Focal Dystonia

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Thread: Focal Dystonia

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    Forum Contributor 2011 tenor71363's Avatar
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    Default Focal Dystonia

    since the summer of '08, i have been having issues with my middle finger of my left hand. I won't go into major detail, but I will say that it's not working like it use to. The condition is mainly apparent when I play the horn. In September, I had a facsiaectomy on my left forearm. The day following the surgery, I played for 2 hours with no pain or movement trouble. I was in heaven. Near the end of the session, the condition started to creep back in so I stopped. I went back for follow ups and an EMG. The nerve test said everything was OK. My original Dr. referred me to another Dr. in the hand/arm practice because he was baffeled. I met with him yesterday. he has a history, how long I do not know, of working with musicians. He informed me that I have focal dystonia. My heart sank because I thought I was going to get an answer to my ailment. My only consolation is that he told me that it has happened to many musicians before me. He suggested physical exercises and perhaps counseling. I am at the end of my rope. I can no longer only play slow tunes in certain keys. I can no longer play mouthpiece exercises for 30 minutes day and be satisfied. I can no longer hope that tomorrow will be better. Has anybody else suffered from this or is currently dealing with it? As of today, I'll keep at it despite thoughts of calling it quits.

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    Default Re: Focal Dystonia

    A friend of mine has it. He still practices 5 hours plus a day and has been for 30 years. He's a very productive and inspirational person, yet he's got 'issues' performing in public on his main instrument.

    I tell him: "You play circles around everyone else that has 10 working fingers! Besides the music is in YOU not in that finger."
    "The key to improvising is being able to play and listen at the same time."

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    Forum Contributor 2011 tenor71363's Avatar
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    Default Re: Focal Dystonia

    I can only use three fingers on my left hand!! It is despressing.

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    Default Re: Focal Dystonia

    Tenor contact me by PM. I have recovered from Focal Hand Dystonia.

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    Forum Contributor 2011 tenor71363's Avatar
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    Default Re: Focal Dystonia

    I found this on the web.

    http://www.focaldystonia.net/index.html

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    Default Re: Focal Dystonia

    Django Reinhardt

    One of the greatest Jazz guitarists had the use of only two fingers on his left hand. Look him up.

    At the age of 18, Reinhardt was injured in a fire that ravaged the caravan he shared with Florine "Bella" Mayer, his first wife.[4] They were very poor, and to supplement their income Bella made imitation flowers out of celluloid and paper. Consequently, their home was full of this highly flammable material. Returning from a performance late one night, Reinhardt apparently knocked over a candle on his way to bed. While his family and neighbors were quick to pull him to safety, he received first- and second-degree burns over half his body. His right leg was paralyzed and the third and fourth fingers of his left hand were badly burned. Doctors believed that he would never play guitar again and intended to amputate one of his legs.[5] Reinhardt refused to have the surgery and left the hospital after a short time; he was able to walk within a year with the aid of a cane.
    We're not happy 'til you're not happy...

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    Default Re: Focal Dystonia

    Django was a genius and amazing but that's not dystonia. Dystonia is not a physical affliction it is in the brain and manifests itself physically. There is no " pain." I recovered from FHD and I can tell you it is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. Most do not recover they give up playing or take up a totally different instrument.

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    Forum Contributor 2011 tenor71363's Avatar
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    Default Re: Focal Dystonia

    I just bought the video from that site. $35.

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    Default Re: Focal Dystonia

    I wish you luck. I am not trying to put you off but you are going to need a hell of a lot more than a video bought on line. That video has been around for a long time. There are several practioners in Spain..reason.. Flamenco guitar.
    Two and half years ago I posted on the Dystonia and Musicians with Dystonia Bulletin boards ( I suggest you visit the boards) trying to find another saxophonist who had FHD eventually I found ONE.and he had given up. Embouchure Dystonia is entirely different to Hand by the way.
    Focal Hand Dystonia or Musicians Cramp...not a great deal is known about it still..and in some quarters it is still classed as incurable..it isn't but it is extremely difficult to treat and cure. Trust me on this.
    Dystonia is rare amongst none classical musicians,,mostly pianists, guitarists and violinists why? because of the intense repetition involved in these disciplines..there are other factors also. If you don't believe me visit the sites I have mentioned where there are some posters who are regulars and have been suffering from FHD for fifteen years and more. You chose not to get back to me after I answered your two one liners with two long detailed PMs with no thankyou or anything which is obviously your call but I will say I wish I had had someone advising and helping me after I left the London Hand Clinic in early 2007. As I say I wish you luck . If you have FHD you are most certainly going to need that and much more.

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    Default Re: Focal Dystonia

    Sorry to hear about your troubles tenor71363.

    When Woody Witt stopped by UNT about two years ago I'm pretty sure I remember him mentioning that he has Focal Dystonia. He said he has been working with an Alexander Technique teacher and that it had helped him continue playing. He really has sounded amazing both times I've heard him, and wouldn't have thought he had any 'finger issues'. Maybe you could try contacting him for advice?

    Best of luck

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    Forum Contributor 2011 tenor71363's Avatar
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    Default Re: Focal Dystonia

    So I started cerebral acupuncture, raw concoctions of chinese herbs( which do not taste so good), slow hand exercises and less computer for my ailment. I am happy to say that my hand is feeling different. It is not perfect yet, but there has been improvement.

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