Wrist health and exercise
This post is a two parter.
Fisrt, I believe that an important key to being even a successful violinist and an effective teacher is staying healthy, so I like to stay rather active. I do cardio and such but every time I try doing any kind of strength training I end up aggravating my tendonitis. What exercises do you guys do to stay in good health that are safe for your wrists?
I've heard yoga is good and safe, any experience with yoga?
Second, for people like me with seemingly weak wrists, what kind of doctor should I see to target the issue? I've seen my GP and he just gives the text book advice on tendonitis.
The exercise literature/advice that I've seen says cardio and large muscle exercise is appropriate for "general health" maintenance. Recent research suggests that interval exercises (slow,fast,slow,fast) are more effective for general health than other styles.
yoga puts a lot of pressure on the wrists - in your situation I wouldn't recommend it.
i started swimming a little every day, it seems like a very gentle way to slowly build up some overall strength in the whole body. I tried it earlier in somewhat hot water, but my current experience is that cold water is the best.
Yoga can be good for your wrist, but it can hurt your wrist if you're not careful. It might be possible to explain your situation before class, and a good yoga teacher should take that into account and adjust accordingly. It may be that you have some muscle imbalance, and maybe you should find a physical therapist that specializes in working with athletes, and see if they have some insight for you.
Lot's of good advice, here.
I like the concept of "Kinetic chain" described in this book:
For a violinist's purposes I'd replace dumbbells with a more realistic (and cheaper) couple of tins of beans. You don't actually need anything heavier and you can exercise with them before you eat the contents.
Trevor, I think that yoga is really great for you as long as you don't go in with a competitive or goal-oriented mindset, unless your goal is 'listen to your body and don't push yourself through pain'. A lot of people hurt themselves by not paying attention to what feels good to them and by fixating on the next feat they have to conquer.
The last thing someone with tendinitis needs to do is start blindly hitting weights. I haven't read all of the posts above, but the kind of doctor you see is one that works in orthopedics generally. i.e. orthopedic surgeon. Yes it is appropriate to see an orthopedic surgeon without having any intention or need to get surgery.
I have had tendonitis for over 20 years ; it started when I began to learn to play guitar. Nothing I do has ever been able to get rid of it so I have just learned to live with it. The violin is not as bad as the guitar as long as I limit myself to one hour per day.
I second Bailey's recommendation to get a referral from your GP to an orthopedic surgeon and to ignore well-meaning advice from amateur doctors to lift weights and such. Also an experienced physical therapist can show you the right exercises to do that will help you strengthen your wrists without hurting yourself. Again, your GP can write you a prescription for PT ("diagnose and treat") and if you have decent insurance it should be covered.
Perhaps things are very different in the US (I hope so) but I have never heard of anybody being successfully treated for tendonitis with surgery. I have also found most GP's and physio therapists to be of very little use in this area.
From my personal experience I know that the function of everything extending from one's shoulder starts in the brain and travels through the nerves between the cervical vertebrae and every joint on down to the fingertips. Problems anywhere along that chain can manifest in difficulties and even paralysis.
My physical therapy experience was great. And seeing an orthopedic surgeon has no direct implication to surgery. A surgeon is still a doctor.