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#2246005 - 03/13/14 03:23 PM fingers going numb when tuning uprights
Mark Davis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/08
Posts: 658
My fingers are going numb in the hand that i hold the tuning lever in, and when i am tuning uprights, not grands. It also happens when i am driving and only in the hand that i use to hold the tuning lever in.

Do any of you pros know why this is happening and what the cure is for this problem?

Thank you
_________________________
Mark Davis
Piano Tuner & Technician

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#2246006 - 03/13/14 03:24 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Chris Leslie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 597
Loc: Canberra, ACT, Australia
Do you sit or stand?
_________________________
Chris Leslie
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au

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#2246012 - 03/13/14 03:33 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1173
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Do you use primarily a slow pull, or impact technique? When I have to use impact on a difficult piano, I get wrist pains.

My suggestion is to definitely get a doctor's opinion.

All the best,
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2246014 - 03/13/14 03:34 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Mark Davis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/08
Posts: 658
stand at some and sit at others, all depending on the height of the piano, and it happens when i sit or stand.
_________________________
Mark Davis
Piano Tuner & Technician

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#2246016 - 03/13/14 03:40 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Mark Davis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/08
Posts: 658
i use both techniques Mark, all depending on the piano.
_________________________
Mark Davis
Piano Tuner & Technician

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#2246056 - 03/13/14 04:51 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Johnkie Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 706
Loc: England
Sounds like a problem with blood circulation Mark ..... I second the advice to consult your doctor.
_________________________
Concert Tuner & Technician for the past 49 years in the United Kingdom
and Member of the Pianoforte Tuners' Association (London)
www.jphillipspianoservices.freeindex.co.uk : E-mail jophillips06@aol.com

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#2246061 - 03/13/14 05:02 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8478
Loc: Georgia, USA
Are all your fingers going numb or just some? Sounds like inflammation surrounding the nerves in your wrist or elbow.

I second the suggestion about seeing a medical Dr. Chances are, it might get better if you could take it easy using that hand and take some anti-inflammatory meds for a while.

I'm currently doing intense physical therapy for a shoulder injury. It's getting better, but that ungodly snap, crackle and pop when I move my arm a certain way is annoying to no end...

Hope you get better soon.

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#2246073 - 03/13/14 05:36 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2360
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Poor circulation, possible old nerve damage, even onset of diabetes can be associated with this...best to get a doctor to look at it. I used to use the palm of my hand on the back of a chisel for many years and now get an occasional numb feeling when I work with it, something similar to the OP's issue. I learned years later that there is a huge network of nerves in the center of your hand and its real easy to abuse and damage them.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#2246077 - 03/13/14 05:48 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
accordeur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1190
Loc: Québec, Canada
I used to have that kind of numbness as well. It went away when I started using my Fujan with the ball handle. I found that the straight lever was putting too much pressure on my palm. Especially with uprights.


Edited by accordeur (03/13/14 05:49 PM)
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#2246101 - 03/13/14 06:40 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Terry Benge Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 120
Loc: Southeastern Ky
I am a tuner and have been 40 years. I developed elbow problems and had to have surgery. The doc said it was like severe tennis elbow but it was from tuning as I have never played tennis. My ring finger and little finger tingled and became numb and I lost grip and strength in the lower arm as well. I had the surgery in 1995 and it corrected all the problems mentioned, however it took almost a year to straighten the arm completely and get full strength back. All is well now and I am 58.
_________________________
PTG Associate
Steinway Studio
Yamaha CP300

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#2246128 - 03/13/14 07:25 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Zeno Wood Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/07
Posts: 443
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
I had that problem and it went away when I started using a Faulk lever, which has a large ball end similar to the Fujan. I also sometimes use an Ace wrist wrap (http://www.acebrand.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/AceBrand/Home/Products/Product-Catalog/~/Wrist-Support?N=4304+3294605891+3294529207&rt=rud) (It's soft, there's no metal insert). I've also had good results with a golf or batting glove.
_________________________
Zeno Wood, Piano Technician
Brooklyn College

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#2246137 - 03/13/14 07:35 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
accordeur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1190
Loc: Québec, Canada
You would have to ask here or google. But I think I read on this forum that someones makes a ball end that you can add to a regular lever. Or you can make one yourself.
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#2246140 - 03/13/14 07:41 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

Yep,

I played open tennis (NTRP 5.0) and tuned pianos. My right arm is a mess. Fingers go to sleep all the time, the wrist has mobility problems and the muscle along the bottom of the palm where the wrist begins has inflammatory problems at times.

