MUSICIANS HANDS & INSTRUMENTALISTS PROBLEMS
by Dr. Arlo Gordin
One of the most specialized areas of my practice has been in fixing musicians’ problems. This has included some of the best and most respected players in the world of music. From guitarists, drummers and bassists to violinists, pianists and saxophonists, musicians require a level of dexterity, control, speed, and nimbleness that few equal. A player cannot perform at his best if he has pain, numbness, lack of control, or similar problems. These types of problems can threaten your career, and mess with your mind. Many times I’ve had players who were stopped from playing at all. For some, the severity was so great that they were despondent about losing their ability to pursue their love of music. I’ve felt for those who have been so plagued, and have been most jazzed to have helped so many return to their art and their love. Most have told me that before coming to me, every other doctor and treatment they'd tried had failed.
Every day I treat new patients with problems in the hands, fingers, thumbs, wrists, forearms, elbows, upper arms, shoulders or neck. These can come as a single limited area of pain, numbness or weakness, or in combinations.
My reputation in this area of health restoration is so great that many musicians in the L.A. area have heard of my success, and know friends who have been fixed by me. Many others travel from great distances to receive care from me. I get calls from people suffering with these problems from New York to Tokyo. I have treated musicians from most all continents and nations, from Europe to Asia to South America. Function of hands and arms is a key aspect of most players’ lives.
Most of the problems musicians bring me actually come from problems in their nerves andjoints. The clue that the problems are usually from nerves is the type of symptoms that are caused. Pain comes from nerves. Numbness comes from nerves. Parts that won’t function normally and rapidly usually are almost never damaged muscles, but are failures of nerves to control the muscles and signal to and from them properly. Joint malfunction plays a key role in most nerve malfunctions. The rich and complex interplay of nerve signals telling your brain where every part of your arm and hands are precisely located and doing, and the outflow of nerve information telling the muscles and even blood flow control nerves to your arteries what they need to be doing NOW is nothing short of AMAZING.
To understate the matter, your system of nerve control is unimaginably complex and detailed. Your body devotes a tremendous amount of your brain and nerves to the job of controlling your hands, arms, fingers, etc. And for this reason, doctors find that this is not the simplest area to understand and treat successfully.
It’s therefore no big surprise that most doctors, even chiropractors and acupuncturists are not well-versed in dealing with these conditions. Nearly all are unable to even test or diagnose them effectively. The medical tools for diagnosis are most frequently served with an off-the-cuff-guessagnois. The somewhat traumatic tool of inserting needle electrodes to see which muscles or nerves aren't electrically intact are, in our humble opinion, barbaric, and prove to be unnecessary. Add to that, the information generated on those tests almost never creates an applicable approach to curing or eliminating the pain, numbness or lack of control or endurance in playing. You may often, at best, hope for a nice latin translation into medical diagnostic terminology which gives you back nothing but what you just explained to the specialist were your symptoms! Tendinitis, repetitive stress injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, all impressive sounding names. Now go wear this brace or take this drug, or we'll cut on you in a surgery. So pray that those things bring you temporary relief, and pray again that it lasts a month or a year!
Effective methods of understanding and correcting are not taught in medical professional schools. Yes they've given your problem a name that sounds fancy, but when they really don’t know what is causing it, or generally even where the problem starts from in your body, they can't fix it. Even most “hand specialists” still only offer anti-inflammatory or pain killing nerve-doping drugs (just a cover-up and temporary), cortisone (dangerous and destructive in long term use), braces (of slim usefulness), and surgeries (with very patchy odds of improvement or cure). No wonder most musicians with such problems can be driven to desperation.
The development and use of techniques that analyze WHAT exactly is the problem, WHERE exactly is it caused, and most important WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO FIX IT is a major breakthrough for musicians. Where are the circuits shorted out? Exactly? Whether they start in your neck (where all nerves to shoulder, arm, hand and fingers must pass), themultiple possible problem areas of shoulder system, elbow system, wrist system, or even in the fingers or thumbs, the tests I'll use will pinpoint the area(s) where the problem sources. You will find the muscle testing methods of identifying the exact problems you have aren't something you've probably seen before. And the specific "adjustments" and treatments aren't either. The use of ligament, joint, muscle and nerve repairing nutrition may be necessary to get the both the quick improvement and the permanent fix you want and need for your artistry and your career.
I have more stories of success in this specialized niche of health care than either of us have time to recount. Easily coming to mind is an artist voted the best drummer in the world (and is in my book!) who called me with a hand problem so great that he didn't think he could take the stage for a show that night. One treatment and he played effortlessly and painlessly that evening. Credit these superb and accurate Advanced Applied Kinesiology techniques for such a great and immediate response.
The return of players to the instruments they love, to play without pain, symptom or interference is a great satisfaction to me. My office is full of success stories and thank you letters from the musicians who have benefited from our research and spot-on delivery of correction. Numerous of the greatest and most reputable player magazines have done feature articles on me and my work with musicians: Guitar Player, Guitar for the Practicing Musician, Bass Player, Modern Drummer, Keyboards. Not because I had a publicist working for me; I didn't and don't. These mags sent their journalists out to interview and write on my work helping their players only because players and celebs I had helped told them they'd best do so and so do a favor to their reading public.
Other problems too can affect musicians. Drummers and other instrumentalists often have back and spine problems, from the way they sit and play, or from lifting their gear. The neck is often an important area to be analyzed and corrected in many hand and wrist conditions. Nerves to the hands and arm can be pinched in the neck, more often than not without the person even having a clue it’s there. Nutrition is often an important element in the fast correction of tough problems. I have fixed hands and wrists of people who already had carpal tunnel (even multiple surgeries!) or other surgeries for these exact problems, and those surgeries had failed.
Do you want to know more about this area of my specialized work than can be covered here? On YouTube, go to Dr Arlo Gordin, and watch Musicians Hands, that covers this area quite completely.
It’s my belief that you, our artists, deserve to create. I understand how an arm or hand or finger that won't do what you need it to do can frustrate or nearly destroy you. I want you to know that the natural way is most often the best. And I want you to get the job that you need done immediately and right.