As a musician, living with carpal tunnel can cause a serious dilemma. Carpal tunnel can limit your ability to practice by causing pain and swelling in your hands, but if you are a dedicated musician, choosing to forgo practice is not really an option. Instead, here are some ideas to help you relieve the pain of carpal tunnel in the practice room.
Warm up your hands
Musicians know the importance of warming up an instrument. Getting the air flowing through a horn, or reviewing muscle memory in the fingers makes it easier to play new and more challenging pieces. The same is true for your hands and wrists. For a few minutes before beginning a practice session, takes some time to stretch out your hands and wrists. This will reduce the chance of stress-related injury to your hands while you are playing.
Use a neck strap
If you play a woodwind instrument such as clarinet, saxophone, or oboe, your hands have to do a lot of work. Not only are you using them to press the keys, but you are also holding up the instrument. A neck strap can significantly reduce the weight of the instrument. This can help you to focus primarily on playing, and less on the strain of trying to hold a heavy instrument with only your thumb.
Wear a splint or brace
Another way to get some relief from carpal tunnel is to wear a splint or brace. Some of these are worn at night while you are sleeping, but others can actually be worn during practice sessions to relieve carpal tunnel at the source.
A chiropractor is often the first person you seek of your back or neck is in pain, but did you know that there are chiropractic treatments for the hands as well? A chiropractor can help you to relieve the tension in your hand, providing you with relief from carpal tunnel and other stress-related injuries.
Practice smarter, not harder
While learning muscle memory is important to any musician, continuing to practice while in pain makes it harder to concentrate, and subsequently harder to practice. Take frequent breaks while you are in the practice room. Put the instrument down while you are not playing, and think of other ways to learn notes such as singing finger numbers or visualizing rhythms before you start to play.
As a musician, you don't have to let carpal tunnel make you give up your dream. With the help of a splint and a neck strap, chiropractic therapy, and a few changes to your practice routine, you can continue to enjoy playing for many years to come.
For more information, contact Allegheny Brain And Spine Surgeons or a similar organization.