October 25, 2006 at 2:00 AMI'm quite worried and in a bit of a situation...maybe. Last night I played a concert in a cold auditorium. At least, I was cold. My hands were raelly really cold, and before the concert, I could not warm them up with hot water (the sinks were "action motivated" and only sprayed cold water for a few seconds each hand wave). In trying to warm up, I noticed that my fourth finger was hurting with vibrato, so I stopped vibrato on it and stretched etc. etc. Breathed on my hands, stuck them under my legs alternatingly. But the concert started and every time I used my fourth finger, pain shot down the outside of my hand between the two bones of 3rd and 4th finger. It was agony. I tried my best to refinger as the concert went along, avoiding 4, but it wasn't possible to eliminate from the runs and harder passages.
I'm not sure why my hands were so cold. It seemed a ventilation thing over our stand and just the one infront of it. (I consequently also lost my bow grip and fumbled my bow in the first half, couldn't even feel my fingers on the bow) Or perhaps the Gershwin overture, which uses a LOT of extended 4, stressed my hand the day before. Whatever the cause, by the second half I thought about not finishing the concert. I have NEVER had that kind of pain, and know that playing through that type of thing, if it was an injury, can be career-ending.
So by the end of the concert it was really excruciating to use 4. I warmed my hands up in the truck, put on cream and my gloves, and was very careful with my hand until now. I am in a bit of a crux because I have to have the Mahler learned by Sunday,a nd I still onlyl have fingerings for the first two movements. I made myself take today off, and also am kind of afraid to play...what if the pain is stil there and I have injured my hand from that ten minutes of warming up with cold hands...or whatever caused it...?? I guess I will see tomorrow if this is serious. Now I know how frightening this sort of thing can be. I have had back pain, wrist ache, violin elbow, pain when twisting the hand...but those were gradual and went away, they were mostly overuse issues. This happened all at once, it seems. And I can't take a break, right now. THis is also my first concert with this orchestra.
I've taken an anti-inflammatory, and kept it warm, and stretched it regularly and been careful careful with my hand (not a whole lot of typing before or after this one blog). My stand partner suggested icing it, but it seemed that it was already cold, so I used heat.
What is the best care for a possible finger injury like this sort?
Swelling causes damage and you want to as much as possible prevent it and then eliminate what swelling did occur. Being caused by not warming up isn't a reason to apply heat instead. I was wrongly advised to immediately apply heat to a torn ligament (by a pharmacist) And was told later by an orthopedic surgeon that was the reason I was out of commision for 6 mos. Be your own judge as to when and what to play again by what's comfortable. Don't force it even a little. In a couple days you'll be back to normal I predict.
I will tentatively play a bit tomorrow afternoon and see how it goes. I see a specialist on Thursday anyway, she is qualified for this sort of thing, though I was going for something else. Neuromusclular skeletal recovery (or) pain management. She will be able to tell me medically at that point if there is a problem. Right now there is just a dull ache, so I think we are o.k. just need to be extra careful.
COnsequently, playing with a *barely* 4th finger, almost faking, I realized how much extra pressure I am using in general to place down the fingers. Hard to get any energy without a bit of weight, but, Hmmm....
Thanks for advice.
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