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#1 2005-10-09 13:11:09

Mujitsu
Administrator/Flutemaker
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-05
Posts: 866
Website

Trigger Finger

I've developed a case of trigger finger in one of my little fingers. As a flute maker, I imagine this is a result of working with tools, gripping, playing, etc.

The tendons that bend your fingers run through a tunnel or sheath. Trigger finger is caused by a thickening on the tendon catching as it runs in and out of the sheath. So, the finger gets stuck in a bent position and has to be "popped" back to straighten it.

The usual treatment for trigger finger is a steroid injection. If this doesn't work, surgery is often advised. I've also read of less invasive treatment such as massage, acupuncture and various finger exercises.

Does anyone have experience with any of these treatments? I am particularly interested in the less invasive treatments before trying anything drastic.

Thanks.

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#2 2005-10-09 20:45:42

daiishi
Member
From: Arkansas
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 8
Website

Re: Trigger Finger

Greetings, I have experienced this in mild form and it has been aleviated by the stretching exercises you learn in aikido class for the fingers and wrists. It seems that the wrist is the area that helps the most. I don't know if this helps much but I hope so. Good luck with it and good business


Some say history and tradition are everything. Some say their way is the only way. Some say the shakuhachi is just a container for a column of vibrating air. I suspect the truth is between all these.

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#3 2005-10-09 21:34:00

edosan
Edomologist
From: Salt Lake City
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 2185

Re: Trigger Finger

Ken,

I don't know if these materials will specifically address your hand problem(s), but they seem to be very useful for some folks:

http://www.handfootcare.com/hands_musicians.htm

and

http://home.mindspring.com/~shin-on/handcare.html

and

http://eeshop.unl.edu/music.html

I believe there is some overlap between the first two.

Best,
eB


Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
Bupkes.

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#4 2005-10-10 10:30:43

Mujitsu
Administrator/Flutemaker
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-05
Posts: 866
Website

Re: Trigger Finger

Thanks guys. That is helpful.

I've also found that taping the finger can help. If I do this for a week or so at a time, the swellling of the tendon decreases.

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#5 2005-10-22 15:52:27

nyumon
Member
From: Switzerland
Registered: 2005-10-22
Posts: 2

Re: Trigger Finger

Hello,
almost being new here, `d like to suggest an experienced Tai-Chi or Chi-Gong teacher. If You are able to meet one, most of them have really good exercises to practice witha stonishing results.
Best wishes for recovery,
Marcus


Everyday mind is the way-ho ge jaku...

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#6 2005-10-23 00:18:14

Mujitsu
Administrator/Flutemaker
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-05
Posts: 866
Website

Re: Trigger Finger

Sali Marcus,

Thank you very much for your suggestion and welcome to the forum!

Ken

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#7 2005-10-23 10:21:50

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1040
Website

Re: Trigger Finger

Hey Ken,
Just had a chance to post today. Things have been crazy as usual. I've recently developed a minor case of Lateral Epicondylitis, or more commonly known as Tennis Elbow. I can attribute it to holding Sasa more frequently due to Jet's arrival. In the past, I noticed very minor discomfort at the same spot so it's something that was developing but not rapidly because of my cross training in other instruments - bass and guitar playing.  The strumming action of the right wrist loosens the elbow and foremarm muscles. These days, I'm playing the bass and guitar less so the cross training effect isn't alleviating the stress (maybe there is another bass/shakuhachi player out there who can elaborate on this).

Here's what works for me. There is a Chinese herbal tincture that helps greatly but it takes a while to work (as is the case with Chinese Medicine). It doesn't attack the symptoms in the way Western Medicine works but goes for the long term affect of allowing the body to promote healing. The pronounciation is "Teet Da Jow" and translates as Teet Da concoction. You can get it in small to large bottles. I suggest a medium size. This can last years and you may want to use it for other ligament ailments as it works really well on sprains. It has a strong odor and reminds me of Arnica so I think there must be Arnica in it. It is available in any Chinese Herbal shop  and since you are in San Francisco, you can probably find it at health food stores. Just ask the herbalist in your best Cantonese pronounciation and he will first laugh and then quickly produce the concoction. I once visited my Russian Chiropractor and he asked if I used it. It's actually quite well known in the medical world. You will have no problems finding it.  Massage it on the affected area liberally (for at least 5 minutes every application) and as often as you can handle the smell.

