Musician’s Focal Dystonia


If you’ve found this homepage, chances are that you’ve been experiencing some strange symptoms recently when playing your instrument.

Perhaps your fingers feel out of control or do unexpected movements, or your embouchure feels awkward or it leaks air on the sides. Maybe your shoulder tenses up when you use your bow, or your feet respond strangely on the pedal.

Any of these frustrating and alarming symptoms can be a sign of Musician’s Focal Dystonia, a neurological motor disorder, experienced by approximately 1% of musicians all over the world.


Musician’s Focal Dystonia: a common condition

If you received a diagnosis from a neurologist or talked to colleges you might have heard that the condition is not curable, and indeed, that is the official verdict.

This is what I was led to believe when I suffered from the condition in 2010, completely losing my flute embouchure in the course of only one week, at the peak of my freelancing career. Luckily enough, I did not believe the rumours, and I was not prepared to give up this easily. In the following years, I retrained myself to my former level of playing and returned to my career.


Coaching and scientific background

Soon after my recovery, many musicians suffering from the condition found me and were eager to know how I got rid of my symptoms. As I was giving advice to them, I slowly began to develop a therapy which I use to this day. It is partially based on my own recovery, but I also learned a lot on the way from musicians, medical professionals, Alexander Technique teachers, physiotherapists, music psychologists, and former sufferers, refining my ideas with every single step.

I also felt the need to research the condition in a more formal and scientific way, therefore I completed a Master of Science course at the Royal College of Music in London with distinction, majoring in Performance Psychology. Following that, I was offered a Ph.D. position at the University of York with the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s scholarship to continue my research into MFD, which I am undertaking now.


In this page, I offer advice, support and rehabilitation information based on the combination of personal experience and scientific research – and also coaching, if you wish to have a retraining tailored to your specific needs.

You will find essays with a more scientific approach and references under ‘The science of focal dystonia’ and short articles about personal views and experiences under ‘Blog’.

I hope that the information you find on this page is helpful to you!


Kind regards,


Anna Detari

BA Hon, MA, MSc Hon



287 Responses to Musician’s Focal Dystonia

  1. James Etheridge October 8, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    I am a horn player. There are days when I am warming up or practicing long notes when my lips and facial muscles seem to be undergoing some kind of spasm. There is so much disturbance, that the upper and lower teeth seem to scrape one another. I can’t explain why this happens and why I have better days. ~Everything seems to want to go in the opposite direction (away from the mouthpiece).

    • Jon Gorrie October 8, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

      Hi James,

      Thanks for your message. I’ll send you an email with some more info. In the meantime, please feel free to browse through the blog and online forum postings here.

      I’ll email you now.

      All the best,


    • Miguel Angel Alegre August 20, 2015 at 12:40 am #

      Hi Jon,
      I have been reading your web and found it great, I have been experiencing FD for two years now without knowing exactly what my problem was. I am a professional cellist and had to quit professional life for almost a year now. I have been working a lot in different ways to solve the problem and I believe that I may be in track but some days still really disapointing and depressing. I love to get some information from you that can help me to give an idea of what you did to get ready to play again. It is fantastic to hear from musicians that have overcome this problem
      Thank you very much,

      • Jon Gorrie September 14, 2015 at 9:02 pm #

        Hi Miguel,
        Thanks for your message and kind words. I’ve sent you an email with more information.

  2. PETER CHONG November 5, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

    i have focal dystonia,fingers are stiff and bent backwards,how can you help me.thanks

    • Jon Gorrie November 5, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for your message. I’ve just sent you an email with more information.

      All the best,


      • Terry November 15, 2018 at 5:32 am #

        Hello! I need any info on MFD that you can give. Just like one of your commenters, I have FD in my right leg on bass drum pedal. Been dealing with this for over 25 years.

  3. brian November 6, 2013 at 12:38 am #

    I play ukulele and primarily fingerpick. My left hand is the problem, when I am stressed my ring finger seems to tremble as if it’s extremely fatigued.
    I was trained as a trumpet player, majored in music and sometimes had the same problem with the left side of my lower lip. It would sometimes twitch but didn’t seem to cause too much of a problem,
    Oddly enough, when I get a headache they are always on the left side.

    • Jon Gorrie November 6, 2013 at 9:19 am #

      Hi Brian,

      Thanks for your comment. I’ve just emailed you some coaching information.

      Kind regards,


  4. vedran November 6, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    Hi Jon, I am a clarinetist and have problem with forth and fifth finger..soon as I put down my third finger those other two are in a kind of cramp posizion. Ive been told that I have FD. Do u know how to help?
    Thanks and BR

    • Jon Gorrie November 6, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

      Hi Vedran,

      Thanks for your message. I’ve just sent you an email with some information about coaching.

      All the best,


    • Sophie August 4, 2014 at 9:16 am #

      I have the same problem, I’m a clarinetist and my fourth and fifth fingers always lock stiff in one position. Do you know how to help?

      Sophie 🙂

  5. Dan St-Germain November 15, 2013 at 12:19 am #

    Hi Jon,

    I am so exited I have found your website. I am a guitar player. I have FD symptoms on my left hand (fretting hand) since 2009. I quit playing for a little over 2 years now, but recently picked up a guitar and decided it had to change.

    Thanks in advance for this blog, all my hopes are here now!

    Warm regards,


    • Jon Gorrie November 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

      Hi Dan,

      Thanks for your message! Hope you find something useful here. FD can be resolved – we are a growing group of recovered musicians! Feel free to drop me a line any time via the contact page on this site if you want to chat on skype.

      All the best,


      • Eric byrnes January 20, 2016 at 4:48 am #

        Hi Jon

        I am suffering from musician’s dystonia primarily in my left hand, but it seems as though it could be miving into my right hand. I play the piano and it is nearly impossible to do so with my left hand. I am trying boxtix injections with some very short term positive results, but would live yo learn other ways to treat it mire permanantly. I eould live to hear what you have to offer.

        Thank you


        • Jon Gorrie February 7, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

          Hi Eric,
          Unfortunately my schedule is full for the next few months, but I will refer you to Anna Detari.
          Kind regards,

  6. Him November 22, 2013 at 4:23 am #

    hello Jon. i am excited to see this website. i read your story and find it very encouraging. i am an oboe player and have FD in my right hand. the 4th and 5th fingers would crash into the middle finger and kind of curl up when i put down my index and/or middle finger. it has been like that since August. this just jeopardises my playing. what should i do? please give me some advice. i look forward to hearing from you. heaps of thanks!



    • Jon Gorrie November 22, 2013 at 11:53 am #

      Hi Him,

      Thanks for getting in touch. I’ve just sent you an email.

      Yes, 4th and 5th finger curling is a very common form of Musician’s Focal Dystonia, especially among oboe, clarinet, and guitar players. Fortunately, it is very possible to solve this with a change in physical setup (often the primary cause), as well as mental direction/intention, and mindset/emotional attachment.

      Looking forward to your reply via email.

      All the best,


      • Mike Simspon May 30, 2017 at 9:20 pm #

        Hi Jon,

        Just found your website. Having the same issues with right hand 4th/5th fingers. I’ve had this issue for over 15 years, so I just put up with not being able to play classical guitar. Is it too late to try some of your remedies?

        Thanks, Mike

        • Jon Gorrie May 30, 2017 at 10:35 pm #

          Hi Mike,

          I’m not offering coaching at this time, but I will refer you to Anna Detari. Anna will be in touch soon.

          Kind regards,


  7. Bob Mahoney November 29, 2013 at 4:51 am #

    How great to see words of encouragement for those of us who have been told to “hang it up. Sorry, you’ve got FD.”
    Twenty years ago I suddenly “forgot” how to play a few of the easiest pitches on the horn. Quickly the extent of the affected pitches encompassed nearly the entire range. I was out of the orchestra and divorced from my friends and closest colleagues and that hurt.
    I don’t have the spasms or quivering of typical FD – it’s the brain saying “huh?” when the chops want instructions on how to play a simple note.
    Yours is the first site I’ve ever encountered that suggests this might be fixed. I’d love to … No, I need to learn more.
    Thanks a million in advance.

    • Jon Gorrie November 29, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

      Hi Bob,

      Thanks for your positive feedback! Yes, I was told the exact same thing, and there were many times when I actually believed it as well. However, it’s simply not true – it *is* possible to unlearn MFD and re-learn free and easy playing. It’s a process, in most cases it’s not easy, but it is possible!

      Feel free to look around the site – I hope there is something here of value for you.

      All the best!


      • spanish December 3, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

        Hello. Congratulation for his article. He forgives but I am Spanish and Englishman does not speak himself. I am a teacher of trumpet in Spain and have Fd with the same symptoms. Help please!. I am spending it very badly. Thank you.

        • Jon Gorrie December 3, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

          Hi there!
          I’ve emailed you some information about practitioners in Spain.
          All the best!

      • aldo May 9, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

        hola jon tengo distonia en la mano izquierda ,me afecta el dedoanular e indice helppp

        • Jon Gorrie May 9, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

          Hola! ¿Hablas Inglés? Si es así, te puedo ayudar. Si no es así, le sugiero ponerse en contacto con Joaquín Farias o Joaquín Fabra de España. ¡Mucha suerte!

      • Annie April 26, 2015 at 12:30 am #

        Hi Jon:
        I have the musician dystonia more than one year. I am a pianist,until now,my right hand’s still stiff and bend when I play on the keyboard.
        I feel so sad. Can you help me?


  8. floyd February 8, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    Hi Jon

    I am a finger-picking intrumental guitarist who has FD in the ring finger of my fretting hand. I’ve contacted a few people regarding this on Skype and have received different treatment options. One said to let the fingers do whatever they wanted to but log a note with the brain that the fingers are doing the wrong thing, and the other said I need slow finger exercises to re-train the brain. My condition has become worse. Can you help?

    Much thanks

  9. kostas February 13, 2014 at 12:26 am #

    Hello!! I am a professional trumpet player I play in a symphony orchestra and I am experiencing some strange things happening in my embouchure. There are days that I feel really great but other that my muscles tremble and my range is really bad . Before 2 years after very intense practising for an audition my embouchure collapsed and I could not play higher than a middle c !! Also I could not maintain a steady single note. After some time away from the horn I came back but now I experiencing very similar symptoms. Is there any chance that I am developing FD?

    • Jon Gorrie February 13, 2014 at 1:05 am #

      Hi Kostas,

      Thanks for message, and for your comment on my Haydn youtube video! 🙂 I’ve just sent you an email with a little info. Looking forward to your reply there.

      All the best!


  10. Bob February 19, 2014 at 2:37 am #

    Hi Jon,

    I’m a tuba player in a military band in the U.S. About 3 years ago I also started playing euphonium. While my euphonium playing has improved, my tuba playing has gotten worse, much worse, particularly in the lower register. Despite an increase in practicing, I’ve noticed a steep decline over the past year. Again, primarily in the lower register, where I can now barely play notes that used to be effortless.

    Any advice would be most welcome.

    Thank you,

    • Jon Gorrie February 19, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

      Hi Bob,

      This may or may not be Musician’s Focal Dystonia. It could simply be a ‘tightness’ experienced from too much euphonium playing. Are you still playing both instruments, or are you back solely on tuba?

      Kind regards,


  11. Parker February 28, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

    Aloha Jon,
    Found your link through FB. Been struggling with FHD for almost 1 1/2 years now. My right index finger is the problem. I have tried various meds and botox but nothing has worked for me. I play the guitar, ukulele and piano – not as often anymore.

    Would love to hear more about what helped you.



    • Jon Gorrie February 28, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

      Hi Parker!

      Thanks for writing. I’ll send you an email with some more info. In the meantime, please feel free to check out the free webinar about Musicians Focal Dystonia here on the site, or read the many blog articles and forum excerpts. I’ll email you now…

      All the best!


