I’m new on this forum and I’m sure this has probably been answered before but just wondering if any one had any tips/suggestions.
I started learning the harp when I was about 11 (I’m 28 now). I first developed problems with my wrist (right dominant hand) when I was about 16. I’d been to a harp workshop day and then promptly fell down a slight of stairs and it’s never been the same since 🙁
When I was at school/university I would have to have a break from playing during exams as it was a case of being able to write or play. But that never really bothered me as it was only for a few weeks at a time.
Having been told it was common for girls, particularly high achievers and musicians to have pain in their wrists/hand (although there is logic to this as the joints have more laxity), I was diagnosed with tennis elbow about 8 years ago. So I started wearing a tennis elbow clasps when playing and eventually was wearing it most of the time (cleaning, cooking, driving etc).
I then had a steroid injection which lasted for a few months and decided that I would give the surgery ago. In the meantime I fell off the horse and broke my thumb so again couldn’t play whilst that healed and this also delayed the operation. Unfortunately I haven’t really managed to play since, about 2 years now :'(. I was very good and listen to doctor’s advice and didn’t play for 4 months after the operation to give it the best chance of healing.
It also turned out I trapped a nerve when I broke my thumb, so had to have another operation to sort that out.
I’m now waiting for a 3rd operation as I have a wobbly CMC joint in my thumb (which I guess I’ve always had and why my wrist has hurt since I was 16). That’s scheduled on 15th December and I’m on a major countdown to it!!
I was looking at harp music on the internet the other day and was feeling so sad I’m not allowed to play that I decided I’d have a quick go on my lap harp (my pedal harp is at parent’s to avoid that temptation!). I probably only played for 5 – 10 minutes (including tuning) as it hurt that much, but elbow is now pretty painful. The thumb is no worse than usual as I normally wear a splint that immobilises it.
I’m just worried that having gone through 3 operations, it’s not going to solve the harp playing problem. I’m so sad I can’t play!! I’ve been recommended not to have any more surgery on my elbow as further steroid injections/physio have not improved it. The surgery odds aren’t great (50% success rate, 20% worse), so I’m not going to pursue that.
I’m just counting down at the moment: 6 weeks until the operation, 6 weeks in a cast, 3 months of physio and then I can hopefully start playing again (I suspect it might be a bit longer) 🙂
I’m not sure if anyone else has had similar problems? Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated 🙂