Embouchure Distonia: experience?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Chris Lee, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. Chris Lee

    Chris Lee Guest

    A friend and very experienced trombone/bass player has developed a distressing difficulty in holding long notes. He puts this down to embouchure distonia (described on the Web as: neurologically-based movement disorder characterized by abnormal random or sustained involuntary muscle contractions, initiated during playing, that cause embouchure dysfunction).

    Anybody have any real-life experience of overcoming this, or of failing to overcome it? It seems especially prevalent among trombonists, apparently due to the pressure on the neck muscles.

    Thanks, Chris
    Eflat bass, newbieish
     
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  3. pbirch

    pbirch Member

    http://www.dystonia-foundation.org/pages/embouchure_dystonia/58.php
    here is some more information
     
  4. Chris Lee

    Chris Lee Guest

    Thanks for this. There seems to be quite a lot of information out there - most of it a bit depressing. I wondered if anybody in the forums had any experience of the problem, and did it get resolved or all end in tears.

    Very Best, Chris
     
  5. johnsop

    johnsop Member

    Jon Gorrie, is a trumpet player who has had Focal Dystonia (the condition you are referring to, although the term Embouchure Dystonia obviously refers to the specific problem area) and seems to have overcome it. He has a website (www.brassmusician.com) and has written an article on there about his condition and his recovery http://brassmusician.com/focal-dystonia-cured-trumpet-embouchure-back-on-track/

    I believe Andy Berryman had some form of Focal Dystonia a few years ago before he left the Halle, not sure how much he overcame it, or how bad it was, but he was still playing with them after he said he'd had issues with it (this is what he said at a Masterclass he did for us at Salford University c.2005). Maybe someone knows more about his experience.

    Hope this helps,
    John
     
  6. Chris Lee

    Chris Lee Guest

    Thx for this John. I'll follow these up. Be interested to hear from anybody else who knows anything about it.

    Very Best, Chris
     
  7. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  8. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  9. pbirch

    pbirch Member

    I just noticed in your first post that …"he puts it down to embouchure dystonia…" Before he listens to any further anecdotal stuff here, it is most important that he sees his GP and gets himself a referral to a neurologist to get a proper diagnosis and treatment options.
     
  10. Chris Lee

    Chris Lee Guest

    Thx John and Brassneck. This is the first positive news I've read about it and I will certainly pass on the contacts to follow up John Gorrie's experience. Interestingly there are a number of references to this being an emotional more than a physiological problem, and I guess as a result it just gets worse the more you fret about it. It is nevertheless a real problem with real impact and I appreciate your responses.
    Thx PBirch for sound advice. It can indeed be a symptom of a deeper rooted problem. I'll pass your advice on (not sure if he'll take it though - but I'll try!)
    Be delighted to hear from anybody else with experience of this kind of problem.

    Very Best, Chris
     
  11. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Hi again, Chris ... for more background on this subject area, I found this long-winded dissertation! (reads like an under-grad. project!). Covers most areas of concern of this dysfunctional condition!

    http://libres.uncg.edu/ir/uncg/f/umi-uncg-1548.pdf
     
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  13. Chris Lee

    Chris Lee Guest

    Hi Brassneck. Thx for this. From a first scan through it is about as good as it gets in terms of information. I really appreciate you taking time to follow this up. As you can imagine its a very distressing situation. I deeply apprecaite your help.

    Very Best, Chris
     
  14. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Active Member

    I would recommend contacting Denis Wick - he has a number of contacts who have been involved in dealing with focal dystonia and during his time as President of the ITA he was very much involved in discovering some of the worldwide research that has been happening.
    If you can't find his contact details, please PM me.

    Good luck to your friend - there are a number of positive recovery stories out there
     
  15. cshimmon

    cshimmon Member

    After reading this, I'm now wondering if dystonia is the problem I'm having with my arm? Hmm.
     
  16. Chris Lee

    Chris Lee Guest

    Hi cshimmon. I hope you jest, but in case not:
    dystonia is a neurological condition affecting muscle movement (twitching, twisting, locking up etc.) in any muscle group. It is also symptomatic of a number of other potentially more threatening illnesses. So yes, it is possible and it would probably be safest to get a medical verdict.

    Very Best, Chris
     
  17. cshimmon

    cshimmon Member

    I'm afraid I'm not joking :-( I have a very bad problem with my hand going into spasm and some other nerve issues- altered sensation etc. I'm under a neurologist and waiting for some test results- brain scan and electro-conductive nerve tests, just waiting for my next clinic appointment to see what he says. From the info I read on the Dystonia site, that certainly explains my main symptom- which gives me hope that it's treatable, but ad to the underlying cause? Who knows!
     
  18. cshimmon

    cshimmon Member

    Meant to add, I also have a very annoying twitch on my eyelid which isn't painful- like my hand is- but I can't stop it, and it's also listed on that site as a common form of the condition.
     
  19. pbirch

    pbirch Member

    by all means ask your neurologist about this condition, but remember that the internet is not a great diagnostic tool
     
  20. cshimmon

    cshimmon Member

    No of course, but it is a relief to have an idea what it might be which may also be treatable- I can worry a little less until I see him! :)
     
  21. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  22. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

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