  12. Russell Bain March 10, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    Hi Jon,

    I really appreciate you sharing your experience, and your process for overcoming embouchure dystonia. My embouchure collapse started about 7 years ago. One day, I just couldn’t find the right way to put the trombone on my mouth. I couldn’t get a buzz going, and when I finally did, my chops were exhausted. Several months later after trying to deal with the issue, I had lost all of my playing ability (range, flexibility, endurance and tone. The only thing that still worked was tonging). I had involuntary twitches in my lips, jaw, around one eye, and in my forehead. I also had a severe and constant lip tremor. It was some time after that that I tried to play again, but I had all of the same problems. I finally sought out medical advice, and through a series of referrals I was finally diagnosed with embouchure dystonia by a movement disorders specialist.

    I’ve started practicing again, but in a completely different way. I think my imagination is the key to getting this sorted out, so I work to imagine playing trombone as being the easiest thing that I do, until that becomes my expectation (I watch bone players that make it look effortless, I work to remember when it was effortless for me, and I play my air trombone). I also find that focusing on improvisation takes my attention away from the mechanics of playing, and I like to have some background noise as well when I play (dishwasher etc.). My sessions are very unstructured. I usually start by throwing the slide around while blowing out notes (without choosing any particular partial to start). I then go on to whatever was working in the last practice session, and if that doesn’t work, I try something else. It’s important for me at this stage not to become too emotionally invested, so I also limit my practice time to 1 hour a day. Anyway, I’ve seen enough progress that I think I must be heading in the right direction, but I’m sure I would benefit from your experience, and would really appreciate your help!

    Russ 🙂

    • Jon Gorrie March 10, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

      Hi Russ!

      Thanks for your message. I’ll send you an email straight away with a little more info.

      All the best!


      • Richard October 31, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

        Russ, your comments about improvisation as a distraction from focusing on your mechanics are just spot on. This is largely how I had managed to bring myself back from nothing to a pretty solid playing and teaching career (low brass) here in NW Indiana. Congratulations on you success, and thanks for the validation!


  13. DWIGHT V BIRD March 14, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

    I have been diagnosed with TSEFD (the E is for Embouchure) two years ago, but it actually started 11 years ago for me. I struggled thinking I just wasn’t practicing enough. I am/was an amature but still want to play. All my efforts have been futile. What should I be doing?

    • DWIGHT V BIRD March 14, 2014 at 9:02 pm #

      And… what should I not be doing?

      • Jon Gorrie March 14, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

        Hi Dwight,
        Great questions – particularly the second one! I’ll send an email reply now with more info for you.
        All the best,

  14. Gareth March 26, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

    Hi, I’m a guitar player and I’ve recently been diagnosed with FD in the right hand. I need to do a lot of writing for my job and my penmanship has suffered and I’m having a hard time playing guitar!

    I tried Botox as recommended by a neurologist but my hand is not getting full motor function and I would rather try to treat it naturally.

    I’m really hoping that this condition can be dealt with so I can go back to living without my hand being crippled! Any info would be awesome!


    • Jon Gorrie March 27, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      Hi Gareth,

      I’ve just sent you an email with some info. Kind regards,


      • Jim September 27, 2015 at 10:55 pm #

        Very similar story. Just had 3rd round of Botox. Have tried acupuncture, trigger point dry needling, ultrasound, PT and many other treatments. Right hand middle and ring finger (picking hand) are just about useless now. Any guidance is much appreciated

        • Jon Gorrie October 6, 2015 at 9:41 am #

          Hi Jim,
          I’ve emaied you more info. Kind regards,

  15. Leslie Gott April 4, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

    Hi Jon,

    I’m an amateur horn player and have been struggling with what I suspect is FD since December. The easiest notes to play on the horn are the ones I can’t play anymore. I can’t hold a long note, sometimes they speak, sometimes they don’t. I can hit them with loud, short blasts, but no control of any kind. It’s like my face can’t remember what it feels like to play those notes anymore, like I’ve had a stroke that only affects the middle range, from A below middle C to the E above (in F). I love playing in my band and brass quintet, but am so upset and frustrated by this that I’ve been thinking of quitting. Your story of recovery is so encouraging! I would love to learn what to do to get back my ability to play. Thanks!

    • Jon Gorrie April 5, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

      Hi Leslie,

      Thanks for your message! I’ve just sent you an email with more info. Hope that’s helpful!

      Kind regards,


  16. Anders Palmquist April 7, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    Antescript: I switched to this musicianssite instead!
    Read your compelling story of playing hardships because I do have problems of my own. Roughly 1 1/2 ago my trumpet&cornetplaying suddenly (to me at least) started to detoriate. I tired quickly, not able to reach the high notes I used to, sometimes unable to play anything higher than C on staff. Felt like my upperlip did vibrate in the middle of it, fluttering sound quality. This may have coincided with my ability to practise several times a day, due to my workschedule reduced to once a week, I am now 71. I do play in the solocornetsection in a Brassband since early 60:ies, lead trumpet in (swing)Big band 68-2005 etc etc. E-flat cornet with success etc etc.
    Problems autumn 12, spring 13, but suddenly OK most of autumn 13 and again terrible since christmas. I have consulted a neurologist, like you, a specialist of Parkinson; he found a certain asymmetry between left/right hand sides but no definite signs of said disease, anyhow he will send me to fMRI or the like for scanning of the basal ganglia.
    My questions to you specifically: Have you experienced tremor in “beatleg when rhythm beating in uptempos? This flutter of upperlip (in the middle just the tiny tip of it)?? The other day in the BrassBand I was not able to produce almost any note, regardless off staffposition due to this flutter. The feeling that notes above high G on staff just seem impossible, as if I will have to add great force to produce them??
    Should add that in Lucinda Lewis´ opinion my problem is what she defines as “broken embouschyre”. Rehearsing according to her ideas seems to have had at least some benefits, (buzz stopping), although I have only followed that for 3 weeks.
    Ps: Your ideas with this site seem very very good – I think there is a lot of us out here!!
    Being a psychologist I do know that things like these carry a big emotional impact.

    • Jon Gorrie April 7, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

      Hi Anders,

      I’ve just sent you a reply with further information. Kind regards,


  17. Anders Palmquist April 8, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    Dear Jon!

    Eagerly awaiting your info but unable to find it! Maybe some black hole in cyberspace engulfed it??
    Last evening I played in a brassquartett. Just fine, or even nice for 15 minutes, then rotten, then one single tune, very intricate&rather high just fine but then it all went to the dogs…This confounded fluttering, feeling mouthpiece bouncing all around on my exhausted lips!Jeez!

    • Jon Gorrie April 27, 2014 at 9:03 am #

      Hi Anders,
      I’ll send you another email. Check your inbox! 🙂
      All the best,

  18. Anders Palmquist April 15, 2014 at 7:55 pm #


    Specific question after having tried to reinvent myself/reading through the blog: This flutter of my liptip – any suggestions and ideas?? Of course I am aware of the possibility of a negative thought-loop – I have tried to relax but it (the flutter) just won´t go away but for short periods.
    The mental set is crucial I know from experience (and theory), not thinking you will hit that high Eb will make you spoil it. Maybe my mind has locked itself on the idea that this flutter depends on some physical process??
    Or is it that lack of formal trumpeteducation finally did show itself after all these years, being masked earlier by sheer youthful power so to speak??
    Where do I find your reply?? I am not that used to blogs etc..

    • Jon Gorrie April 27, 2014 at 9:03 am #

      Hi Anders,
      I’ll send you another email. Check your inbox! 🙂
      All the best,

  19. John April 26, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    Hi Jon,

    I was fairly recently diagnosed with FD in my left hand by a Neurologist in the past year. I guess I’m one of those fairly rare one? In that I’m jazz saxophonist? Don’t know whether my statement there is credible, just can’t seem to find many wind players/improvisers with this, or (hopefully) just haven’t been searching well enough.
    Iive experienced off and on -what seemed at the time – repetitive strain isuess for fifteen years prior to this new development, which is my left index finger curling/clutching and while third, ring and small finger flatten, lift and get weak. The index also pulls downward into my third finger, making controlled motion between the two extremely difficult. The clutching causes the hand to pull in and hit side keys, causing the hand to lose seal in the middle of a passage.
    The pain, I’ve wondered, has been a possible result (in part or in whole) from squeezing to subconsciously to overcompensate for the slowly but surely developing FD. I’ve tried really slowing down habitual areas in my musical ideas/technique that are effected by -or really divulge – the FD to consciously, and with a seemingly futile effort – to reduce the “squeeze” and “clutch”. Sometimes I can get the hand to respond a bit, but other times this just results with my entire hand feeling the need to entirely curl-in to space the fingers differently.
    Neurologist prescribed Artane and Clonosepam. The Artane does slightly reduce the clutching, and Clonosepam seems to help less…albeit a great pain reliever? It’s intended as an anti convulsive med. the Artane, more of a brain signal relaxer like a Parkinson’s drug.
    Sorry for the hideously long post…just wanted in inform you fully for any advice and expert perspective.



    • Jon Gorrie April 27, 2014 at 9:03 am #

      Hi John,

      I’ve just sent you some further info. All the best,!


  20. Rick Smith May 1, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    Hi there,

    After 7 years of searching and visiting various medical people i’ve finally been diagnosed with FD by Dr Vera Neumann through the BAPAM (British Assc. of Performing Arts and Medicine). I had been up until approx 8 years ago a semi pro drummer but had sarted to develop symptoms that began to affect my play – tension, lack of control/grip – until eventuallymy left arm seized from gripping too hard to prevent dropping the stick. It feltlike my arm was no longer mine and wouldn’t do what my brain was telling it. Bottom 3 fingers would spasm and release, wrist would pull out at a right angle, elbow then pulled sideways and shoulder lifted and tensed to compensate – horrible. It completely put me off so I stopped altogether for 3/4 years. After further years and attempts to get an answer I found through a drum teacher and a pro drummer, the BAPAM who diagnosed FD almost immediately. I am visiting a physio to help re-align my posture, shoulder,arm etc and working with different techniques to try andfind a way forward – I so want to play again. Any help advice would be most welcome – I’ll try anything!!

    • Jon Gorrie May 1, 2014 at 9:38 am #

      Hi Rick,

      Thanks for your message. I’ve just sent you an email with a little more info. All the best!


      • Jan March 1, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

        So glad I’ve found this page! I have been a professional drummer for 35 years. About 10 years ago began experiencing “issues” with my right foot (bass drum) . What seemed natural and effortless felt just the opposite. Simple patterns became a mental process distracting me to the point of over compensation and physical fatigue. Trying to keep a game face on so other band members and the audience couldn’t tell, makes it even harder. It seems that “busier” patterns pose less of a problem than say steady quarter notes. I totally focus on my foot instead of the music and it becomes miserable. I could go on w/ symptoms but after reading posts here am sure FD is my problem . I’ve suspected it was a mental/ nuero issue. Also, I have been trying to monitor my breathing. PLEASE send me any info or techniques to aid in reversing this. Thank you for putting this out online !

        • Jon Gorrie July 3, 2015 at 8:54 am #

          Hi Jan,

          Thanks for writing. I don’t have experience in resolving FD in the legs or feet. However, I have helped several drummers recover from MFD in the arms, wrists, and hands. I would be happy to give you a Skype coaching session. Having said that, I could in no way offer you any guarantees as this would be new territory for me. Let me know if you’d like more info about Skype sessions, costs etc.

          All the best,

        • Terry November 15, 2018 at 5:29 am #

          Hello Jan! My gosh. I honestly thought. I was reading a post that I had forgotten I wrote!!! You and I share the exact same playing issue. Right leg/bass drum. I have been battling this condition for over 25 years. Many years ago I was convinced it was FD, then I thought it was a muscle issue, technique issue, wrong pedal, wrong throne, etc. I am 56 years old now and still play every weekend in Nashville, TN. My playing is getting worse and worse. Bought yet ANOTHER double pedal and going to once again play left foot bass this weekend. Are you still having the FD?

          • Anna Détári November 19, 2018 at 8:49 am #

            Dear Terry,

            I took over the page from Jon who retired from MFD coaching.

