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Aug 25, 2019 - 6:05:23 PM
724 posts since 9/1/2008

This is not a very happy topic, but I could use some advice. I have been playing for over 35 years and I had a Stroke in August of 2018. I am right handed and the stroke left my right side paralyzed.  I worked through that and I've come back about 60% or so but I play in a band and need to be at 100% as soon as I can. Any advise is welcomed on how to get back. My muscle memory is not what it used to be and sometimes I just plain forget how to play something. The scary part is that I don't know when this is going to happen.

Edited by - archtop717 on 08/25/2019 18:08:08

Aug 25, 2019 - 6:18:48 PM

14256 posts since 12/2/2005

Bob, if I could make a magic wand and fix this, I would do so. But I'm just another banjo player. I do know this: strokes affect each patient differently. So if I was in your shoes, I'd be talking with my physician, and asking about physical therapy. And on referral to the PT I'd ask the therapist about tag-teaming with a really good, empathetic banjo coach.

Best I can do....

Aug 25, 2019 - 6:38 PM

6261 posts since 8/30/2004
Online Now

Bob,
I've taught people who have gone through what you have. Physical Therapy can help tremendously these days. They have special machines and exercises etc. that do amazing things to bring back your mobility back to your body no matter what you do....Jack  p.s. this will take time as I'm sure you've been told...

Originally posted by archtop717

This is not a very happy topic, but I could use some advice. I have been playing for over 35 years and I had a Stroke in August of 2018. I am right handed and the stroke left my right side paralyzed.  I worked through that and I've come back about 60% or so but I play in a band and need to be at 100% as soon as I can. Any advise is welcomed on how to get back. My muscle memory is not what it used to be and sometimes I just plain forget how to play something. The scary part is that I don't know when this is going to happen.


Edited by - Jack Baker on 08/25/2019 18:52:05

Aug 25, 2019 - 6:38:48 PM

724 posts since 9/1/2008

Thank you for your reply. But PT and Doctors just gave me a blank look when it comes to asking questions about playing an instrument. They are great at everything else to bring you back to normal and I've had great Doctors and PT people. But not so much when you talk Banjo and muscle memory. I think you are right about a good teacher though. I was hoping (But then again, I would not wish this on anyone.) there was someone out there that's been through this and beat it. I may be looking for some magic pill that does not exist.

Aug 25, 2019 - 6:54:55 PM

6261 posts since 8/30/2004
Online Now

If you can get some more use from your body and limbs, hands are just part of that and when they are restored, you have to retrain your banjo movements...j
Originally posted by archtop717

Thank you for your reply. But PT and Doctors just gave me a blank look when it comes to asking questions about playing an instrument. They are great at everything else to bring you back to normal and I've had great Doctors and PT people. But not so much when you talk Banjo and muscle memory. I think you are right about a good teacher though. I was hoping (But then again, I would not wish this on anyone.) there was someone out there that's been through this and beat it. I may be looking for some magic pill that does not exist.


Aug 25, 2019 - 7:03:17 PM

26 posts since 3/18/2019

Hey Bob. So sorry to hear this. Been playing for 48 years and developed a neurological condition that affects the fine motor skills in my hands especially my right hand. Do some research on. B vitamins. They promote alot of brain functions such as memory and neurotransmitters which is what controls the hands...and practice practice practice

Aug 25, 2019 - 7:47:17 PM
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Players Union Member

Chris Meakin

Australia

2400 posts since 5/15/2011

Marc Nerenberg also had a left hemisphere stroke which affected his right side on 10 May 2019, and has been documenting his recovery via a couple of clawhammer pages on FB and on youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/user/mzeesimba/videos

Marc doesn't seem to have been active on BHO since his stroke, but if you contact him directly via BHO or FB I'm sure he would only be too pleased to share with you what has worked for him so far. Marc's been making remarkable and noticeable improvement in each recording.

Best of luck Bob.