Be well, Perry


"A hot dog is not an animal." - Jet Yung

My Blog/Website on the art of shakuhachi...and parenting.
How to make an Urban Shakuhachi (PVC)

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#8 2005-10-23 11:28:46

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3206
Website

Re: Trigger Finger

Yungflutes wrote:

Hey Ken,
Just had a chance to post today. Things have been crazy as usual. I've recently developed a minor case of Lateral Epicondylitis, or more commonly known as Tennis Elbow. I can attribute it to holding Sasa more frequently due to Jet's arrival. In the past, I noticed very minor discomfort at the same spot so it's something that was developing but not rapidly because of my cross training in other instruments - bass and guitar playing.  The strumming action of the right wrist loosens the elbow and foremarm muscles. These days, I'm playing the bass and guitar less so the cross training effect isn't alleviating the stress (maybe there is another bass/shakuhachi player out there who can elaborate on this).

Who, pray tell, might you be referring to here, Perry?

I hope you are right about playing string instrument counteracting the bad effects of shakuhachi playing. I have been applying the reverse logic. When I'm not on tour or in the studio I don't play bass, just shakuhachi. Leo Kottke advised me not to practice too much in order to avoid arthritis.

All these things I do in my life, playing long flutes, playing acoustic bass with high action, riding stiff bikes, golfing, weights.....sometimes my hands and wrists hurt.

John Singer says the best thing for relieving hand pain caused by shakuhachi is swimming. Unfortunately Lake Michigan is a sewer. Usually a cold sewer.

Having met your energetic kids, I'm thinking maybe your brain hurts more than your hands. They are sweet though!


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#9 2005-10-23 13:55:04

Mujitsu
Administrator/Flutemaker
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-05
Posts: 866
Website

Re: Trigger Finger

Perry wrote:

It is available in any Chinese Herbal shop  and since you are in San Francisco, you can probably find it at health food stores. Just ask the herbalist in your best Cantonese pronounciation and he will first laugh and then quickly produce the concoction.

Hey Perry! Thanks for coming up for air!

Thanks for the tip. I'll give it a try. First, I'll practice the pronounciation diligently! You're right, since my neighborhood is about 80% Cantonese speaking, I can pick that up at my friendly corner Chinese Herbal Shop. 

Cheers,

Ken

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#10 2005-10-31 13:35:13

bluespiderweb
Member
From: Southeastern PA USA
Registered: 2005-10-31
Posts: 66

Re: Trigger Finger

Hello Ken,

I was just perusing this forum, since it was just recommended to my by Perry yesterday, and found your post about trigger finger.  I have been a member of the Chiff and Fipple forums (Irish Music) and remembered that trigger finger had been discussed there before.  I did a search, and the results showed quite a few posts about it.  It will not copy (the page with all the search results), but you can go here, and use the search feature for the forum.  Type in: trigger AND finger in the box that says search for keywords, and then click on the search box at the bottom, and it will show you what I saw.  Here's the index to the forums:

http://chiffboard.mati.ca/index.php

I signed up here yesterday, and hope to start a rich new experience with all of you when I get a flute from Perry to play.


Be well,  Barry

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#11 2005-10-31 15:19:46

Mujitsu
Administrator/Flutemaker
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-05
Posts: 866
Website

Re: Trigger Finger

Barry wrote:

I have been a member of the Chiff and Fipple forums (Irish Music) and remembered that trigger finger had been discussed there before.

Welcome to the foum Barry. I appreciate the link. I'll check it out.