            I have worked with three drummers with foot dystonia successfully, let me know if you’re interested in receiving some information about the coaching.

          • Terry December 2, 2018 at 7:19 am #

            Hello Anna! Yes, absolutely I am interested in receiving any info you can send! My email is below.Thank You so much Anna!!!

  21. mawusi May 11, 2014 at 8:28 am #

    Hi i am from ghana and i think i have focal dystonia.i play the piano and i have noticed my middle finger is not responding as it used to. It used to be my favourite finger. Here in Ghana our doctors are not familiar with this condition let alone its treatment. Can you help me

    • Jon Gorrie May 11, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

      Hi Mawusi,

      I’ve just emailed you some more information. All the best,


  22. Leigh May 12, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    Hi Jon,
    I am a violist having issues with being able to control my left hand ring finger and having my fingers retract in when playing. I am waiting to see a neurologist, but I fear that I have focal dystonia. I would appreciate any information you have for dealing with this.
    Thanks so much!

    • Jon Gorrie May 13, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

      Hi Leigh,
      I’ve just sent you an email with some more info. All the best!

  23. Thomas May 15, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    Dear Jon,

    I am (or was) a classical guitarist and had to give up concert career due to what has last year been diagnosed (university clinic Duesseldorf , musician’s clinic) but has been present for 20+years. The retraining process (practricing very slowly below tremor threshold tempo) has not produced any lasting success/improvement within almost a year. I am living and working in Myanmar (music director for international school and composer)

    Any advice other than giving up/botox/brain surgery/heavy drugs will be highly appreciated.

    Thank you and Kind Regards,

    • Jon Gorrie May 15, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

      Hi Thomas,
      I’ve just emailed you some more information. All the best!

  24. Mark May 16, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    Dear Jon, I play the clarinet and recently I’ve developed a massive problem. As I cross over the ‘break’ my left hand thumb and forefinger go into a spasm, which makes playing virtually impossible. If you have any help to offer me I will be forever grateful.

    • Jon Gorrie May 18, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for getting in touch. I’ll send you an email right away. All the best,


  25. Stanley May 24, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

    Dear Jon, I am a pianist, and I have suffered from FD for about one and a half year, I found that the middle finger of my right hand being lost of control, should I try to play without the dystonia movements, or just let my fingers do what they want? I will be forever grateful if you give me advice to help me.

    • Jon Gorrie May 25, 2014 at 8:32 am #

      Hi Stanley,

      I’ve emailed you some information. All the best,


  26. Gary P. May 31, 2014 at 3:57 am #

    21 years ago, I was entering my final year of grad school. I was playing at a level where I felt ready to go out and take the audition world by storm! Then one day I woke up and things suddenly and inexplicably felt, well, “foreign”. When I picked up my tuba, I could no longer “feel” where those notes were anymore. I brushed it off as one of those phases every brass player goes through from time to time. The slight quiver in the sound and that loss of security in my playing would be fleeting. It did fade away, but came back again from time to time; enough so that i began to lose the confidence I had always had in my playing.

    I graduated and went out into the world and managed to get my fare share of professional work, but the problems kept cropping up. Over the course of the next 18 years, the issues got worse and I not only had to work harder to mask the problems I could plainly hear in my playing, but every time I picked up my horn I had doubts about what would come out of the bell. I played for everyone under sun including Arnold Jacobs. I tried practicing harder; practicing much less; buzzing the mouthpiece exclusively. Nothing helped.

    About 5 or 6 years ago, it became impossible to hide what was happening any longer. My colleagues and conductors were starting to notice. I clung fast to my life as a tubist because all my life it had defined who I was. I COULDN’T let go of it! It was torture for me and there was no joy left in the music-making.

    About a year and a half ago I played an orchestra concert that featured the Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique. the tuba parts lay in the mid-upper register, always my very strongest and most secure range. It was easily the worst performance of my career and shortly thereafter, I decided it was time to end this painful journey. It was a painful and emotional time, but it was the best thing I could have done. Releasing myself from my self-made obligation to stick with this freed me up to heal. That freedom allowed me to explore another musical side of me that I never would have guessed existed: my voice. Thus began a new chapter.

    I learned an incredibly valuable lesson through my experience with focal dystonia. We are not defined by what we do in life, rather we are a person first. When your whole identity is wrapped up in what you do and then what you do vanishes, so does your identity. I identified myself as a tuba player and dystonia made it impossible to continue living that life. I know identify myself first as a person, second as a musician, and third as vocalist. What a difference that has made for me and the joy of making music is back in my life. Will I be appearing on the Met Opera stage any time soon (if ever)? No delusions of grandeur here…then again, you never can tell!

  27. Chris June 14, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

    Dear Jon,

    5 years ago, I diagnosed to have focal dystonia, it’s writer cramp. since it is not musician’s focal dystonia, i wonder if you can give me any advice ….

  28. anghel June 15, 2014 at 5:32 am #

    im a guitar player im from southamericam so i feel my fretting hand is a little stiff or hard at moving like if it was ever learned to playde guitar though im restarting learning again since the begining to play guitar coul d you give a a hand thanx
    sorry if my english is not good

  29. Cody Cantrell June 24, 2014 at 4:26 am #

    Hey I’ve been playing guitar for 11 years. 2 years ago i began to lose my ability to do even simple scales on the guitar. It was my life. It was everything to me. I played out alot. That has all changed now. Now i play at church and sometimes a coffee shop here there to sing because I love it so. However, there is always the frustration and sadness. I have picked up the drums and sometimes i get a botox injection that does the trick in varying degrees but never have I reiecved the ability to express my self the way I used to. Please send me something soon. I’m curious to read what this is about.

    • Jon Gorrie June 24, 2014 at 8:11 am #

      Hi Cody,

      I’ve just sent you some info. All the best,


  30. Allan Slutsky June 29, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

    Hi Jon,

    Similar to other guitarists on this blog, I also have a 4th finger problem on my right hand. It uncontrollably curls up into my palm and sometimes wants to attach itself to my middle finger. I still play finger style acceptably well with just the thumb index and middle fingers, but the 4th finger problem has limited what a can do a great deal.

    I had read somewhere that the great classical pianist and composer Robert Schumann developed hand problems as a result of some mechanical device he was using to increase strength, dexterity, and balance in his hands. Some people say this was a myth, but my focal distonia problem (which was diagnosed by several hand surgeons) came after reading how some guitarists try to “equalize and balance the right hand” by playing scales during which you alternately pluck the strings with the ring finger and pinky.

    I did this for a few weeks and the problem began. I stopped the exercise but the problem didn’t go away and remains to this day. Coincidence or not, I still struggle with it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    All the best,


    • Jon Gorrie June 30, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

      Hi Allan,
      I’ve just emailed you with more info. All the best!

  31. Tony July 5, 2014 at 7:48 am #


    I developed focal dystonia in my fretting hand on the guitar. Initially the Neurologist thought it was my third finger and I have Botox injection every 3 months. I switched to paying left handed guitar, but the dystonia was still there, now in my picking hand. It was very difficult holding the pick without it moving. I went to a hand therapist who treats dystonias. He initially thought it was my ring finger and middle finger fused together the first visit. The second visit, he still was trying to figure out which finger/muscle not working correctly. He did. My thumb was fused with my middle, ring and pinky. As soon as he held my thumb so I could not move it, all 4 fingers worked fine. He called the Neurolgist and told him where to inject the Botox in my hand. I will say very painful injections, but I now can move my fingers freely. The bad news is the injection is in the palm of my thumb to isolate the thumb from the fingers and now it is hard to hold the pick and not letting it move around. My hand feels normal now. I tried going back and playing right hand guitar, but my left hand does not have the same dexterity as my right hand on the fret board and it is going to take years of practice for my left hand to move fluid like my right hand on the neck. It is like starting over if I want to play right handed. I made up my mind. I am going to play left handed and no more Botox injections because it messes with my picking which never got highly developed due to the dystonia in the left hand.
    Now I am going to work with the therapist to train my hand to pick and over come the dystonia withought Botox. I think some sort of splint that allows me to pick and separate my thumb from my middle, ring and pinky will retrain my brain. It was an eye opener when the therapist found the muscle causing the trouble. Oh and using the mirror therapy worked for me as well. Again I do not want to spend 4 years to get my left hand to move as well and fluid as my right hand. So it is still left handed guitar playing with therapy to hold the pick.


    • Jon Gorrie July 9, 2014 at 6:04 am #

      Hi Tony,
      Thanks for your account. I’ll email you some more info. All the best,

  32. Lance July 9, 2014 at 4:33 am #

    I havent seen a Neuro about FS but I’ve been having weird things happening to me lately in my playing I took time off and its gotten worse any info would be great to help me get back to playing again thank you.

    • Jon Gorrie July 9, 2014 at 6:03 am #

      Hi Lance,
      I’ll email you with some info. All the best!

  33. Chris Beattie July 11, 2014 at 12:37 am #

    Hi Jon, I am a woodwind teacher, main instrument oboe, who is recovering from Guillain Barre Syndrome. One of my symptoms was a left side facial palsy. I am nearly 5 months into recovery and can manage tenor sax now. However, my beloved oboe is impossible because air leaks all the time. My neurologist can give no guarantee that it will return. I wondered if you might have any suggestions to help

    • Jon Gorrie July 11, 2014 at 7:47 am #

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your message. I’m afraid I’m not qualified to offer advice about recovering from Guillain Barre Syndrome.

      Kind regards,


  34. matt melito July 13, 2014 at 2:51 am #

    Hi Jon,

    My name is Matt. I was diagnosed with MFD by the Mayo clinic in 2008. I am a classical guitarist with FD in my right hand. Any information would be appreciated.

    Thank you,

    • Jon Gorrie July 13, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

      Hi Matt,

      I’ve just sent you an email with more info. All the best,


  35. miguel July 13, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

    Hello Jon,

    I developed focal distony in my right hand when I played guitar, and in my left hand playing violin. I have tried botox, whithout result. Do you know another therapy
    Thank you

    • Jon Gorrie July 13, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

      Hi Miguel,

      I’ve just sent you an email with more information. Kind regards,


  36. Jordan July 14, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

    Hello Jon,

    It is refreshing to see that other musicians are experiencing the same thing. I am a drummer and experience this pain in the muscle at the base of my thumb which makes it impossible to grip and play through. Any suggestions would be great!

    Thank you,


    • Jon Gorrie July 15, 2014 at 9:42 am #

      Hi Jordan,
      Pain is not commonly associated with MFD, although it does occur in some people. I’ll send you an email with more info.
      All the best,

  37. mel orriss July 22, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    Hi Jon,
    I have recently been having severe shoulder problems (diagnosed as frozen shoulder) which also results in my left hand little finger locking when I play (I’m a flautist). It also shakes on its own and twitches. Along with this (tho im not sure which came first) my lips tremble when I play and in the low register seem to have lost the memory of how to make the sound, after playing for 5 minutes they go numb and tingly and feel collapsed. This results in almost no sound coming out. The feeling of tingling goes up through my face sometimes too when I try to play causing my eyebrow to twitch. I told my GP about the lip problems when I went in about my shoulder, but she didn’t offer any advice. I have gigs in the diary and can’t make a sound. Im hoping you can help. Thanks!

    • Jon Gorrie July 22, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

      Hi Mel,
      Thanks for your message. I’ve just emailed you a reply. All the best,

  38. Sophie August 5, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    Hi John,
    I left another comment buried deep in this thread so I hope I’m not being too annoying by asking again. For about 6 months now I’ve been noticing my 4th and 5th fingers locking and cramping when I play my clarinet. My colleagues think that I have FD, should I go get it checked?

    • Jon Gorrie August 5, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

      Hi Sofie,

      Thanks for your messages. I’ll write to you with more info straight away. All the best,


  39. Theresa August 5, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    Thanks for your FB page Jon! I am a flautist and have MFD in my left hand, fingers 4 and 5. I have had tremendous success wit Botox, but my insurance has now denied treatment and prescribed muscle relaxers instead! ( Unbelievable…) Anyway, I am always looking for help from musicians who have overcome MFD. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Jon Gorrie August 5, 2014 at 10:46 pm #

      Hi Theresa,

      I’ve just sent you some info about coaching. All the best!