Aug 25, 2019 - 8:44:02 PM

119 posts since 11/21/2015

I have never has a stroke before but was paralyzed from the waist down in 2010 form a virus called transverse myelitis... went from a wheel chair to a walker to a cane and then on my own... walk with a slight gate but not bad... it took me 9 months about 90%... sister Kenny is the best in the world if you have not heard of them in mpls. when I asked the doctor how I got it he said do not worry about how you got it but worry about getting better... best advise ever... yours is a bit different but I could not play at all... no life without the Gibson rb-250 listen to your pt and ot...that is the kjey and get a good one...
good luck my friend...

Aug 25, 2019 - 8:52:47 PM

95 posts since 3/25/2016

Seems crucial that your docs and therapists understand what it is you so need to do ... perhaps have a banjo player/teacher accompany you to an appointment to help convey your actual intended target for future improvement?

Best of luck in your recovery.

Aug 25, 2019 - 9:17:07 PM

119 posts since 11/21/2015

quote:
Originally posted by Gary r voigt

I have never has a stroke before but was paralyzed from the waist down in 2010 form a virus called transverse myelitis... went from a wheel chair to a walker to a cane and then on my own... walk with a slight gate but not bad... it took me 9 months about 90%... sister Kenny is the best in the world if you have not heard of them in mpls. when I asked the doctor how I got it he said do not worry about how you got it but worry about getting better... best advise ever... yours is a bit different but I could not play at all... no life without the Gibson rb-250 listen to your pt and ot...that is the key and get a good one...
good luck my friend...


Aug 25, 2019 - 10:00:58 PM

134 posts since 6/25/2016

Not sure how much it will help, but I’d recommend you listen to the Picky Fingers podcast interview with James McKinney. He went through the same thing, though perhaps less severe, and found playing banjo hugely helpful in his recovery. You might even want to contact him. 

Aug 26, 2019 - 4:48:21 AM

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

23191 posts since 8/3/2003

Have you checked with an orthopedist? Perhaps someone who specializes in hand/nerve injuries might be able to help you more than your usual doctor and PT. Just a thought.

Aug 26, 2019 - 6:03:44 AM
Players Union Member

wizofos

USA

5171 posts since 8/19/2012

Suggest you see if you can find a PT and/or doc who also plays a string instrument. They may give you a blank look when you say banjo but the same muscles are used for guitar and they understand that. I am lucky to have a GP who also plays guitar so she is more understanding about arthritis in my hands.

Aug 26, 2019 - 6:24:33 AM

724 posts since 9/1/2008

Thank you all so much. All good advise. Like all of you, I love playing the 5 string too much to let this get me down.

Aug 26, 2019 - 11:18:23 PM
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14 posts since 1/1/2009

I had a stroke too, Oct. 2018. What an adventure it's been! Everybody's way different with what they get. My hospital neighbor couldn't talk, still can't. My right side was messed up for a few weeks, and I couldn't play banjo. My bandmates filled in for me.

I'm lucky, got treated right away. My impairments were not major and largely worked themselves out in about 6 months. I was off from work for most of that time and I played a lot of banjo. I think that's the key. The more we do, read, think, discuss, etc the more our brain gets to regroove the pathways and find alternate routes as needed.

If I were you I'd remove the stress of the band and gigs, and just play with friends. I had to let go of 100% with my speech, still gets tripped up when I get tired. It was getting me down and one day my girlfriend said, "so what, you're alive."

Good luck to you, friend.

Aug 27, 2019 - 6:59:02 AM

724 posts since 9/1/2008

Thank you Jerry. My wife happen to be home the day of my stroke and saved my life, so I know where you are coming from. Everyday is different and a challenge, but I am alive.... I practice a lot, but the band is very important to me and they give me a ton of support, I am lucky that my wife is our Bass player, so that's not a stress thing for me, but I agree it could have been. I just want to play my best for them and the audience. I can't stand forgetting what I am doing in the middle of the tune, I just have to work harder and like you said "Train my Brain again"

Thank you my friend,

Bob Sutor

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