RSI by ballpen and guitar-playing

Question: I have RSI from keyboard/mouse use, but my brother has RSI from playing the guitar (his job not a hobby) and my other brother has it from playing the piano (his job too). The pianist bro’ is pretty much ok now after intensive treatment from my osteopath (isn’t working too well for me at the moment but the guitarist brother is having great difficulty and is being referred to more specialists than I’ve seen myself (I don’t know how he’s managed to pull that one!) I’ll ask him what’s helped his guitar playing – if anything – and let you know.

Answer 1: About ten months ago I played very much guitar and got pain in my left wrist (in the inner side) and in my elbow, five months later the exact same pain in my right wrist just by handwriting (mainly with a ball pen) At your pages I read only about computer related problems (Indeed, if I type with a keyboard or click with a mouse it starts hurting too after a while – but not that bad) But are there also experiences about my case? My doctor doesn’t know what to do anymore. The only things that had a clear effect where some gymnastics and keeping the arms still (eg. with a bandage, giving up writing and guitar-playing at all) Thanks for Your interest and help!

Answer 2: My wife’s RSI first became noticeable (and very painful!) after a particularly long period of filling in hundreds of carbonated forms (five sheets per form!) in an accounts office at the end of the finance year; although the doctor and physiotherapist don’t think that this was the actual cause they both agreed that such activity could easily aggravate the condition. RSI and musical instruments are very well documented and (I believe) go back well over a hundred years. I would advise seeing a different doctor and a physiotherapist, and meanwhile (although it is frustrating) stop playing the guitar, writing, or doing any other activity which further damages your arms. I hope you get well soon.

Answer 3: You could try contacting a professional musician who plays in a large orchestra, or the orchestra itself, as they would probably know of people who have had RSI through playing musical instruments. They should also be able to put you in contact with doctors or healthcare professionals who are used to treating RSI. You could try contacting the RSIA in the UK on +44 1895 431134 Monday to Friday 11.30 am to 4.00pm (UK time) as they will have come across a lot of musicians (in the UK) who have RSI. They may know of a support group in Germany. Generally it does not matter how you got RSI, you will still have the same problems or medical conditions as keyboard users so the advice for keyboard users applies to you as well. Try to find a physiotherapist who has treated RSI or musicians. This is a German translation (Please excuse any mistakes!).

Answer 4: I’m gob smacked. What a brilliant idea!

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