  40. Paul August 6, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    Hey Jon I am a guitarist with MFD in my fretting hand. Could you give me some advice on getting my fingers back on track?

    So glad I stumbled across this page. Thanks!


    • Jon Gorrie August 6, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

      Hi Paul,

      I’ll email you right away. All the best!


  41. Nick August 12, 2014 at 3:41 am #

    Hi Jon,

    I’m a bass player and a guitarist, and I’ve just been diagnosed with focal dystonia.
    Could you please give me some advice?



    • Jon Gorrie August 12, 2014 at 11:02 am #

      Hi Nick,

      I’ve just emailed you some info. All the best,


  42. Bahar August 29, 2014 at 6:10 am #

    Hi Jon,

    I’m a clarinet player. I’ve played clarinet for several years, but lately I feel sort of a spasm around the muscles of my lips, my lips themselves, and my jar while I’m playing which makes me stop playing whatever I’m playing in that moment, and takes a little while to recover from it. It doesn’t happen regularly, but when it happens, a terrible pain occurs. Could you please give me some advice regarding this situation?

    Thanks a lot!!


    • Jon Gorrie August 29, 2014 at 8:17 am #

      Hi Bahar,

      I have sent you some more information. Regards,


  43. Lou August 31, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

    Hey Jon,

    I’m a guitarist who has been suffering from focal dystonia of the left hand for 13 years. Diagnosed at Columbia Presbyterian in NYC I have tried everything from splinting to botox and even retraining using sensory tricks. Any tips or advice would be appreciated.


    • Jon Gorrie September 1, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

      Hi Lou,

      I’ve just emailed you some info. All the best,


  44. Shaula Tualaulelei September 4, 2014 at 8:54 am #

    Aloha i am writing in regards to finding more about musician’s dystonia for my husband. He is a bass player and his right hand is affected. It is mainly the thumb, pointer and middle finger. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Look forward to connecting with you. Thank you for this opportunity to connect with others affected by MFD…. ,

    • Jon Gorrie October 9, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

      Hi Shaula,

      I sent you an email in June with more information. Feel free to get back in touch!

      Kind regards,


  45. Andrey Cruz October 7, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

    Hi, Im trombone player and for 8 years I try to get cured for my dystonia. if you have some information please write me.

    • Jon Gorrie October 9, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

      Hi Andrey,

      I have just sent you an email with further information. Hear from you soon.

      Kind regards,


  46. Eric Bolvin October 13, 2014 at 6:53 am #

    Hi Jon; Thank you for the site. How would I know if I have FD? My chops lately just seem to “fall apart” when playing, especially when holding notes.



    • Jon Gorrie October 13, 2014 at 8:11 am #

      Hi Eric,

      What you’re describing could be FD – although without a proper diagnosis from a neurologist specializing in task-specific focal dystonia in musicians, it’s difficult to say exactly. I’ll send you an email with more info.

      All the best,


  47. luke+solman October 18, 2014 at 9:35 am #

    hi jon, im a trumpet player and i think i might have FD in my fingers. right middle and ring. they cramp up when i start to play fast. would love to receive some info. thanks 😉

    • Jon Gorrie October 18, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

      Hi Luke,

      Thanks for writing. I’ll email you now. All the best,


  48. Austin November 5, 2014 at 1:40 am #

    Hi Jon

    Thanks for putting up your YouTube video – sounds great.
    I am a profession horn player that has been dealing with mild FD for 7 years. It comes and goes, but really acts up under pressure. I’d love to get your method, and get back to playing care free.


    • Jon Gorrie November 5, 2014 at 10:15 am #

      Hi Austin,

      Thanks for your comment! I’ve just sent you an email with more info. All the best!


  49. Billy November 17, 2014 at 11:27 pm #

    Sooooo happy i discovered this website! But ive been depressed because of being diagnosed recently with MFD.Im like all the guitarist on here.My index finger on the right hand curls up now.It seemed to come on after starting up fingerstyle guitar after years of not playing and suddenly starting up again and practicing a particular exercise.

    • Jon Gorrie November 19, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

      Hi Billy,

      Thanks for your comment. Try this free webinar as a starting point. Kind regards,


  50. Sal Guglielmino November 21, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

    Mr. Gorrie: I am a drummer with focal dystonia in my right leg. It began in the early 70’s when I was practicing around 5 to 8 hours a day. It ruined my career and eventually, after going to many different doctors and spending ten years trying to straighten it out, I quit for over twenty years. I went back to playing again in my 60’s and tried researching my problem. A doctor diagnosed it and I’ve been undergoing a regimen of Botox treatments every three months with limited results. I have also been playing backwards on my drums, using my left foot on the bass pedal. The problem with my right leg persists, with spasms interrupting a relaxed motion necessary to play loose and controlled. Do you have any suggestions as to what else I might try to help my problem? I can stay playing left footed, but I can’t use my hi hat as effectively as I want. Thanks for any help you might offer.
    Sal Guglielmino

    • Jon Gorrie November 21, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

      Hi Sal,

      Thanks for your message. I haven’t worked with drummers with FD in the legs so I may not be the best person to ask for advice here. Have you tried the webinar, and read the rest of the info on this website? Perhaps that can give you a starting point?

      All the best,


  51. Mehrab November 22, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    Thank you for your web site. I am a classical guitarist. I have a focal dystonia in my right thumb can not stay out of my hand. it fits within the hand. Can you help me? How long recovery will take? Can i ask you some more question?

    • Jon Gorrie November 22, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

      Hi Mehrab,

      Please study the rest of the info on this site 🙂

  52. Matt November 24, 2014 at 9:06 pm #


    Today after a 3 year search, 2 surgeries, and many tests I have finally been diagnosed with focal dystonia. I am a drummer and it all started when I was playing with a heavy stick, felt a sensation in my hand, and I haven’t been the same since. I constantly experience stiffness in my index and middle finger and my muscles are definitely co-contracting while I play as determined by a machine, ProForma Vision. Is there anything that can be done for my situation? Please let me know if you can help. Thank you!!!


    • Jon Gorrie November 26, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

      Hi Matt,

      I’ll email you more info. All the best!


  53. Mark November 25, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    Hi, been reading your site with great interest and hope. I’m a bagpipe player and for several years I have been affected with, what I now know to be, dystonia. My little finger on my left hand (top hand on chanter) curls into the palm of my hand. Subsequently it wants to take my third finger with it, resulting in inability to get that finger to co operate on the note required. I’ve tried splinting the little finger to keep it straight but it still forces itself against that. Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

    • Jon Gorrie November 26, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

      Hi Mark,

      I’ll email you more info. All the best!


  54. Wayne November 26, 2014 at 3:59 am #

    Hi, I’m a guitarist was diagnosed with focal hand dystonia (right hand middle finger) by Nancy Byl about 10 years ago. I’ve made some progress, but it’s very very slow going… And often will regress.


    • Jon Gorrie November 26, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

      Hi Wayne,

      I’ll email you more info. All the best!


      • Emerson December 3, 2014 at 3:28 am #

        I have this focal dystonia. Can you help me?

        • Jon Gorrie December 3, 2014 at 11:43 am #

          Possibly, depending on many factors! I have sent you an email. All the best,


      • Wayne January 6, 2015 at 10:41 pm #

        Hi Jon,

        For some reason I didn’t received the info sent+ can’t find it anywhere in my email box.

        Could you please send it again.


  55. Tom White December 3, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

    I play banjo. I have focal Dystonia in right hand. Looking for help.

    • Jon Gorrie December 4, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

      Hi Tom.
      Check out the free webinar on this site. Then, feel free to email me. I email you my address now. All the best,

  56. Rich Addis December 5, 2014 at 2:46 pm #


    I’m a guitarist playing 2 to 3 Rock/Pop covers gigs a week for the last 7 years.

    6 months ago I started getting what I then referred to as ‘trigger-finger’ in my left (fretting) hand forefinger. It would happen once in every 5 gigs or so. It gradually got worse until it was happening every gig and I was constantly trying to control the cramps.

    I went to my doctor recently and was diagnosed with a possible repetitive strain injury. Was referred for physio and nerve conduction tests. The nerve specialist told me it was likely to be ‘Task Specific Dystonia’ and so I went back to my doctor to ask for a referral to a neurologist which I am now awaiting.

    I am dreading every single gig I have booked and am not enjoying playing as it’s so uncomfortable.

    What was the healing process that you encountered please? I’m concerned that I will never be able to play properly again.

    Thanks, Rich.

    • Jon Gorrie December 6, 2014 at 9:11 am #

      Hi Rich,

      I’ve emailed you some info. All the best,


  57. Dan Hartnett December 8, 2014 at 8:31 pm #

    Hi Jon,

    I was playing flamenco guitar for several years when my right hand began to degrade. My ring finger spasms (collapses) when playing arpeggios and tremolos. The trigger seems to be middle finger tension which causes my ring finger to spasm. Consequently can’t play. Some improvement with slowdown exercises but plateaued. Curiously if I play the right hand sequences on the sound board above the strings, I have no problem. I can also play on the strings touching so lightly that there is no sound. Again, no problem. Introduce light sound and problem is immediate. Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks much

    • Jon Gorrie December 9, 2014 at 10:58 am #

      Hi Dan,

      I’ll send some info. All the best,


  58. Rafael Benato December 9, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    hello, i´m an electric guitar player, and was diagnosed with focal dystonia ,2 weeks ago, my pinky finger don´t obey me, and i cannot control the strenght, it uses lots of strenght without i want it, could you please help me ???? how much it cost???? thanks a lot

    • Jon Gorrie December 9, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

      Hi Rafael,

      I just emailed you some more information. All the best,


  59. Luka December 18, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

    Hi Jon,

    i recently discovered your site about focal dystonia.I am (was) a saxophonist and I am now struggling for 10 years to regain my embouchure.I would be really grateful, if you could give me some kind of advice how to practice and slowly overcome MFD.


    • Jon Gorrie December 21, 2014 at 11:22 am #

      Hi Luka,

      I have sent you more info.

  60. ori December 20, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    hi Jon,

    I wasn’t diagnosed (yet?), but in the last 2 years it feels my fingerstyle playing (im a jazz and fingerstyle guitarist) is really suffering and technique as degraged. I’ve also seen some videos of classical guitarists that was diagnosed and it looks very similar to what I experience. would appreciate the info mail.. 🙂

    • Jon Gorrie December 21, 2014 at 11:20 am #

      I recommend visiting a neurologist to get a proper diagnosis first. If you receive the diagnosis of task-specific focal dystonia, I may be able to help.

  61. Benny Goh December 21, 2014 at 6:32 am #

    After three weeks of playing trumpet in a musical, my lips don’t respond the same anymore. Is this focal dystonia?

    • Jon Gorrie December 21, 2014 at 11:19 am #

      This could be anything. See a neurologist to get a diagnosis if you suspect task-specific focal dystonia.

  62. Kev miggs December 23, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

    Hi I have just discovered your website and it has given me hope on reversing my FD IAM GUITARIST WITH FD IN MY LEFT FRETTING HAND please help!
    Thanks Kev miggs

    • Jon Gorrie December 24, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

      Hi Kev,

      I’ve emailed you some info. All the best,


  63. Craig Martin January 6, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

    Hey Jon,

    I am guitar player and have been suffering with what this on my strumming hand for years. It also has affected my chording hand but not as bad. Sometimes so much that I’ve turned down gigs because of it. A temporary fix for me for my strum hand is to use a thumb pick to get me through but does not sound the same and the music is starting to suffer and it’s heart breaking to me. PLEASE HELP ME. Thanx

    • Jon Gorrie January 6, 2015 at 10:35 pm #

      Hi Craig,

      Check out the free webinar here on this site and then get back in touch! All the best,


  64. Eugene quinn February 3, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

    Hi. Thank you for taking the time to read.
    I’ve been playing rhythmn guitar at a fast intensive pace backing irish music for 20 years. Over past year I’ve had a slow onset of wrist focal dystonia.. Only recently diagnosed by hand surgeon. All mri scans on wrist were clear.
    It freezes up and I can’t pick strings while holding a pick at all.
    I’ve adjusted trying to strum holding pick between thumb and middle finger. Very frustrating. I’m due to meet the hand therapist next week.. Any advice?

