Live from China: Coverage of the Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition

pain in left thumb/base joint

December 28, 2005 at 07:56 AM · hello everyone, for the past 1.5/2 months or so i've had some pain on the base joint of my thumb. for a while, i was also experiencing a little pain kind of in between my second and third fingers, but that has subsided now and now most of the pain i get is in/around my thumb. i have NOT been playing that much (i know, i know, i'm bad) but this makes me curious since obviously the pain is not from overuse.

the father of an ex-student of my teacher's is a hand specialist, but (and i'm sure you've all had this feeling before) i don't want to "give in" to the medical world. i think this is just a problem with the way i hold the violin and finger the notes, and i need some advice. i'm thinking about calling the hand specialist just because i'm afraid. it almost feels like it's putting pressure on my carpal tunnel, my thumb is doing that i mean.

ANY advice would be greatly appreciated!! thanks~

Replies (7)

December 29, 2005 at 09:07 PM · It's really hard to say what may be going on without seeing you play but it sounds as if you may be squeezing to hard with your thumb on the neck while you play. there are some good excercises for this problem in the Simon Fischer book "Basics". You can also make up your own. Sometimes simply practicing too fast can make this problem worse.

There could also be some set-up issues with your left hand. Have you talked to your teacher about it?

Good luck!

December 29, 2005 at 11:39 PM · I don't think that is uncommon. If you have been working on trilling, or a particular etude that address a new technique that is strenuous to the left hand, etc., this sort of thing can happen and you have to pace yourself carefully as you practise.

I haven't had too much trouble with my left hand (thank goodness, although the right hand surely made up for it my sophmore year of ugrad ;p) but whenever I've had tension I've found good old fuzz tone bounce on Schraedieck to be extremely helpful.

Feel better!

December 31, 2005 at 05:30 AM · The pictographic manuscript which preserves the ancient sacred knowledge says you must not allow your thumb base joint to collapse inward.

December 31, 2005 at 05:50 AM · Jim,

Don't you have to use the rosetta stone for that?

Man -scratch that- violinkind is forever thankful for your contributions to the world of archeology.

Or is that paleontology?

It all blends together after a while...

Fiddlesticks,

K

December 31, 2005 at 04:56 PM · An non obvious cause of squeezing the fingerboard with thumb-index finger is the squeezing of the violin with mandible-collar bone.It's a kind of archaic reflex much older than rosetta stone.

January 1, 2006 at 05:11 AM · Some would also link this symptom to the contracting of the thumb and index of the bow hand. Check the original Greek text.

January 2, 2006 at 03:44 PM · I would get advice from a medical doctor or professional therapist.


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