I have had tennis elbow syndrome every day since 1979.

Most of the damage is from overuse or from overbuilding the muscle groups which pinch the nerves.

Not a lot of meat in the arm joints for the axons to travel. I haven’t been able to play tennis and tune pianos on the same day for more than a decade.

Once it is chronic like this you learn to live with it. Strengthening exercises, physiotherapy, especially hydrotherapy are worth looking into.
By following a regimen religiously over time I still have all the original parts, no replacements yet.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#2246161 - 03/13/14 08:24 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Zeno Wood]
David Jenson Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2077
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: Zeno Wood
I had that problem and it went away when I started using a Faulk lever, which has a large ball end similar to the Fujan. I also sometimes use an Ace wrist wrap (http://www.acebrand.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/AceBrand/Home/Products/Product-Catalog/~/Wrist-Support?N=4304+3294605891+3294529207&rt=rud) (It's soft, there's no metal insert). I've also had good results with a golf or batting glove.


This may have no application to Mark's problem at all, but that large end on the Faulk (Fujan too) Really helps with hand fatigue. That coupled with less movement and quicker tuning times is making a difference.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#2246174 - 03/13/14 08:55 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: accordeur]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: accordeur
You would have to ask here or google. But I think I read on this forum that someones makes a ball end that you can add to a regular lever. Or you can make one yourself.

Ball for tuning hammer
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2246183 - 03/13/14 09:01 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21420
Loc: Oakland
The end makes no difference to me, because I never hold the lever by the end.

In any case, I am not a doctor. Others in my family are.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2246222 - 03/13/14 09:54 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Jon Page Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/09
Posts: 258
Loc: Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massac...
If a ball-ended hammer does not alleviate the symptoms, seek medical help; especially if you wake up with tingling in your hand. It could be the Median Nerve being pinched by the cartilage in your wrist (Carpal Tunnel). I had my right hand relieved of this in '10 and last month on then left. Tingling in your little finger and adjacent side of the fourth finger suggests Ulnar Nerve (Funny Bone) constriction in your elbow. At least this is what I have gleaned in the past few years. If severe enough, your doctor can refer you to a neurologist for a nerve conductive test EMG.
_________________________
Regards,

Jon Page
Piano technician/tuner
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
http://www.pianocapecod.com

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#2246299 - 03/14/14 01:19 AM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 852
Loc: San Francisco
The numbness in my right hand when tuning uprights was diagnosed as relating to neck and vertebrae issues...a chiropractor made adjustments and things loosened up...but I made a business decision to refuse upright gigs and I now only work on grand pianos...took a while to build things back up, but I am glad I made that decision.
I realize this course of action is not available to everyone having this issue, but I would urge anyone having numbness or tingling to seek alternative therapies...chiropractic or acupuncture...
Good luck...I hope you recover soon.
_________________________
Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician



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#2246325 - 03/14/14 03:16 AM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Mark R. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1966
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Mark, if I may ask: are you resting your arm on the piano while tuning? Which part of the arm, which part of the piano?
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#2246332 - 03/14/14 03:56 AM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Mark Davis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/08
Posts: 658
I had a bad accident in 1994 and since then i have always had neck and back issues, so this may have something to do with that. It comes and goes.

Mark C, i thought about what i said to you earlier, that i use the slow pull and impact methods. I actually should have said the slow pull and nudge/jerk instead of the impact method.

Mark. R, i do not usually rest my arm on the piano when tuning. Regards.

Once again, thanks to all for your responses.
_________________________
Mark Davis
Piano Tuner & Technician

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#2246760 - 03/14/14 10:16 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
DavidWB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/03/05
Posts: 60
Loc: Grand Junction CO
Another option, which I would encourage you to consider, is try massage therapy—emphasis on therapy. I periodically go to a highly skilled therapist who has worked on athletes at two Olympics. It is not a massage for pleasure but I find it very beneficial. If trigger points are causing problems, the source of the problem is often not where we feel it—it is in one area but we feel it in another. This is called referred pain. I also have various massage tools that I use at home. From the massage visits I have learned where to work, and I often get relief.