    • Jon Gorrie February 7, 2015 at 7:51 pm #

      Hi Eugene,

      Right now I am unable to accept any more coaching clients – my schedule is full for the foreseeable future. Please review all info on and feel free to contact me again at the beginning of Summer.

      Kind regards,


  65. Eugene quinn February 3, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

    I forgot to add that I’ve no problem with fingers curling at all and can pick no prob using fingers.. It’s more wrist related

  66. Fabio Cardani February 5, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

    Hi jon my name is fabio i m a Drummer from italy and i ve a focal hand dystonia in my left hand. I ve this disease since 4 years but i think that my problem is more radicated… I did a few lesson with j.fabra but i had not obvious improvments and i know that is emotional condition … Can you help me?

    • Jon Gorrie February 7, 2015 at 7:51 pm #

      Hi Fabio,

      Right now I am unable to accept any more coaching clients – my schedule is full for the foreseeable future. Please review all info on and feel free to contact me again at the beginning of Summer.

      Kind regards,


  67. K-S February 28, 2015 at 11:36 pm #

    Hi, Jon,

    I was wishfully wondering if you have found a cure for task specific focal dystonia outside music because I really don’t know who/where to seek help for my loss of backhand serve in badminton. It started when I started to take propranolol to relieve my pain in my arm caused by trapped nerves.

    When I try to serve, my racquet and shuttle get stuck like magnets, and it takes so much time and effort to separate them. When I manage to separate them, it either quickly get stick together like very strong magnets do, or they erratically finishes the action of serving, say, just like a person with Parkinson’s disease trying to take the first step and as soon as they start the first step, they now don’t know how to stop.

    I’ve stopped taking propranolol and started taking amytriptyline, but the symptom only mildened but never went away. My hands (a racquet and a shuttle) get stuck still (for a slightly shorter time) and also when I try to move my racquet forward to hit the shuttle, it takes ages again until I can move.

    It is a big problem because a serve in badminton is as delicate and critical as putting in golf, and what’s worse, there is a time limit to it. So, if I take too long in completing a serve, it could be taken as a fault, which gives me even more pressure each time.

    Badminton is my life and without a good serve, I cannot pursue my dream to compete in a higher level. I am already struggling in a local league matches, not to mention big tournaments.

    My serve used to be my best tool. I had a very high confidence before. That’s why I am really sad looking at the fact that I’ve lost it, and it’s affecting the rest of the rallies as well.

    Thought I’ll write to you with a hope that you have some information on treating this problem outside playing instruments and also because in the video, it told us to share the experience to understand more of this whole problem of focal dystonia.

    Thank you for reading.

    • Jon Gorrie July 3, 2015 at 8:52 am #

      Hi K,

      Thanks for writing. I don’t have experience in resolving FD in badminton players. However, I have helped a darts player recover from ‘dartitis’ I’ve also helped a blepharospasm sufferer recover, as well as a couple of other non-musicians with different issues. I would be happy to give you a Skype coaching session. Having said that, I could in no way offer you any guarantees as this would be new territory for me. Let me know if you’d like more info about Skype sessions, costs etc.

      All the best,


  68. Mike Endicott March 25, 2015 at 7:13 pm #

    Hi Jon, I am a trumpet/cornet player that started to have “insecure, unstable” embouchure a little over a year ago. Research indicates I have a classic case of focal dystonia. Nothing feels right, uncontrolled shakes and tremors, sometimes I can make it work, mostly unpredictable. Most difficulty seems to be longer tones, descending slurs and multi tongue, and soft entrances. The emotional effect can not be overstated. On the edge of giving up. Do recognize some value to visualization and relaxing techniques though extremely difficult to stay on task. Looking for more help!

    • Jon Gorrie July 3, 2015 at 9:00 am #

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for your message. I’ve just emailed you a reply.

  69. Dmc April 13, 2015 at 11:10 pm #

    Greetings Jon,

    I am a trumpet player and I am experiencing MFD. I think that everything started out a couple of years ago when it started to feel that I am not getting any improvements done no matter how hard I would practice. Little by little I started to change everything, the approach, my mouthpiece placement, my jaw position and all sorts of other things until I got here, not being able to start a note on the trumpet. It feels like my jaw is trembling and my air doesn’t go into the mouthpiece because I can’t make the gap between my teeth so the air could get out. Can you give me an advice what should I do for now until you will be available for Skype lessons?
    Thank you very much.

    • Jon Gorrie July 3, 2015 at 9:01 am #

      Hi Dumitru,

      I’ve just emailed you a reply. All the best,


  70. aldo April 29, 2015 at 4:48 am #

    Hello I have dystonia in my right hand I play electric guitar You Might help me

    • Jon Gorrie July 3, 2015 at 9:05 am #

      Hi Aldo,

      Please check your email 🙂

  71. Reece April 30, 2015 at 11:42 pm #

    Hi Jon.

    I am a classically trained pianist and I have, for the past 3 years, been noticing a lack of control of the middle finger on my right hand. Would this be focal dystonia? If so what can I do to help. It’s beginning to frustrate me!

    Thank you!

    • Jon Gorrie July 3, 2015 at 9:10 am #

      Hi Reece,
      Thanks for your message. Unfortunately I’m not able to give you a diagnosis. However what you describe *could* be MFD. In order to solve Musician’s Focal Dystonia, tremors, and related tension issues, we need to find efficiency in and resolve issues with body mechanics, mental direction, and emotions. In a lesson, what I do is help you to remove what I call ‘the handbrake’ – those processes that are creating the physical symptoms that are preventing
      you from playing freely. Feel free to get in touch using the contact page to request more info.

  72. darrel hisle May 16, 2015 at 1:28 am #

    dear jon, I was a bluegrass banjo picker until I was diagnosed with MFD
    about ten years ago. Broken hearted -have not played since. Botox did
    not work. Do you know of a therapy that might work? I would love to play again

    Thank You Darrel Hisle greenfield, Indiana

  73. Lucy Snell June 9, 2015 at 8:59 pm #

    Dear Jon,

    Are you doing any coaching right now?
    I’m a flute player–not sure if I have FD, or just nerves–
    My embouchure works sometimes, but sometimes freezes under pressure–worse lately.
    Not sure how to proceed.
    Lucy Snell

    • Jon Gorrie July 3, 2015 at 9:19 am #

      Hi Lucy,
      Please check your email 🙂

  74. Eric Chuu June 13, 2015 at 5:16 pm #

    Hi Jon,

    I have been stop playing my guitar since I caught this condition 6 years ago. My problem is on my left hand, which is my fretting hand, my middle, ring and little finger curl into my palm every time I fret with my index finger, can you help me out with this problem?

    Many thanks

    • Jon Gorrie July 3, 2015 at 9:21 am #

      Hi Eric,

      I’ve just sent you an email with more information. All the best,


  75. seth June 14, 2015 at 11:00 pm #

    I’m a guitarist with FD in the fretting hand, seems to manifest itself in the ring finger mostly. I have lost backward movement in this finger and it is very stiff, this has a knock on effect on to the pinky. Has anyone tried meditation? Thoughts?

  76. Connor June 16, 2015 at 8:46 am #

    Hi Jon,

    I’ve been battling dystonic symptoms for over 2 years now on trombone. I have tried everything in the book :breathing gym, altering mouthpiece pressure, examining embouchure types and motion, alexander technique, and nothing has worked. I have an uncontrollable tremor and playing is just a disaster, especially in performance situations.

    • Jon Gorrie July 3, 2015 at 9:28 am #

      Hi Connor,
      Thanks for writing. I’ve just sent you an email with more info. All the best,

  77. Bill July 6, 2015 at 2:19 am #

    I developed focal distonia in my right thumb apparently as a result of learning bluegrass banjo. Now I cannot finger pick guitar. Can you help?

    • Jon Gorrie July 14, 2015 at 10:05 am #

      Hi there,
      Thanks for getting in touch. I’ve sent you an email with some info. All the best,

  78. George July 6, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

    Hi Jon,

    Two years ago after practicing rigorously for 5 years I started to notice extreme tension in my fretting hand fingers. My index finger would just jump off the fret board and middle finger would just curl back off the fret board. The pinky finger also just tenses up when descending scale and thumb just has a mind of it’s own.

    When trying to fret with my right hand I can easily do the things I find impossible with the left hand which is highly trained. I was a very good and fast player with great technique, these days I don’t want to play anymore because I simply can’t play as I used to. I just teach these days.

    I would like to find out more on how to cure this issue and move forward in my music career.


    • Jon Gorrie July 14, 2015 at 10:05 am #

      Hi there,
      Thanks for getting in touch. I’ve sent you an email with some info. All the best,

  79. J.J.Kim July 11, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

    I saw your article well.
    I am experiencing symptoms of dystonia for 10 years.
    Can you also help me?
    Thank you.

    • Jon Gorrie July 14, 2015 at 10:05 am #

      Hi there,
      Thanks for getting in touch. I’ve sent you an email with some info. All the best,

  80. dave sisson July 12, 2015 at 5:56 am #

    jon, i am a drummer who has fought this battle for over 30 years, curling and lack of coordination in my left hand (matched grip, palms down), mostly the last three fingers. any info would be greatly appreciated. thanks, dave

    • Jon Gorrie July 14, 2015 at 10:05 am #

      Hi there,
      Thanks for getting in touch. I’ve sent you an email with some info. All the best,

  81. Robert Bliss July 28, 2015 at 2:05 am #

    I’m 70 years old, I’ve played the steel guitar since I was 8 years old, one and a half years ago I started playing the banjo and mandolin, I’m just an amature but I love it, in August my thumb and first finger on my picking hand started getting tangled up with each other and I can no longer do rolls, my thumb curles into my palm, I’m pretty frustrated, I went left handed four months ago and am doing quite well, my steel guitar is suffering bad, I would appreciate some help, it sounds like you are a good man
    Thank you very much

    • Jon Gorrie September 14, 2015 at 8:55 pm #

      Hi Robert,
      I’ve emailed you more information.

  82. Ryan Shaughnessy July 28, 2015 at 6:37 pm #

    Jon, I’m a bass player with over 20 years experience performing live. I’ve had dystonia in the ring and little finger of my fretting hand for a little over a year now leaving me unable to play. After being misdiagnosed to begin with I recently had my first botox injection but I feel its going to take more than that to hopefully get back on track. Very interested in what you offer. Thanks!

    • Jon Gorrie September 14, 2015 at 8:56 pm #

      Hi Ryan,
      I’ve sent you more info.

  83. John Shields July 28, 2015 at 11:05 pm #

    Hi, Jon — I just stumbled onto your site and was taken aback by this Dystonia thing. I was a professional musician specializing in 5-string banjo and pedal steel until I started not to be able to control my right thumb and index finger (mostly my index). I fought this for about 2 years until I was forced to quit because I just couldn’t control them any more. That was >30 years ago. I went to numerous doctors at the time but to no avail. Years later I came down with an extremely stiff neck, my entire right arm went numb, and after an MRI was told that I had Cervical Stenosis in C5 and C6. I’ve since recovered from the initial numbness, etc, but the neurologists all say, “yeah, that’s the source of your problem.” Now I see this Dystonia thing and wonder if this has been the problem all along. I’ve always been skeptical about the Stenosis diagnosis. As you can imagine, this basically ruined my life back then and, although I’ve been able to carve out another life that’s really quite good, I don’t think I’ll really ever get over that. Your thoughts………….John

    • Jon Gorrie September 14, 2015 at 8:58 pm #

      Hi John,
      I cannot comment on your cervical stenosis diagnosis, but have emailed you further information and MFD rehabilitation.

