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Jon, I’ve stopped playing while attending university. I have great difficulty writing with a pen, and even with typing I feel a lot of weariness in my wrist and forearm particularly (it’s my right index finger that’s been the problem when playing classical guitar). Because I effectively haven’t played for a couple of years and I’m having ongoing issues with writing, I’m inclined to think it’s not simply an emotional/fear issue. What do you think?
It sounds like you have a case of TSFD that has moved into other elements of your life – in other words, it is still task–specific, but the tasks are not only limited to playing your instrument.
The tiredness in the muscles comes from muscles working against each other. A simple example: If your bicep and tricep are activated at the same time, your arm goes nowhere but you:
a) burn a lot of energy
b) feel muscle fatigue in both muscles
c) start to experience shakes/spasms if you continue for several minutes (TSFD symptoms)
d) experience frustration if you do this every day
e) if your self–worth/image/identity is linked to how well you move your arm, lets say, in front of an audience, and especially if your livelihood depends on it, you feel fear, because “What happens if I can’t get through my next performance”. Eventually, you give up moving your arm, and do something else for a living.
… Task Specific Focal Dystonia in a nutshell
Something that we need to understand about musicians FD is that whether your hand is cramping, or whether your embouchure is uncontrollable, these outward symptoms of FD are simply an indicator of a deeper laying problem. Treating the symptom (i.e. botox etc) will never solve the issue fully, as its source is somewhere else. Something I discovered through my own journey of, and recovery from FD.