Clair Davies was a successful piano technician who suffered from a "frozen shoulder." He found a massage therapist who was able to relieve it. Later, he again had a frozen should but the therapist who has previously saved him was no longer available. Other therapists he tried could not resolve the problem, so he began a journey of seeking the knowledge he needed to fix himself. He learned what he needed to know, remedied the problem, and subsequently became a massage therapist! He wrote a series of articles in the Piano Technicians Journal some years ago on trigger point issues that often affect piano technicians. He wrote two books: The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook and The Frozen Shoulder Workbook. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook is now in its 3rd edition. Lots of high praise for it on Amazon, where the Kindle version is less than $10 USD.

Here is his obituary:

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/louisville/obituary.aspx?n=Clair-Davies&pid=20463547

I realize massage might or might not be a help for you, but I believe for many of us in this business, it could spare us from suffering that could adversely impact our careers, not to mention our wellbeing.

Good luck!

David Bauguess, RPT


Edited by DavidWB (03/14/14 10:25 PM)

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#2246908 - 03/15/14 09:59 AM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
Mark, the only thing I can add to what has already been said, is: don't wait to get a diagnosis and start treatment. These things do not get better by themselves, and the worse it gets, the harder it is to treat, and the longer it takes. Especially so, when your livelihood is on the line.

Best wishes for your good health and recovery.
_________________________
Clef


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#2246957 - 03/15/14 11:39 AM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
bellspiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/04
Posts: 500
Loc: Boston, MA
I agree with Jeff. My license in the medical field doesn't allow me to diagnose, especially remotely; but when I had a similar experience myself with numbness I ended up having to give up playing my primary instrument because I continued to repeat the injuring action and did not seek help. Go see an MD, and you may end up with a referral to a physical therapist or occupational therapist as well. Take the referrals. This is important.
_________________________
Dorrie Bell
retired piano technician
Boston, MA

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#2247057 - 03/15/14 03:14 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Gene Nelson Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 1471
Loc: Old Hangtown California
I needed PT for similar reasons.
The therapist told me to stand up as I naturally do and he put his hand between my shoulder blades - the distance between the blades was at least the spread of the palm of his hand. He said for good posture the spread should be two fingers.
When the spread is wide the shoulders roll forward and when this happens you tend to use smaller muscles like the rotator cuff when you extend your arms - this is not a good situation.
PT exercises and difficult work on posture all but eliminated the pain and numbness.
_________________________
RPT
PTG Member

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#2247091 - 03/15/14 04:42 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1979
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I tune with a ball end hammer and it definitely feels more comfortable.

I do think the emphasis on tuning as fast as possible overloads the arm/neck/back. I seldom take less than two hours to do a full tuning and that keeps me from developing outright pain. I need to take 2-3 minute position rests and stretches to keep flexible about every 10 minutes.

We need to get paid more for tuning so we can do it at a pace that doesn't disable us.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2247095 - 03/15/14 04:46 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1979
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Oh for me, warming up my arm by throwing a baseball works to relieve soreness. I start slow and build up the speed as my arm warms up. 10 minutes max throwing and my arm will feel better for days. Tennis does not do this the shock of slamming the ball hurts my elbow.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2247378 - 03/16/14 10:08 AM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1173
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I try to switch hands, tuning between left and right. It seems to change things up.

When I'm feeling some strain in the area of the neck/shoulder/wrist/hand system, changing hands seems to improve it.
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2247903 - 03/17/14 01:30 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Tuneless Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/13
Posts: 163
Loc: AZ, USA
Since this thread is, to at least some degree, about health issues, in addition to doing all the things that everyone else is suggesting, I would suggest you also start looking in to this, http://mpkb.org/ . A good part of old age and wear and tear isn't what people think it is.
_________________________
Cynthia

Roland FP-50
Conover Upright, 1888/9, but a very low mileage piano. http://www.pbase.com/schnitz/conover_upright_piano__1888_or_9 .
Tuneless = Don't play piano(yet) and couldn't tune a guitar, much less a piano.
I'm technically very capable. I love my piano and love tinkering with it.

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#2247979 - 03/17/14 04:03 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
It all has to do with the spine. Check out the
Alexander Technique
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2247983 - 03/17/14 04:17 PM Re: fingers going numb when tuning uprights [Re: Mark Davis]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7452
Loc: France
Chiropractor : every 6 months. Even if they cannot really cure some troubles, they re install a good natural posture in the whole body, the effects last for some time, and the body learns those sensations, so there are probably long term effects.

I have always been told by them that using both hands in any repetitive work will fight efficiently injuries.

At last to tune verticals I will try to put that in effect.
Also for "French polishing" both hands, all professional polishers train to use both. (for filing, sanding, etc...)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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