Wrist pain...Again.

February 26, 2007 at 02:56 AM · Hello all,

I know this topic has come up hundreds of times because I searched the archives, but I have a slightly different twist on it =)

For about two years I've had pain in my right wrist (it only happens every couple of months, very irregular). Right now it's happening again - I only have pain in the thumb joint. It seems to happen only when I put pressure on the bow, and only in the upper ½-1/3 of the bow. My teacher has told me to stop practicing whenever I experience pain, and sometimes when I come back to it a couple of hours later, my wrist feels absolutely normal. Has anyone had this kind of problem? If so, I need some simple stretches that might help.

Also, how important is it that I see a specialist? As far as I know there isn’t one in the country. Which would mean I’d have to travel, perhaps to Israel, to see one. Advice???

Replies (19)

February 26, 2007 at 03:12 AM · Your situation sounds more similar to mine than any I've ever heard before. My professor has been teaching for probably 20some years, and see at least one injury every year (probably), and he's never seen anything like mine.

I've had mine for about a year. It was treated at one point for carpal tunnel and didn't do anything. It was randomly hurt, and would jump around (one time in one place, the next in a different). It would only sometimes start hurting when I'm practicing, but it could also start hurting when I'm reading a book or just sitting there on the phone (speaker or otherwise). There's no swelling anywhere. My chiropractor treated it as a pinched nerve in my wrist, but that hasn't done anything.

I've gone to the Cleveland Clinic about it to a neruologist/performing arts doctor, and he has no idea. There's nothing neurological, at least. He's having me go to the rheumatologist, and actually my appointment for that is in the morning, so I can give you an update as to what they say for that, and see if that might help you with anything.

Good luck with it!

February 26, 2007 at 06:56 AM · Wow, Julia, it's amazing to find someone with the same thing. My teacher has never had any students have the same problem - just me! I don't have swelling either, just pain that randomely comes and goes. So yes, it would be awesome if you could keep me updated and tell me what you find out =)

February 26, 2007 at 05:34 PM · Well, I have a possible answer.

Apparently I have hyper joints (basically I'm slightly double-jointed, but I actually never realized it), and with that sometimes comes pain because the joints are stretched too much or something like that? I don't know. They did blood work, I'm not sure why, and they're still looking to make sure it's no kind of early arthiritis (I'm 19), but this is a possible hypothesis. Why it's showing up this late (I've been having problems for about a year now) I'm not sure, but I'm doing some more research on it, and I'm going to an occupational therapist in a couple weeks. Maybe you could look into that and see if it seems to fit! Good luck!

February 26, 2007 at 06:31 PM · Thanks, Julia. Keep me posted and I'll let you know if I find out anything new =)

February 26, 2007 at 10:43 PM · Greetings,

i doubt if it is the problem but somehting you might consider if the pain is only localized in the bas e of the thumb: if the position of your thumb leather, lack of it, or any othe raspetc of `bow hygene` is putitng your thumb in an unnatural positon that can cause this problem.



February 26, 2007 at 10:49 PM · Hi girls,

I know the pain in my hand and wrist you are all describing. Now, notice that is only us females complaining so far. For me it is definitively conected to that time of month that we all love so much:) But it does not happen every month. A friend has recommended eating more protein (I don't eat red meat). Can it be that easy? I don't know but I try to follow her advice and it seems to be really helping.


February 27, 2007 at 12:15 AM · Greetings,

I have a time of the month too! According to Chinese Medicine my body stucture is centered around the water element to an overt degree. The day after a full moon the pull on my body (moon /tides kind of thng) is so strong I can barely think straight, beome a complete klutz, get terrible headaches and bite everyones hea doff.

Most people congratulate me on the improvement.

If you want to increase your protein more healthily including bumping up your zinc very nicely then eat garbanzo beans two or three times a week.

Fresh ginger root grated and made into tea or just added to your regualr cooked food is very helpful for painkilling during the time of the month. A ginger compres sis also very powerfcul in healing the problem described in this discussion!



February 27, 2007 at 06:55 AM · Lucia - that thought didn't really occur to me but hey, it's a possibility and I'll give it a try.

Stephen - yes I've been focusing on my thumb (making sure it's in the right place, very relaxed). That really made me laugh though...you have a time of the month too! Lol

July 19, 2007 at 07:15 PM · OK, this may sound nuts, but I think that Selenium has cured my wrist pain. I got back from visiting my mom recently and she forced me to eat Selenium for a week. I have been eating it for only about 3 weeks, so I am not absolutely sure what is going on. But one thing is for sure. I have no more wrist pain or finger nubmness. Before I couldn't type a sentence on a computer without some weird feeling in my hand. And just two days ago I worked on updating my website that took hours, and my hands felt absolutely normal. On top of that I keep a lively practice schedule and so far so good.

Long live selenium:)


July 19, 2007 at 10:36 PM · Greetings,

yes. It is used by body builders to reduce joint pain. it has also been linked to quite substantial improvements in athritic conditions.



