Dr. John Sarno.
there seems to be no way to send you a private message from your profile page
Hello Rocco, I will write very soon.
I will wait..
Rocco, I read your topic before there were any replies whatsoever, and the first thing that came to my mind was recommending Sarno.
Andrew, you seem to be describing CRPS Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.which is basically apain that it kept up in the brain allthought the cause of the pain heals. Usually it starts with injure but then the brain sort of picks up the sensation of pain and continues it even though the cause has vanished. I have no knowledge of the book you describe but CPRS is a known medical condition.
@Addison Wyman and Andrew Holland
I’ve very recently (and still trying to recover) gone through grave symptoms, quite physical ones, that are suspected to be psychosomatic. This is, i recognize a strong possibility, if not probability in my case. However, there is also the possibility that the medical field has not uncovered all there is in terms of human pathology and ailments and mystery still lurks as in ailments such as chronic fatigue syndrome, some vestibular disorders, various pains, etc.
Maria Lamni speaks about CRPS. I too think it would be worth looking into this. After a severe broken right wrist over 25 years ago and a long casting I developed what was then called RSD....same symptoms...new name. After much physical therapy and occupational therapy and stellate ganglion blocks,I was able to play again. Then two years ago I broke the left wrist and manifested the same problem. The physician didn't believe me when I told him I had RSD before. He didn't cast me correctly or take the possibility under consideration. I again had to deal with the stiffness and pain. After almost a year and sixty plus PT and OT appointments plus following the at home exercises daily, I was able to play again. It sounds like you are needing more information.
Tammuz, what Addison, I and probably also Maria are referring to here is not the result of an unusual amount of anxiety, or depression, or anything else. The theory is that the brain is simply trying to prevent what’s unconscious from becoming conscious. This is postulated to affect a wide variety of people - not necessarily those with apparent anxiety or depression. The aim is to prevent what can happen, for example, when you sit for a moment and let your mind wander. If one is in pain, those original unpleasant thoughts and feelings are less likely to surface because one is distracted.