Dangers of getting arthritis/finger problems?

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I am only in my twenties and recently been getting painful fingers due to too much time typing at my job. I have been playing piano for 6 months now and am worried that this "other" strain on my fingers might be too much in the long run. I have read that piano actually makes your fingers stronger? Is that true? The dangers of typing for too long are well known and no-one claims that typing makes your fingers stronger! It is always thought of as a bad thing for the long-run. So I am confused about whethere playing the piano is making my fingers weaker or stronger.

-- Anand (mehtaaj2002@yahoo.com), May 02, 2003


Anand ~ I was hoping that by now there would be an answer to your question, because I am interested in the answer. One question for you, however: What are the dangers of typing for too long? Are you referring to "carpel tunnel syndrome"? If so, then piano playing in not likely to cause that same type of stress, for the wrists are (idealy) moving up and down most of the time you are playing. Does typing hurt the fingers in other ways? (I wouldn't know, since my typing speed on a conventional typewriter is about 20 wpm!)

I have never heard that piano playing will hurt your fingers, except for some instances of players hands being hurt through incorrect use. There are several simple "finger exercises" that are designed to strengthen the fingers, and keep them supple (such as bending and unbending your fingers like claws, and also pressing each individual finger against the thumb of the same hand, keeping the fingers rounded - you probabaly know these "exercises," as your teacher has probably shown them to you. There are others as well, which the teachers here can tell you). I do believe that piano playing will help, not hurt, any stiffness in your fingers. But others here know a lot more about this than I do - I'm a relative newbie to the sport of piano playing! Good luck! Shirley

-- Shirley Gibson (sacgibson@juno.com), May 03, 2003.

Being a reporter and author has kept me busy typing every day. And, much like you, I have played the piano for more than 40 years. Because of the added stress of typing I ended up writing a book titled, "Hand Therapy for Computer Users." But to answer your question. If you perceive piano playing as a form of 'exercise', then you must also respect the whole concept of that exercise which would then include a finger warm up, the actual playing workout, and then a stretch and cool down. I know it sounds funny, but it is true and most people neglect to treat their fingers like the rest of their body. Are you completing enough warm up finger exercises or enough cool down stretches? If not, try and see if that solves the problems. And another very, very important point here. If you are properly positioned in your chair and your elbow is bent at the current angle and you still have problems, then perhaps you should look into the fact that you may be holding too much stress in your fingers. Are your fingers and loose and fluid? or are you holding them in a stressed and focused way? Are they relaxed or not? Try to keep your fingers relaxed and have them glide of the keys, whether they be on the keyboard in front of a computer screen or on the piano in front of you. See if any of these helps. Good luck to you, Sincerely, Francine Milford www.HandTherapy.50megs.com

-- Francine Milford (RevReikiND@cs.com), March 10, 2005.

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