  84. Bill Martinez August 4, 2015 at 5:47 am #

    Hi Jon,

    I’m a saxophone player who was diagnosed with dystonia in my right hand a year ago (ring finger and pinky). I was given a series of “hand-strengthening” exercises that have not helped. A week ago I tried Botox injections in those two fingers; since then I’ve gone from very little control to no control at all. I’m interested in any information you can provide.


    Bill M

    • Jon Gorrie September 14, 2015 at 9:00 pm #

      Hi Bill,
      Botox doesn’t work in the vast majority of MFD cases. It astounds me that neurologists keep prescribing it! I’ve emailed you more information about rehabilitation for MFD.

  85. Diego August 11, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

    I’m suffering from focal dystonia, i didnt have a diagnostic from a specialist though. But it’s pretty obvious to me it’s FD. I feel very frustated and dont know how to do to get back up again on playing guitar to conquer it!

    • Jon Gorrie September 14, 2015 at 9:01 pm #

      Hi Diego,
      I’ve emailed you more info.

  86. steve September 10, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

    Dear Jon,

    I am a pianist and have had a problem with the index finger of my right hand for going on 15 years. When I play, it gets stiff and doesn’t coordinate properly. On scales, the index finger becomes rigid, sticks out and won’t go down properly, and the 3rd finger curls under a bit.

    What can I do?

    Thanks for your time,

    • Jon Gorrie September 14, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

      Hi Steve,

      I’ve emailed you more info.

  87. vijay kurakula September 13, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

    sir am a pianist my right hand fingers burns and are producing pain while playing.Have contacted neurologist he said its focal dystonia.Am confused about my condition if its focal dystonia then plz help me.Need your valuable suggestions.

    • Jon Gorrie September 14, 2015 at 8:52 pm #

      Hi Vijay,

      I’ve sent you an email with more info.

  88. Prasad Kadam September 19, 2015 at 3:31 pm #


    I am prasad kadam,I am tabla player since 4-5 years.Recently i am suffering from Focal dytonia. Please suggest some treatment to recover from FD. I will be really helpful for me.


  89. Andy Hedrick September 29, 2015 at 7:03 pm #

    Hello, I am a trumpet player and for the past three months I have had pain in the left side of my face. It will cramp and severely limit my endurance while playing. It has slowly gotten better as I have reworked my playing slightly, but I feel it all day, even when I am not playing. I saw a neurologist and was diagnosed with focal dystonia. They recommended Botox injections as a treatment and I am seeking another specialist in this area. I would love to hear about how you recovered from this.

    • Jon Gorrie October 6, 2015 at 9:52 am #

      Hi Andy,
      Click on the tab “My Story” for more background. Have a look through the advice on this website, and get back to me if you’d like to know more. All the best,

  90. Andrei Danaila October 5, 2015 at 11:51 pm #

    Hello Jon,

    I am a clarinet player and I am having some problems witch I still don’t know if are caused from focal dystonia but I will try to tell you what happened all my life since I started to play clarinet. Before playing clarinet around age 7 I had a accident, I broke my 2 top front teeth’s and along with it my bottom lip got hurt too, more exactly cut very bad. At the hospital they put stiches on it and it time it healed and in that place it formed a lump of flesh that is a bit hard on touch. Around 12 my parents decided me to do clarinet so that’s where I started, the thing is that I don’t remember how I was playing when I was a kid but I know how it is now. Since high school I had problems with my embouchure since I know my self … and I am one that practices a lot and although all my work it is still hard for me to have results without a lot of work. I practice everyday scales long tones and nothing seems to work, there are times when I can play and times when I cant. In some days I can find my tone and focus it and it sound very nice but there are days when I can’t play at all. I have to say I practice a lot in front of the mirror I tried everything that is to try for the clarinet embouchure there is nothing left for me to try I don’t really know what It could be. Now my question is this if my injury that I have at my lip could be the problem, and I might have my lip muscle riped then its not much I can do … but if its not that and might be focal dystonia what should I do ??? 4 years ago I got to the point that I could not do a long tone, all my muscles would twitch, almost all the time I would be very hard for me hold firm my facial muscles, now after 4 years things got better sometimes to save myself I play double lip, that’s the only way sometimes I can play. I really don’t know what else I should do. I practice everyday but it dosent seem to work. I have to say that till university I played a lot around, there were times when I played more then 6-7 hours a day. In university I started to address this problem of the sound quality but I cant find anything working. I remember the part of the lip where I have the lump its not very sensitive.

    What should I do ??

    • Jon Gorrie October 6, 2015 at 9:08 am #

      Hi Andrei,
      I’ve emailed you with some info.
      All the best,

  91. Meg Akins October 15, 2015 at 7:03 am #

    Somewhere in the mid-90s, I began losing use of my right hand. As an adult, I played piano, organ, keyboards regularly as part-time income; having played since the age of 5. Programming and data entry with a typing speed of 120 wpm; gave me a unique skill that allowed me to be very productive. It took over a year of doctor visits and tests before I found a neurologist who diagnosed the condition as focal dystonia. I tried the botox injections for over a year; but the benefits were not significant enough to put up with the agony of multiple injections in my hand, fingers every 3 months. I’ve tried wearing a glove, and sitting in different positions or turning my head in one direction or other’ all of which help some people; but none helped me. I’ve heard that rolfing has helped a few people.

    I’m not able to type “normally” with my right hand, but I’ve re-trained my right hand to type by touch using my index finger; and can type approximately 60 wpm now. I wasn’t able to play piano keyboards, even with weighted key action; but have found that with a few changes to my piano style, I am able to successfully play a grand piano. Something to do with the touch of ivory – instead of plastic keyboard keys; and the key action; is all I can come up with as to why. But it is such a wonderful feeling to be able to play again.

    I am always looking for tips and tricks on ways to help the dystonic hand function better; so any suggestion… please let me know.

  92. antonio bonvino November 4, 2015 at 7:36 pm #

    dear jon,

    i’m a guitar player and since one year i suffer of FD in the left hand. what should i do? please give me some advice


    • Jon Gorrie November 4, 2015 at 10:07 pm #

      Thanks for your message. Firstly, read through all of the material on and watch the free webinar.
      Once you’ve done that, feel free to get in touch to book a Skype coaching session.
      Kind regards,

  93. Theresa Scarlet November 22, 2015 at 9:33 am #

    Dear Jon,
    I’ve been playing flute for almost 2 years, but 5 months last my performance getting worse. My embouchure feel like “forget” how to blow n I can’t control it. What in my mind n what my embouchure do is different. How can I recovered from it? What must I do? That really frustrate me :'( . Thank you

    • Jon Gorrie November 22, 2015 at 11:10 am #

      Hi Theresa,
      I’ve sent you an email. Kind regards,

  94. pritam rai November 22, 2015 at 9:54 am #

    Hi, I am from nepal . I am a tabala player, an Indian musical instrument. From around 8 years I am having similar problem. My hand position on tabala gets uncontrolled and as long as I play hands get stiff and energyless. Doctor says musical cramp with no treatment. So can u plz help me for Its treatment. Thank you

    • Jon Gorrie November 22, 2015 at 11:11 am #

      Hi Pritam,
      I’ve send you an email with more info. Kind regards,

  95. Adrian Jones December 1, 2015 at 11:05 am #

    Dear Jon and fellow musicians! There (here) is hope!

    I am a professional violinist and violist working mainly in the area between traditional nordic folk music and the chamber music scene. I have TSMFD in my left hand with symptoms as very tense fingers, especially third and fourth, sometimes curling and being ‘out of position’..

    I have experienced problems for more than eight years, been aware of the diagnosis about four years and been taken it really seriously since July with a sick leave, regular practising and contact with my violin teacher / doctor.

    Now, I found Jon through googling Focal Dystonia and the description “moving the hand break” was just right for me, this is what it is all about for me. With this rehabilitation I can more easy get use of all the good exercises I get from my violin teacher which is also very interested and skilled n this subject. So I kind of have the two mentors around me and now I’m really improving! It’s just three weeks since I met Jon for a day of good coaching. I highly recommend his treatment knowledge. Thank You!

    • Jon Gorrie December 1, 2015 at 10:08 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback, Adrian. Really happy to hear that our session has had such positive effects! 🙂

      • Bonnie Aher January 22, 2016 at 4:54 am #

        Dear Jon and Adrian,

        I’m a violinist with similar symptoms in the third and fourth fingers of the left hand. I first experienced the symptoms about 10 years ago. It’s wonderful to hear that your rehabilitation is working. Please send me information about it.


        • Jon Gorrie February 7, 2016 at 10:04 pm #

          Hi Bonnie,
          Thanks for your email. As you know I offer rehabilitation to fellow musicians experiencing MFD. However, my schedule is full for the foreseeable future.

          I will refer you to Anna Detari, who is well versed in my approach to rehabilitation coaching. More info about Anna here.

          Kind regards,


  96. Mark Branconnier December 7, 2015 at 5:12 am #

    Hi Jon,
    I am a 45 year old professional drummer with FD in my right hand. grip strength especially in the thumb is weak..causing the thumb to over flex…in turn causing cramping in the forearm which leads to complete fatigue and loss of fluidity/control/cadence/ etctetc. Has been happening for about a year and a half now. Anxiety and stress levels through the roof! Any advice would be immeasurably appreciated!!!

    Thank You!

    • Jon Gorrie December 7, 2015 at 10:48 am #

      Hi Mark,
      I’ll email you some info. All the best,

  97. Marco September 26, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

    Hi! I have some problems with my embochure…. i have deep overbite and my embochure is strange, because right corner, when i play up, go upper than left corner. I have problems with register and endurance. Is it dystonia? I don’t know to do! It’s very difficult to play in this conditions.

    • Jon Gorrie September 26, 2016 at 9:33 pm #

      Hi Marco,
      It’s impossible to say whether you have MFD or not without seeing you play. It could simply be an embouchure development problem or poor technique. Perhaps you should try to get a diagnosis from a neurologist first.
      Kind regards,

  98. Leandro Christian September 29, 2016 at 1:42 am #

    Hello !
    I am a pianist. Two years ago I started to experience discomfort with my playing. Mainly because my middle finger curls in and ring finger points out. This problem appears only on the right hand. At that time, I could still manage to find a way by changing fingering, and still managed to do some concerts. However, I think that was more of avoiding, rather than overcoming the problems, because I can’t even play a scale evenly and clearly. Right now I am doing my masters degree. It has been six months since I started, and I am still playing the same pieces without any major improvements. I got desperate. I looked on the internet, and it seems that what I am experiencing is focal dystonia. I hope this won’t put my career to an end. Will you be able to help me with this?
    Do you think I should keep going with my lessons? Because they don’t seem to help so much, if not causing more problems. I would take a hiatus if necessary for recovery.
    I am also planning to go to Hannover (I live in Frankfurt, Germany), there is an Institute for Music Physiology and Musician’s Medicine there. I have contacted the professor and will make an appointment so he could diagnose exactly what really is happening. However, Jon, what would you and your colleagues suggest me to do?


    • Jon Gorrie September 29, 2016 at 8:02 am #

      Hi Leandro,
      Thanks for your comment. I will email you a reply now.
      Kind regards,

  99. Charlie October 6, 2016 at 10:26 am #

    Living in hope as I have just found this page. I was daignosed in 2008 with FHD in my right hand. I am (was) a classical/falmenco guitarist and lutenist. Can only play plectrum style now. Still in grief and keep trying to play finger style every now and then but no progress. Hope there is something I haven’t tried yet which will help.
    Thank you

    • Jon Gorrie October 6, 2016 at 11:07 am #

      Hi Charlie,
      Thanks for your message. I’ve sent you an email with more info.
      Kind regards,

  100. Andrej Plut October 6, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    My name is Andrej Plut, I come from Slovenia.

