In order to further understand Focal Dystonia I have scoured the web. There is some carefully written literature on the subject as well as practitioners that offer help with the syndrome. To assist my own understanding I have selected the most relevant of the resources on the and provided a summary of the work as well as a link.
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Jason provides a description of the onset of symptoms set against the background of his career at the time: just starting a Doctoral Degree in Classical Guitar Performance. He goes on to describe retraining techniques and finally provides thirteen suggestions for practising and playing guitar in an ergonomic fashion. Excellent and highly recommended.
Classical Guitar and Playing-Related Musculoskeletal Problems. (PDF) David Johnson (Lunds Universitat 1999
David gives a history of classical guitar playing position and a review of the literature related t0 Playing-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (PRMD). One article reviewed : “Flamenco Guitar as a Risk Factor for Overuse Syndrome” (Marques, 2003) is of particular relevance to this blog.
Starting with a mention of one of the earliest recorded cases of focal dystonia: Robert Schumman (though the syndrome was not “medicalised” until only very recently, Jaume Rosset i Llobet describes the symptoms and the history of treatments. The articles ends with a brief description of the successful results that investigators has experienced at the Universidad de Konstanz (Alemania) and the Instituto de Fisiología y Medicina del Arte-Terrassa. This intervention consists of limiting the movement of one or more fingers while continuing to work with the instrument.
There is a lot more research available on the net and I feel that I have read most of it. However, after my visit to Dr. Joaquin Farias in Sevilla, my previous dependence on the research has now been replaced with an eagerness to put into practice the priceless lessons I learned from him. In short, I learned more about playing music in eight hours with Joaquin Farias than I have in some thirty years of playing guitar.