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Ben Clapton


March 9, 2007 at 11:00 PM

No matter what it is related to - pain is rarely a good thing. Muscular pain can be ok, if you're working on building muscle because it means that the muscles are growing. But nervous pain (ie pain related to the nervous system) is never good.

Unfortunately, I have been getting nervous pain. Around September last year, I started getting it. It was a sharp, stabbing pain in my right wrist. Generally it would only occur when I was playing in an orchestra, and it would generally only come along towards the end of a 3 hour rehearsal. The pain went away almost immediately, but I found that if I kept playing, it would come back, and often hurt even more.

I went and had it checked out by my GP, and he sent me to have an MRI. He said that while nothing had shown up on the MRI, it was more than likely an inflamed nerve, and that I should take some anti-inflammatory pills, and lay off doing anything with the right hand while it heals (but he gave me permission to still practice the violin - he's a good GP like that... understands my needs).

After I'd finished the dose of anti-inflammatories, the pain dissappeared for a bit. Unfortunately it came back again last night.

I was in an orchestral rehearsal, our first one for the season (ending in a concert at the end of March), and just before the break, I got pain. I knew what I needed to do - go home, get some anti-inflammatory gel on it, and get a heat pack on it. I asked the conductor and he said that it was fine, that I needed to protect my health. I was just extremely annoyed at having to leave the rehearsal early, just because of this stupid pain that only occurs sometimes.

I still have no idea what causes it. It might have something to do with carrying heavy items with that hand (I had been carrying a bag full with sheet music for most of the day). In that case, it puts my new job in jeopardy - nightfill at a supermarket where I've been employed specifically to work on the heavy stuff - drinks, cleaning etc.
It could also be something to do with my bowing action, especially for the tremolo-esque stuff - eg the presto in the final movement of Beethoven 5. I shall be asking my teacher if she could look at my action, to give me any tips, and also asking one of my lecturers at uni.

It is something that I want sorted out, because I don't want to have to possibly leave rehearsals early due to pain. It's just not professional.

From Yixi Zhang
Posted on March 10, 2007 at 4:34 PM

Get your doctor to check again to see if this is the same problem or something else. Meanwhile, check to your balance. Is your neck completely relaxed when you play? Are your shoulder and hip joints free and loose? Are your knees unlocked? Have you heard of Alexander Technique? Check it out because it teaches you how to be kind to your body so that you’ll move freely and powerfully. I hope you know that, Ben, no medicine, physiotherapy or acupuncture can get to the root of the problem if your daily use of your body may be in need of some care.

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on March 11, 2007 at 4:08 AM
I'm so sorry you're having pain. I hope it is something that can be controlled or mitigated easily. Good luck, and let us know what happens.
From parmeeta bhogal
Posted on March 11, 2007 at 12:25 PM
Ben, do go and see your doctor again; do you have access to someone who knows about sports medicine?

I had severe pain in my fingers last year which then moved to my wrists/forearm; in the end the problem was in one of my neck vertebrae. Each vertebrae is connected to different end points of the body, and problems with them may manifest themselves as pain in places removed.
There was no real cure for mine, but 5 sessions with the massager at the sports centre got rid of it completely.

Your case might be totally different but there must be a cause, so don't ignore it. It might be the heavy lifting or the violin playing position or something else entirely but do go to your doctor.

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