Old neck sprain coming back to haunt me

March 16, 2012 at 01:39 AM · about a year ago i sprained my neck and didnt realize it. then i alsmot broke my left shoulder and my ribs. im going to a chiropractor, and the xrays show an old sprain, a few twisted and mispositioned vertebrae, and somehow my ribcage got twisted and my left shoulder is 2in higher than my right shoulder.should i heed the chiropractor's advice to not play until he fixes it or keep playing?

Replies (4)

March 16, 2012 at 02:48 AM · I would definitely heed the chiropractor's advice. I know how this feels -- you want so much to do something you love but have to hold off for a while till the injury clears up.

I had a minor lower-back dislocation 11 years ago that reminded me to watch carefully and use proper form when working out. I had several chiropractic adjustments, and that took care of it. It didn't affect my playing, but the doc told me to lay off the gym for 6 weeks.

I survived and got back into the workouts in time and regained what I'd had before. Remember: "Better to want what you don't have than to have what you don't want." Far better to hold off on playing now -- it will come back -- than risk aggravating the injury and causing more serious damage.

March 16, 2012 at 02:36 PM · While I agree, almost completely, with Jim, I would like to add--does your chiropractor understand music? I ask, because, as we know, it's different from other activities.

If you are asking on V-com whether or not to take a health-care provider's advice, you may not have enough trust.

I searched till I found a 'practor who, though no musician herself, had experience with musicians' injuries--and their concerns. I could trust her better.

Ask how long you are being asked to lay off for; chiropracty can be a long treatment!

And if you aren't doing Alexander Tech. start looking for a teacher! If you learn how to use your body well, you won't be as likely to aggravate old injuries.

March 16, 2012 at 03:27 PM · You might consider getting a personal TENS\Interferential unit and begin using it. Some insurance companies will pay for them.

I was hit from behind at 65mph two days after Christmas by a low-down, uninsured, affirmative action female who was apparently texting and drifted into my lane.

I have one herniated disk in my lumber spine as well as another bulging disk at S1-L5. Also a couple of foraminal annular tears in the lumbar area.

My neck is just as bad and I've been diagnosed with degenerative disk disease of spine in the cervical, lumbar, and sacral areas. I suspect the thoracic spine would also be a problem but I've only had MRIs of the cervical and lumbar\sacral spine.

The TENS\Interferential unit I use is found on this page top right column and is described below:


Flex-IT ®

"Clinical strength in a portable unit. The Flex-IT® is designed to provide long lasting relief to acute and chronic pain patients. It promotes deep tissue stimulation and helps reduce pain."

I have been in physical therapy for three months and will have my last two sessions next week. They hook me up to their clinical interferential unit, put a hydroculator pack around my neck, and have me lie down on another large hydroculator pack. You can't imagine how good this feels.

I can only use my personal unit on one part of the spine at a time and have yet to use it on the neck. However, I'm certain it and some heat therapy will go long way in alleviating your pain and discomfort and getting you on the road to recovery.

If any one of your shoulders is 2" higher or lower than the other, you either have bad posture, or you have suffered some catastrophic fractures that only surgery can remedy.

I won't have any surgeon cutting on my back unless I'm in danger of paralysis. Additionally, I would be less inclined to believe what a chiropractor tells me over a neurosurgeon.

My doctor at present is an orthopedic surgeon, but I would never have an him (an orthopod) cut on me. Only a neurosurgeon when it comes to things spinal. Take that last sentence to heart. It could save your life.

March 16, 2012 at 05:13 PM · I will build on the ideas that Marjorie put forward, above. I would ask the chiropractor about the training he/she has had for musician situations and the number of musicians treated in the past 3 years, or so. Musicianship is physical, but not like the abrupt power movements of sports. If you get "hand-waving" and general comments,("I have x years experience"), consider finding someone else who treats many musicians. Rather than no movement, another practice among some medical professionals is to get the patient moving in slow, controlled ways as quickly as possible. Do some internet research on this issue (professionals don't agree), and decide which side you believe.

Second, take this event as a warning signal that your violin posture has flaws - and start to fix them. It is possible to play the violin with both shoulders relaxed, both parallel to the floor, the neck relaxed and straight up and the jaw not touching the violin. Its a different posture skill, but it does not put hours and hours of tension on muscles, tendons, and joints. You probably need a different violin teacher to help with this transition. I did.

Last, consider physical therapy or at least an exercise program to deal with the left shoulder being 2 inches higher. Part (or all?) of this situation comes from years of lifting your left shoulder to clamp the violin against the jaw. While relaxing your violin posture, particularly the shoulders, you probably need to rebuild strength in the counter-balancing back muscles to pull the shoulders back and down. A physical therapist can design these exercises. Your skeleton and muscle frame are out of normal alignment and this puts unusual stress on joints. The risk is that, over years of stress, the joints deteriorate to the point that violin physical movements, and potentially many other movements, are uncomfortable or not even possible.

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