Ken

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#12 2005-11-21 13:55:21

kyoreiflutes
Member
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: 2005-10-27
Posts: 364
Website

Re: Trigger Finger

I made three flutes in one week a bit ago, and boy, did my right hand KILL afterwards. You know how it goes, though...when you're in the zone, you've got to get it done, no matter what, and I was in the zone.

Anyway...I've noticed, after making and playing flutes, and using a Mouse all day, and occasionally making pitiful attempts at playing guitar (and I likea da low action, myself), that my right index finger, last week, started twtching. It just sat there and twitched in an entertaining sort of way. It made me think of this scene from TRON, but that's another story. Anyway, does anyone know anything about this? I'm a little worried about getting nerve damage, but I must play flute, and must use a Mouse, although I'm trying to use my tablet more often. I don't know if this is trigger finger at all, but it makes me think of having a twitchy trigger finger.

Blah, blah, blah...I need coffee.

-E


"The Universe does not play favorites, and is not fair by its very Nature; Humans, however, are uniquely capable of making the world they live in fair to all."    - D.E. Lloyd

"Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."    -John Donne

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#13 2005-12-02 01:03:46

Yu-Jin
Member
From: San Diego
Registered: 2005-11-30
Posts: 108

Re: Trigger Finger

Mujitsu wrote:

I've also found that taping the finger can help. If I do this for a week or so at a time, the swellling of the tendon decreases.

Hi Ken,

I also do tapping plus Chinese healing balls and some massage and finger stretching. For me, being a dentist, resolving this issue is quite important. I noticed that "Iron Palm" exercise which is slapping a bag of rice combined with Dit Da Jow (mentioned by Perry earlier) does pretty good job. I am also planning to take some Tabla lessons not to be a professional player, but rather to exercise my hands. I will let you know how it works is several months.

Eugene

Last edited by Yu-Jin (2005-12-02 01:04:42)

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#14 2005-12-02 04:13:47

Mujitsu
Administrator/Flutemaker
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-05
Posts: 866
Website

Re: Trigger Finger

Yu-Jin wrote:

I noticed that "Iron Palm" exercise which is slapping a bag of rice combined with Dit Da Jow (mentioned by Perry earlier) does pretty good job. I am also planning to take some Tabla lessons not to be a professional player, but rather to exercise my hands. I will let you know how it works is several months.

Eugene

Thank you Eugene. I appreciate your advice. It's very nice to have such knowledgeable people nearby. Best of luck with your tabla playing!

Ken

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#15 2007-05-27 10:39:56

Aprayinbear
Member
Registered: 2006-06-30
Posts: 8

Re: Trigger Finger

While I am not a long time shakuhachi player, I do have some personal and professional experience working (I am a practitioner of the healing arts) with the "trigger finger" problem.  Working with hand tools, especially mechanized hand tools (like palm sanders), or using the mouse for long hours certainly exacerbates the problem.  I developed the problem after years of doing both, and was fortunate to find several treatment methods which quickly alleviated the issue.  Today the problem is gone.   

Like others have mentioned, I too found finger tapping to be an easy and immediate way to ease the problem.  Interestingly, when I began studying the classical guitar more seriously, the problem was further diminished (this requires close attention to stress free playing in a proper position), and finally I utilized energetic touch techniques which helped over the long run, and to ease some immediate pain I sometimes felt in the wrist as well.

For those who may not know, "energetic touch" is practiced through multiple modalities such as Reiki, Healing Touch, Chi-Gong, Pranic Healing, etc.  Simply breathing deeply while gently touching the afflicted area begins the process.  As Perry described with Chinese medicine, the results are cumulative over time, although you might feel some improvement straight away.  To go a bit further, there are several other touch locations which cumulatively serve to free the hand and finger.  Next place your middle three fingertips on the palm of the hand in the center, close to the heel.  Continue breathing deeply and stay there for several minutes.  For the next position, cup your elbow with the opposing hand as you continue the breathing process for several minutes.  Finally, as strange as it seems, place your hands over your solar plexus (just below the sternum and above the navel.) Trigger finger is ultimately an inflammatory response and all inflammatory responses stem originate in the solar plexus.