    I have been playing accordion for almost 20 years. Now I am almost 30 years old. For almost 2 years I have a problem with unwanted flexion of second finger on my right hand, only when I play accordion. The problem came suddenly, when I started writting a lot at work. In Slovenia doctor gave me a botulin injection once – low dose, but it did not help me at all. EMG was normal. I feel no pain. I had to quit playing in a band. I tried to “rebuild” my technique of playing by myself several times, every time without any success. Is there any way you can helpme?

    Best regards!

    • Jon Gorrie October 6, 2016 at 11:30 am #

      Hi Andrej,
      Thanks for your message. This sounds like typical MFD, and can certainly be remedied with a change of approach/retraining. I will refer you to Anna Detari (Budapest, Hungary). She can offer Skype coaching, or sessions in person in Budapest.
      Kind regards,

  101. Earle Goodno October 6, 2016 at 4:02 pm #


    I don’t know if this qualifies for FD. I am a trombonist and the last 2 years I notice that I am producing a “rattle” in my tone when playing the range of A down via 1/2 tones to F#. (Almost like a flutter tone). I am assuming this has to do with being in my senior years and the upper lip muscle has changed as if there is a loose piece of flesh causing the vibration. My main concern is if it is physiological, what type of medical specialist would I need to see (if any at all)? Thank you in advance for your response.

    • Jon Gorrie October 6, 2016 at 4:13 pm #

      Hi Earle,

      Thanks for your message. Sorry to hear about your issue. What you are experiencing could be a pre-cursor to MFD, possibly brought about by inefficiencies in your mechanical setup, and/or breathing. I suggest a coaching session to get help from a MFD specialist. Currently my schedule is full, but I will refer you to Anna Detari, who will be in touch with more information.

      Kind regards,


  102. Geoff November 30, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

    I have a trembling in my upper lips when the muscles in them are engaged. It affects my ability to play long notes (I’m a flautist) cleanly. It feels uncomfortable to make an embouchure and the little spasms I get are worrisome. Could you help?

    • Jon Gorrie November 30, 2016 at 10:48 pm #

      Hi Geoff,

      Thanks for your message. I’ll ask Anna Detari to contact you. She is a MFD flute embouchure specialist.

      Kind regards,


  103. Don Kason December 7, 2016 at 5:26 pm #

    Hi Jon
    Thank you for your web site. I am a 72 year old very active trumpet player. I teach part time in a college and am in demand in my area as a jazz, orchestral and brass ensemble musician. For the past 20 to 25 years when the winter weather hits in November my upper lip becomes stiff and I loose flexibility, range and endurance. In the spring and summertime my lip is great (I could -play all day). For years I have called my condition “Winter Lip”. I do a long warm up every day playing long tones and lip slurs in hopes that might cure it, but unfortunately it doesn’t. My playing time in the winter months fluctuates between 30 minutes to an hour. I stopped using any lip balm and I do drink a lot of water, but that hasn’t helped. I am desperate for an answer or solution. I’m in constant fear of any upcoming gigs and feel like hanging it all up when “winter Lip” hits. This condition doesn’t seem to affect any of my colleagues. Have you ever heard of a condition like the one that I am describing? Do you have any suggestions?
    Thank you (for letting me vent)

    • Jon Gorrie December 7, 2016 at 5:44 pm #

      Hi Don,
      Thanks for your email. I’m afraid I haven’t heard of the “Winter lip” condition you describe. The only thing I can suggest is making sure that you take some time to warm yourself after you’ve been outside, before warming up on the trumpet. You could also try running your mouthpiece under hot water and touching the mouthpiece to your cheeks, chin, and around your lips to warm up the face (be careful with the lip area!) Apart from that, I don’t think I’m able to offer any useful advice. Kind regards,

  104. abellardo pabayo December 25, 2016 at 5:04 pm #

    Hi Jon,
    Im a french horn beginner, just starting to play for a couple of months. Ive been experiencing trembling on my upper lips especially doing long tones. Even with my quarter notes, there seem to be a small version of my trembling for a very short period between my notes. Regarding the embouchure, i first did a 1/3 top 2/3 bot which at first trembled but after a few days or i think its more than a week, it stopped and used it for a month then i decided to do the traditional 2/3 top 1/3 bot and trembling came back. I was wondering if that has something to do with it. I haven’t experienced this before with the trumpet nor with the trombone and i use downstream air flow too. And also, the trembling is greatly reduced when i try to pinch the top of my upper lip near the nose while doing a scale but of course i cant do that with the horn all the time 😀 . I hope you can help me cuz i have decided to main on the horn, for now i still dont have the budget to invest for an instructor but im trying my best to practice daily and this trembling is keeping me to do them effectively and so frustrating.


    • Jon Gorrie December 25, 2016 at 5:16 pm #

      Hi Abs,

      To attempt to major on an instrument without a good teacher is generally not recommended. I suggest you do whatever you can to make that happen, if you want to be a horn player. Also, deciding to major on an instrument normally happens after several years of practise, not just a couple of months.

      Kind regards,


  105. Akshay January 8, 2017 at 7:28 pm #

    Hey Jon,
    I am a guitar player. I seem to have focal dystonia as per the googling i did. And its in my both hands. The ring finger curls inwards as soon as I curl my middle finger.
    Any suggestions would be great.

    • Jon Gorrie January 9, 2017 at 1:30 pm #

      Hi Ashkay,

      Thanks for your message. I’m not taking on new clients right now, but I will refer you to Anna Detari. Anna will be in touch soon.

      Kind regards, and best of luck.


  106. Mauricio January 24, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

    Hello Jon!
    Thank you for this website and all the information in it.

    After recovering from a tendonitis on my left ring finger (fretboard), I was diagnosed focal dystonia (2 weeks ago) since my ring finger keeps bending in.

    Since then, I have been doing some exercises for the development of muscular control,
    Toning Exercises and Stimulation of proprioception and noticed some improvement.

    I have an overseas trip of 1 month and was considering a “lay off” of my guitar playing and focusing on these “no instrumental” exercises, maybe just playing keyboards and basically relaxing my mind from the instrument.
    Would this be good for the recovery? Or should I bring in my guitar and practice slowly and consciously?
    Part of me considers good the occasion of a let go but 1 month is also a lot of time.

    Maybe you can share with me some insights.

    Thank you

    • Jon Gorrie January 24, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

      Hi Mauricio,
      Thanks for your message. I will refer you to Anna Detari. Anna will be in touch shortly.
      Kind regards,

  107. dan Perkins February 7, 2017 at 6:16 pm #


    I am a 56 year old bass player. I played in local bands for 20+ years. About 6 or 7 years ago I started having problems with my right hand. Specifically when playing finger style my right index finger will curl up tight.

    I started playing with my thumb instead but you simply can’t get the same speed, tone and feel from plucking with your thumb. Eventually I got so frustrated and disappointed I quit playing music.

    I need to get back to playing music, but still suffer from problems with my right index finger.

    I’ve been looking for information on overcoming FD. Any information you can provide will be greatly appreciated.



    • Jon Gorrie February 7, 2017 at 7:35 pm #

      Hi Dan,

      Thanks for your email. I will refer you to Anna Detari, who will be in touch shortly. Kind regards,

      Jon Gorrie

  108. Ella March 1, 2017 at 3:54 pm #

    Hi Jon,
    I am a flutist and recently my lips have been quivering if I play for about 30 minutes, or a hold lots of long notes. This happened suddenly only about a month ago at lessons, and now it happens to me every time I practice. I’ve been first chair for as long as I can remember, but this is throwing me off. I don’t want to fall behind others in my section because of this. Recently at a competition, half way through my solo it started. I was playing Morceau de Concours, a piece with many long sustained notes. The first half was perfect. As soon as I started the second half it happened. It sounded like I was double tonguing! It was so embarrassing and I felt
    horrible after that performance. So you think this could be FD or something else? The reason I ask is, it started so suddenly, and I changed nothing about my embouchure that day. And now it’s a horrible, annoying part of my playing.

    • Jon Gorrie March 1, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

      Hi Ella,

      Thanks for your message. I’m going to refer you to Anna Detari, who is a flutist and a specialist in flute embouchure tension and dystonias.

      Kind regards,


  109. Iuis March 2, 2017 at 3:06 am #

    Hi Jon, thanks for sharing your story!
    After 2 years with movement disorder, last year going through several exams, I was diagnosed with focal dystonia – task specific, by 2 neurologists. I play guitar and my 4th and 5th fingers of my left hand are useless now when I start playing (no matter what speed), and due to their tension my doctor suggested botulin injection. The effect is temporary (and, from what I´ve read so far, not really effective). I also took Prolopa (levodopa/benserazide hydrochloride)over a month, no improvements there. I would like to hear about yout treatment proposal.
    Best wishes!

    • Jon Gorrie March 2, 2017 at 7:59 am #

      Hi Luis,

      Thanks for your message. My schedule is full right now, but I will refer you to Anna Detari. Anna will be in touch soon.

      Kind regards,


  110. Hristina April 13, 2017 at 10:20 am #

    Hello Jon,

    I am a pianist. I have quite a similar story with most of the pianists here.
    A year ago I noticed that my second finger kind of sticks out and my middle finger starts to curl a little. By doing an online research I found that I most likely have FD.
    I feel devastated since playing piano is my career and not my hobby and I wouldn’t like to stop playing.
    Can you help me??

    • Jon Gorrie April 13, 2017 at 10:51 am #

      Hi Hristina,

      Thanks for your message. I’ll refer you to Anna Detari. Anna will be in touch shortly.

      Kind regards,


  111. David Pickles April 18, 2017 at 5:33 pm #

    Hello Jon,

    I’ve sent a FB message too as I’m at the end of my options.

    Horn player of 50 years problem free low playing, but now I don’t even feel right with the mouthpiece on my face. Can’t start cleanly, can’t slur, tongueing is tricky too, so pretty upset to be honest.

    I can still play most of the notes (including high ones, which I’ve never had before) but just can’t string them together beautifully any more.

    HELP !

    Best Wishes & Thanks for all the info on your sites.

    • Jon Gorrie April 20, 2017 at 9:20 am #

      Hi David,

      I’m not offering coaching at this time. However, I will refer you to Anna Detari. Anna will be in touch soon.

      Kind regards,


  112. Guillermo June 9, 2017 at 8:07 pm #

    Hi Jon.

    I read your post and I’m glad you could recover from Focal Dystonia.

    I’m a classical guitarrist, 30 years old, and I think I’m having FD on mi right hand. My middle finger curls to my palm when I pluck with the other two fingers. It’s been some months since I realized that, and I’m search for information and people who can help me overcome this condition.

    Any information or tips you could give my would be a lot of help. I thank to you in advance.


    • Jon Gorrie June 9, 2017 at 10:10 pm #

      Hi Gulliermo,

      I’m not offering coaching at this time, but I will refer you to Anna Detari. Anna will be in touch soon.

      Kind regards,


  113. Keith June 22, 2017 at 4:04 am #

    Hi sorry for my bad English,I m guitar player and I think I have FD on my left hand,my middle finger curls to my palm when I use with other two finger(ring finger and pinky finger)
    Can you help me to recover?thanks


    • Jon Gorrie June 22, 2017 at 7:29 am #

      Hi Keith,

      Anna Detari will be in touch soon. Kind regards,


  114. John July 3, 2017 at 8:36 pm #

    Hi there,

    I play the tuba. For the past three month, the area around my mouth have been trembling, thus producing a wavering sound when I try to sustain a note and I also find it very difficult to play the tuba ever since as it is challenging for me to even play a note now . I feel like I lost the ability to play completely and it’s very frustrating. I suspect I’m suffering from focal dystonia and how can I recover from this?

