Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Wrist Tightness and Pain in a Young Pianist

William B. Meinke, Frederick Langendor
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 19 Number 2: Page 97 (June 2004)

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Abstract: A 28-year-old right-handed man'who holds Bachelor of Arts and Masters degrees and is now working toward a Doctorate in Music at a large midwestern university school ofmusic'complains of increasing episodes of "tension" over the palmar surfaces of his wrists while playing his principal instrument, the piano. Though the right hand is more affected, the sensation of "tightness" may occur in either wrist depending on the piece he is performing or practicing. He has learned through experience that if he attempts to "play through the sensation," it only increases to the point at which his wrists become painful and his fingers seem weak and far less dexterous than usual. On occasion, this has forced him to refrain from practice for several days at a time in order to recover. Self-treatment has included taking frequent 5- to 10-minute breaks during practice sessions and, on the advice of a friend, starting a routine of regular exercise that consists of both aerobic activity and weight training (1 hour a day, three or four times a week). He and some friends have recently formed a piano trio specializing in 20th century music. He is concerned that he may not be equal to the physical demands of this music. He wants reassurance that his problem is not the result of a medical condition and help with preventing it in the future.

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