These are basic but useful techniques for us all.  There are more specific positions which vary from person to person.  If anyone desires to know more, feel free to email me and I will gladly share energetic touch techniques specific to your individual needs.

Breathe Deeply and Enjoy,
Duffy

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#16 2008-01-06 13:54:57

Dewdrop
Member
Registered: 2007-10-08
Posts: 2

Re: Trigger Finger

Hi Ken -

I am a part time massage therapist who specializes in deep tissue work. 

I've seen lots of "healing" take place using deep tissue work and well designed stretching / manipulation techniques for fingers, wrist and forearm.

Before any radical approach to curing hand issues - I highly recommend a DVD called "Healthy Hands" by Martin Gray.  $19.95.   He has a simple hand and forerarm conditioning program based on his own experience.

Check it out at:    www.nomadics.net

I've had great success with his program and so have many others that I have know who have tried it.   

Best,
Dewdrop

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#17 2008-01-07 16:26:37

Mujitsu
Administrator/Flutemaker
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-05
Posts: 866
Website

Re: Trigger Finger

Dewdrop wrote:

Before any radical approach to curing hand issues - I highly recommend a DVD called "Healthy Hands" by Martin Gray.  $19.95.   He has a simple hand and forerarm conditioning program based on his own experience.

Check it out at:    www.nomadics.net

I've had great success with his program and so have many others that I have know who have tried it.   

Best,
Dewdrop

Many thanks Your Dewness! Great site!

Ken

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#18 2010-05-24 18:07:16

jynx_474
Member
Registered: 2007-08-10
Posts: 15

Re: Trigger Finger

Hey Ken;

Have you tried accupressure? if not there is a pressure point just below the knuckle where your finger meets the palm of your hand.  Use your index finger to gently (and gradually) apply pressure to the point untill you get to to the point where it doesn't have any more give to it.  Next it will start pulsing followed by a warming of the area.

After it stops pulsing gradually release the pressure, and soak your hand in hot followed by cold water (polarity bath).  It may take several treatments, but it should take care of the trigger finger (at least it has for me anyhow)
hope that helps

Itterasshai

Jynx

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#19 2010-05-25 15:38:54

Mujitsu
Administrator/Flutemaker
From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-05
Posts: 866
Website

Re: Trigger Finger

jynx_474 wrote:

Hey Ken;

Have you tried accupressure? if not there is a pressure point just below the knuckle where your finger meets the palm of your hand.  Use your index finger to gently (and gradually) apply pressure to the point untill you get to to the point where it doesn't have any more give to it.  Next it will start pulsing followed by a warming of the area.

After it stops pulsing gradually release the pressure, and soak your hand in hot followed by cold water (polarity bath).  It may take several treatments, but it should take care of the trigger finger (at least it has for me anyhow)
hope that helps

Itterasshai

Jynx

Thanks for the information Jynx. I've tried a little of that but not to the extent of your example.

A combination of stretching and consciously varying the stresses of repetitive tasks has done the trick for trigger finger as well as wrist pain for me. No flare ups since I began over three years ago.

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#20 2010-05-26 04:43:00

Lodro
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2009-04-02
Posts: 105

Re: Trigger Finger

I'd be seeing a GOOD massage practitioner (one who's got qualifications) as my very first port of call. We can do some great stuff with these issues. 'Tuina' for example should work wonders for you I would think. If you can find a good massage practitioner who works primarily with Tuina then I'd go there. Tuina is a branch of Chinese medicine and covers everything in the 'known universe'. Likewise Acupressure (which you can also apply to yourself) should have marvelous effect. If you are interested let me know and I can let you know some great points. Shame we're not on the same side of the planet otherwise I'd be there in a flash.

Last edited by Lodro (2010-05-26 04:44:12)


Each part of the body should be connected to every other part.

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