    • Jon Gorrie July 3, 2017 at 8:53 pm #

      Hi John,
      Anna Detari will be in touch soon. Kind regards,

  115. Mehmet July 8, 2017 at 9:15 pm #

    Hi Jon,
    Your site is really great and good to hear that you overcome your FD. I’m struggling with FD for 2 years. I’m a professional violinist and playing in a symphony orchestra. My 3third and 4th fingers are curling towords my palm when I play besides I can’t control my fingers and and up applying too much pressure to the string. I tried forcing my fingers to get the right position and tried the opposite, I mean leting the fingers free. But nothing. I have not accepted my condition for a long time but now I’m starting to understand and accept this. I don’t really want to give up my instrument. It would be great to hear from you about something useful information. Thank you in advance.

    • Jon Gorrie July 8, 2017 at 9:17 pm #

      Hi Mehmet,
      Thanks for your comment. Anna Detari will be in touch soon. Kind regards,

  116. Pritam Rai August 4, 2017 at 9:36 am #

    I am a tabala player. i have musician’s dystonia from 8 years. Can you please tell me how can i be cured from it??

    • Jon Gorrie August 4, 2017 at 9:39 am #

      Hi there,
      Anna Detari will be in touch shortly with information on booking a coaching session. Kind regards, Jon

  117. Art August 4, 2017 at 9:41 pm #

    I am a flutist who would like to know how to go about finding the right physical set-up for playing the flute. I have experienced with extensions but they now cause me to uncontrollably grip my flute. I can finger scales on a broom but can’t translate the right set-up to the flute. I noticed that you sent some information via e-mail to help people get started. I had found control until I played 2nd flute for a Church function-very simple music but my pinky finger decided to start curling under the a-flat key and 2,3, 4 finger of the left hand started gripping flute very hard. I was not intimidated by anything in the environment. It became worse the more I tried to control my finger situation. I am not playing right now to allow my muscles to relax(this happened recently). I can’t even hold my flute up in playing position with fingers down without some sort of twitching going on in the left hand. Major setback. Thank you for your time and thoughts!

    • Jon Gorrie August 5, 2017 at 9:31 am #

      Anna Detari will be in touch soon. Kind regards,

  118. Wayne Britton September 12, 2017 at 7:25 am #

    I am a trumpet player who just got focal dystonia.
    Wayne Britton

    • Jon Gorrie September 27, 2017 at 8:09 am #

      Anna will be in touch soon.

  119. Beny September 13, 2017 at 8:57 pm #

    My name is Beny and I am a professional trumpet player. My problems started very slow. At first a bad gig, bad endurance, high notes were not there than after a year I had to stop playing. It was time to solve problems with practising. From bad to the bottom I lost filing how to even make an embouchure. I started to play valve trombone an i was good for two years. Again lost the ability to play. So I stop playing and started practising the trumpet again on a new setup. I had sucses but from some reson my right side of embrouchure started to shake so much that i cant play normal…i would be very thenkful for some help. B.

    • Jon Gorrie September 13, 2017 at 9:01 pm #

      Please contact:

  120. Lucas September 13, 2017 at 11:59 pm #

    Hi Jon,
    I used to be a professional principal horn and then for many years played extensively in an amateur/semi pro capacity. I’d taken the summer off but got asked to play the Schumann Concertstuck 1st horn at short notice (the original section having bottled it). I got through it OK but I think that’s when the trouble started. It crept up on me very slowly and got worse – an inability to start the note exactly when I wanted to. I’d always had a very clean attack but had experimented with getting a warmer sound, I don’t think that helped! I got away with it for a while, using breath attacks, I practised a lot with a metronome for coming in on the beat but it got worse and worse and after one embarrassing concert, getting on for 10 years ago I stopped playing altogether. Reading he material on the web it looks like I have classic focal embouchure dystonia. I had thought I’d never play again but I miss it terribly. I’d be very grateful if you could suggest how I could learn to play again. Best wishes, Lucas

    • Jon Gorrie September 14, 2017 at 10:41 am #

      Please contact:

  121. miriam kaul September 26, 2017 at 10:38 pm #

    I am a saxophonist. I developed a tremor in my lower lip about six years ago. Since then I have not been able to play on the niveau as formerly. I used to do tours. recorded on CDs. recorded my own CD. Now no one calls me because they are correctly afraid I will lose control in a concert. I have tremendous depression as a result of this, plus financially, without work, I don´t know what to do. If I had some practice technique with results, I would be grateful. Thank you . Miriam

    • Jon Gorrie September 27, 2017 at 8:08 am #

      Anna will be in touch soon.

  122. Michael February 8, 2018 at 8:29 am #

    Hi.. I have FD since 1998. Im a trombone player and experiencing tremors and poor intonation from my embouchure. With this condition, i lost my confidence and develop anxiety in playing because im not sure if i can hit the note im playing because i do not trust my chops anymore. Please help.

    • Jon Gorrie June 3, 2018 at 11:18 pm #

      Hi Michael,
      I currently do not offer coaching due to other priorities and a full schedule. However, contact one of the other practitioners on this site directly to get started with your recovery. Best wishes.

  123. Dustin C. February 12, 2018 at 8:16 pm #

    Hello. My name is Dustin, and I am a 22 year old trumpet player finishing my senior year as a music major.

    At the end of September 2016, I developed a cyst on the right side of my lower lip after accidentally biting my lip. To be more specific, the cyst was a mucocele, but I did not know it at the time. I thought it was just a normal bump that would go away on its own, so I ignored it. By November, the bump had grown to the size of a bead, and was wreaking havoc on my trumpet playing. That is when I finally decided to get it looked at, and was told that it would have to be removed via a lip biopsy. Since I was halfway through the semester, I was playing every day, and concert season was quickly approaching, so I decided to wait until the semester ended in December to get it removed. By the time I was able to get it removed, I was barely able to make a sound out of my trumpet.

    The biopsy went well, and I had a few stitches. After 2 weeks of recovery time, I started playing again in anticipation of the spring semester. Eventually, my playing seemed like it was back to normal, but that only lasted for a short period of time. Even though the cyst is gone, sometimes it seems as though my trumpet playing has never fully recovered. I’ll occasionally have a week or two where my playing is phenomenal, but then it’ll go down hill extremely fast.

    I think right now, my main issue is that my embouchure has no true aperture, and that the air stream is coming out wherever it wants. I took a few days off, and now I’m trying to tackle that. However, I also feel a lot of strain in my facial muscles while I play. It almost seems like I’ve forgotten how to play, and nothing I do helps. Practicing fundamentals such as long tones, lips slurs, and even lip bends seem to do nothing but cause more strain. Taking a day or two off just pushes me farther down hill. I also feel like I’m constantly pushing while I play, though I never know why. I’ve been struggling with these things for several months, and I’m not quite sure what else I can do. Someone in the world of musician’s health has told me to seek a consultation with a neurologist to find out of I have dystonia.

    • Jon Gorrie June 3, 2018 at 11:20 pm #

      Hi Dustin,
      Sorry to hear that. I currently do not offer coaching due to other priorities and a full schedule. However, contact one of the other practitioners on this site directly to get started with your recovery. Best wishes.

  124. Bill Hume February 17, 2018 at 1:57 pm #

    Hi, all. I am looking for comments on the following, esp from anyone with similar dystonic behavior.

    I am a classical guitarist.

    Reading Dr. Farias materials, I’ve made notable progress based on my latest theory that the abductor muscle of my right index finger is hypertonic. I think that the inefficient position of my right hand over the strings has necessitated this abduction just before plucking with index finger.

    At rest my middle finger is about 1/3 flexed at metacarpal phalangeal joint, with the others slightly extended, and all slightly abducted, especially the pinky finger. I thought for a while that the dystonic muscle was those flexing my middle finger as it won’t relax, fighting agains the antagonistic muscles thus preventing extension of middle finger in all circumstances. I cannot perform a majority of normal movements of the fingers, thumb seems ok.

    • Jon Gorrie June 3, 2018 at 11:20 pm #

      Hi Bill,
      I suggest visiting the Facebook group “Musicians with focal dystonia” and asking for comments there. Kind regards.

  125. Carmen March 4, 2018 at 4:25 pm #

    I am a pianist. I ‘ve got FD for three years. My left hand fourth and little fingers curl to the palm invounturity when I play the piano and typing. Would you please suggest me some methods to solve this problem. Thanks!

    • Jon Gorrie June 3, 2018 at 11:21 pm #

      Hi Carmen,
      I currently do not offer coaching due to other priorities and a full schedule. However, contact one of the other practitioners on this site directly to get started with your recovery. Best wishes.

  126. Ali March 14, 2018 at 5:05 am #

    Dear Gorrie
    I’m a player of local instrument called setar in Iran . I played about 20 years. But 12 years ago I involved MFD (of course I find the name of my disease recently) even I had a surgery on my right hand from my elbow along the wrist but it didn’t work. Could you help me ?

    • Jon Gorrie June 3, 2018 at 11:21 pm #

      Hi Ali,
      I currently do not offer coaching due to other priorities and a full schedule. However, contact one of the other practitioners on this site directly to get started with your recovery. Best wishes.

  127. Ira March 22, 2018 at 10:17 pm #

    Hi Jon,

    I saw your comment on youtube video and was excited to find your site.

    I am a flutist and nowadays I see more and more people suffering from the FD… My teacher had a FD in his embouchure and he never managed to recover.

    Some time ago I have noticed that my high register isn’t working as well as before (and sometimes the low is kind of tricky too), somehow my embouchure is feeling tense and sometimes a part of the right cheek feels weird, kind of frozen..
    I talked to my physiotherapist (he is working with musicians too) but he didn’t think it was anything bad. I am still wondering whether it can be some FD symptoms or what can it be… Could you please describe a bit more how did it started for you and how were you working on it to make it better? How long did it take you to recover?
    I would appreciate your help very much!

    Best wishes,

    • Jon Gorrie June 3, 2018 at 11:22 pm #

      Hi Ira,
      Try getting in direct contact with Anna Detari. She may be able to help. Best wishes.

  128. Suzanne Galal September 25, 2018 at 6:46 pm #

    I came across your website as I am trying to help my husband with his focal dystonia. He is a professional musician (drummer) and he has been struggling with FD for 2 years. He is getting depressed and defeated as he may be faced with the decision to take time off despite being in a rising band.

    Is there any thing you can recommend or do you have any experience with hypnosis helping with focal dystonia?

    Any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you for your time,


  129. Michelle Koo Yin Yee October 16, 2018 at 12:04 pm #

    Hi, playing clarinet is my music career. For the past few months, I suffer with embouchure dystonia which my left side of face, jaw and mouth can’t form a proper clarinet embouchure and lead to air leaking. As I can’t form a proper clarinet embouchure, it leads to tense up my left side neck and affect my vocal core.

    Is there any recommendation and ways to recover embouchure dystonia?

    Much appreciated for your help!


    • Anna Détári October 16, 2018 at 9:38 pm #

      Hi Michelle,
      thank you for your comment. What you describe sounds familiar: it’s not an unusual problem with embouchure dystonia, but it is possible to overcome it. You’ll find many tips on this website, but I also sent you an e-mail with the details of the personal coaching. Regards, Anna

  130. Arwen Terlou November 24, 2018 at 10:29 am #

    Hi Jon and Anna,

    First of all: thank you so much for having this website.
    And second: I have a form of FD since May. It isn’nt exactly Musicians Focal Dystonia, I am grateful for that. However this is bothering me a lot and however I am a musician (violinist). I would be happy if you could send me some information about coaching. Thanks in advance.

    Regards, Arwen

  131. Colin February 16, 2019 at 8:00 am #

    Hi Jon,
    I am very glad to see your article on the Internet, which makes me feel hopeful. I am 26 years old, a violinist from China. I have suffered from focal dystonia for four years. My fingers on my left hand would curl uncontrollably and become very stiff when I play. Thank you very much!Tell me something helpful please.

  132. Colin Ouyang February 16, 2019 at 8:06 am #

    Hi Jon,
    I am very glad to see your article on the Internet, which makes me feel hopeful. I am 26 years old, a violinist from China. I have suffered from focal dystonia for four years. My fingers on my left hand would curl uncontrollably and become very stiff when I play. Please tell me something helpful,Thank you very much!

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