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Carpal Tunnel Recovery

Several months ago I developed the one thing which makes pianists quake with fear: carpal tunnel syndrome. It happened as a result of typing extensively (I was working on the sequel to Nisha) in the wrong position. As a pianist, I knew that hand positions were extremely important, but somehow this caution did not translate when I shifted to more writing and less playing piano.

It started with minor cramps in my palms, with a dull pain that eventually reached to the elbows. When it was undeniable, I knew I had to take action. For my plantar fasciitis, I went to a hospital that treated me with steroid injections. Just the thought of getting shots in my wrists terrified me, so I decided on another approach.

The Slow Way of Healing

I began routine physiotherapy for my carpal tunnel recovery at 4Strength in Siliwangi Bandung, where they implemented several actions starting from UltraSound, TENS electrical stimulation, massage, and also taught me exercises and stretches which I had to do daily. To be honest, I was very discouraged at first. Why did this happen to me, after the plantar fasciitis? I thought I had learned my lesson in trying to keep a balanced lifestyle.

It turns out a balanced lifestyle is a never-ending pursuit. New things are always popping up, something which you just didn’t know before. The best thing I could do was try to forgive myself and focus on the slow healing process. At the moment of writing this blog post, my hands are much better already. I can now type for 10 minutes where before I could only type for 1-2 minutes.

The best thing I could do was try to forgive myself and focus on the slow healing process.

I tried the piano here and there and found that I could play about 5 minutes every day before my hands got too cramped. What a luxury it was before to have been able to play for hours and hours. My only consolation is that I am retired from performance, if not this whole condition would have been even more heartbreaking.

I like the physiotherapy clinic, and am so glad my friend recommended it to me. I find the young lady who was my therapist to be smart, caring, and bright. Under her care and increased daily awareness of my body, I believe my wrists will heal, slowly and surely.

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Favorite Hand Stretches

My heels hurt if I don’t stretch (read the post on plantar fasciitis), and recently I developed carpal tunnel syndrome due to typing for an extended period of time with the wrong position. You would think being a retired concert pianist and all I would know how to take care of my hands better! Interestingly after I stopped practicing piano 8 hours a day I must have slackened in the care of my wrists. As a result, the dreaded carpal tunnel syndrome arrived.

These stretches are great if your wrists are aching, and even better as a prevention before your wrists start hurting. Your hands are incredibly precious assets, so I hope these tips will help you take good care of them. Trust me, carpal tunnel syndrome sucks. The one good thing about all this is that I retired from piano, if not, it would have devastated me. As an author and blogger, I can still type with the help of wrist braces and an elevated position using a wrist rest support pad.

If you have other tips to take care of your hands, please share them in the comments.