Lots of musicians dont want to let you know they have focal dystonia

..and given the pressure and competiveness in the world of the performing musician it is hardly surprising. A part of the musician’s mystique and aura comes from their ability to pull off superhuman acts of virtuosity with finesse and verve.



 Focal Dystonia can be a devastating diagnosis for a musician. Not only are they faced with the physical inability to play their chosen instrument and loss of profession, but they also have the emotional burden of losing their sense of identity.


 For most of us music is a social activity, and defines who we are. Sufferers of focal dystonia often feel stigmatised and depressed, which I believe in some part is due to the lack of awareness and misconceptions about the condition.


Most people, including friends, family and even their local GP will know nothing of the condition, and initial explanations are often greeted by scepticism.


I have spoken to a number of high profile perfomers who have kept secret their problems with focal dystonia and either changed career, or rehabilitated in private.


The more people who are aware of the condition, the more can be done to reduce the stigma surronding it.


Musician Billy McLaughlin has done much to try and reverse this trend by becoming  an advocate for the DMRF, and performs at seminars for FD, as well as talking openly about the condition at his own concerts.

Katie Berglof

Pain stopped play.


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on her struggle with focal dystonia

"Performing-related aches and pains can end a musician's career. So why are many of them afraid to seek help?" asks Alfred Hickling in this Guardian article. He mentions focal dystonia and Leon Fleisher, among others