Reply To: Hand Strain Not Getting Better!

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Bonnie Shaljean

I’m sure it doesn’t mean that you can’t *ever* play – just that you need to treat the pain with caution and respect, as you seem to be doing. It’s when people don’t do this, and just plough on regardless, that the permanence-factors start setting in. Irreversible damage takes time, and it doesn’t sound to me as though you have been at it long enough for that. Bodies have wonderful self-healing properties.

You may need to make various adjustments in your playing – I’ve had students with assorted physical handicaps, which has meant that they’ve needed to altar how they do certain things, or how they sit, until they find something that works for them. Which they do. The horror stories usually only occur after prolonged abuse.

Also note the points made about doing things correctly but with too much tension, or the harp aggravating something that was actually initially caused by another activity. I know this from personal experience – sometimes my computer is my worst enemy!!! I am always careful to sit correctly (and at the right height), keep my wrists level, etc – but if I’m under time-pressure or emotionally stressed, I inevitably feel it in my hands! Tensing up is bad, even when the physical position and movements are right. And you can so easily do it without meaning to.

Most importantly, stay in touch with your doctor so you have a detailed medical opinion – which means getting referred to a specialist. In the meantime, all the other suggestions above will certainly only be to the good. And don’t despair – you’re being careful and aware, and this should enable you to avoid any major consequences.

So get the best professional advice you can, follow it, and keep us posted. Good luck! Your lovely new Thormahlen will still be there waiting for you…