Recovering from RSI in Left Hand - Some Good News.

'm writing in my practice diary because I have had a bit of good news regarding my left hand <em>digitus minimus</em> injury. It all started while working on the entire BWV1007 Cello Suite. I have been obsessed with it for close to two years, have memorized it, and actually performed it for the first time last November.

The price I paid for getting there was extreme overuse of my left hand - ignoring the pain, forcing one repetition after another. You would think after all this time playing classical guitar I would know much better. It became so painful that I could no longer put any pressure on the fingerboard with the minimus. Finally, I put the guitar away for about five weeks and slowly came back to it, "touch practicing" only with no pressure applied to the fretboard. It has taken several months, but I can now say that I am about 95% recovered and performing in small group settings. 

As it turns out, I had a scheduled yearly follow up with Dr. Bobby Chaabra, a hand surgeon and Chair of the Orthopedic Department at UVA this morning. I brought my guitar and played for him a challenging section of the Courante and he recognized how constant repetitions of slur sections would be taxing on the digitus minimus. "Let's take an Xray to be sure there is no permanent injury."  I was thrilled he suggested this. And here it is: 

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The X-ray shows no permanent damage and Dr.Chaabra has urged me to maintain more mindful practice (take more breaks silly) and continue to develop pressure sensitivity in the left hand to prevent further injuries. I do have to say, seeing the intricacies of the skeletal structure in my left hand fills me with a sense of wonder and gratitude. I have learned an invaluable lesson.

Healthy playing, 


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  • Rick Lord I'm so sorry to read by what did you go through and I'm more than happy you got no permanent damage, I can't imagine otherwise. I totally understand your feeling regarding your x-rayed hand, what humility to have in front of our body so fragile but also so wonderful. Take care and play healthy, I want to hear more of you! 馃檹

    • Blaise Laflamme Thanks Blaise.  Definitely bringing change to my practice habits.  Do take care!

    • Jason Park
    • Jason_park
    • 10 mths ago
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    I'm happy to hear that you are on your way to recovery!

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