July 20, 2007 at 06:33 AM · Greetings,

you can buy selenium as Selenium Picolinate tablets, probably from a sports store or good druggist.

It is very doubtful if you need more protein. That is not the problem with vegetarian diets. The first and potentially deadly problem is usually vitamin B12 deficiency- take tablets- today`s foodis too clean;). Becoming a vegetarian is a very serious practice which needs to eb approache dwith extreme caution. The rewards are enormous when done correctly.



July 20, 2007 at 11:56 AM · Avoiding junk chemical drugs, probably you should put much more attention on the grip of the hand on the bow and on the movements you do.

You should know that the wirst should never bend excsively in the less natural direction of tension which can be obtained toward the upper 1/3 of the bow (the more natural direction of wrist in bending is that of the hand hanging from the forearm).

At most the hand should be in line with the forearm.

The position in the opposite direction can lead to carpal tunnel in extreme condition of bending.

Probably the pain comes from that


July 20, 2007 at 04:41 PM · Ah !

you have to keep in mind also that pain can come from the excessive effort in bending the wrist which is wrong according to Steinhausen who reported the importance of the most passivity possible of the movements under the elbow.

July 21, 2007 at 02:14 PM · I'd give some thought to what else you are doing that might be causing pain that comes and goes. I do a lot of yard/farm work, and have figured out (duh!), that's it's BAD to weed for 2 hours and then practice aggressively. Nutrition is certainly a factor, but that simple a cause & effect is uncommon. I'd also pay a lot of attention to bow hold, angle of arm, weight of arm. Maybe you make little changes from time to time that cause this. Do also check your bow tension, rosining and even the humidity for anything that might make it harder to get sound some days, so that you work harder w/o really noticing. When you say you notice pain when playing in the upper part of the bow, I also wonder if a bow with a different balance point/weight distribution, or changing the angle of your violin to tilt down a little more towards your chest would help. Sue

July 21, 2007 at 07:12 PM · Lots of selenium in garlic, broccoli, and Brazil nuts. Any trace substance is usually more bio-available in foods rather than pills.

I personally favor the concept of pre-emptive garlic eating myself; it's the only defense against garlic-eaters.

July 23, 2007 at 12:33 PM · Hi,

Pain in the right wrist is usually in my experience as a teacher the product of an imbalanced bow hold, the wrong geometry for the player's arms, or some error in movement. Many times too, it is caused by an ill-fitting chinrest for the player, or a shoulder-support system that is not well set up forcing the player to commit unnatural movements to compensate. Also, here are some important factors in bowing mindset to consider:

1- The bow is held by the string, or rather balanced on it. It is not held by the player.

2- Consequence: the strenght of a bow hold should be no more than about 3.5 (on a scale of 1 to 10).

3- The bow is actually moved by the forearm, not the hand. The hand should be relaxed and follow the arm. The hand is responsible for weight transfer, not moving the bow (except for a few strokes).

4- Two things to beware of that can add tension to the hand and wrist - First, not having the hand balanced around the ring formed by the thumb and middle finger, which can cause tension and secondly, the clawing out forward of the index.

5- Not producing the a stroke in the right part of the bow using arm geometry as a guide which puts undo stress on the hand.

On diet, and pain: I think that tow factors can be considered here, based on my own personal (and seemingly more common than thought) experience... First, to be carefully considered is the balance between Omega-6 fatty acids (which promote inflammation in the joints) vs Omega-3 (especially from fish and fish oil) which are predominantely anti-inflammatory. Many people are actually intolerant to wheat which produces arthritic-like symptoms (I have discovered that I am one of those). Reducing, or restricting completely the consumption of gluten-containing cereals or grains in general can greatly help (rice and potatoes here seem to have no effect). My experience is that most supplements are not very useful if the source fueling the inflammation is not reduced considerably or eliminated.


July 23, 2007 at 04:37 PM · I didn't read the whole post too crefully so sorry if i repeat something.

Remember that you need more thumb counter pressure in the upper part of the bow; that's just the way it is and it can be tiring. What is important is to train your self to relax your thumb in the middle and upper part of the bow. Your thumb should not be static but always flexing and relaxing. It is easy to just be too stiff all the time. Relax your thumb whenever you can. Concentrate on it and think about it.

July 23, 2007 at 06:22 PM · Good points Christian. And Michael if I have to focus on one more body part relaxed I'm going to scream. :-)

July 24, 2007 at 10:16 AM · Hi,

I have this exact pain. I've been to see a musicians doctor and an Alexander Technique violin teacher. When I went to see the doctor the pain was not so bad as I had been resting it for a week. He thought it might be the beginning of arthritis. I feel (as do some of my colleagues who I've told about it) that it is a type of tendonitis. Please click on the following link or do a search for DeQuervains. You can also do a "test" called Finkelstein (just a small movement) and if it hurts it is almost certainly Dequervains.

It's probably related to misuse of the bow hand. I am trying at the moment to think of my right palm as being quite wide and open and trying also to just think of balancing the bow in the hand and being aware of the role of the fourth and little finger on the stick.

Also, in relation to what someone else has said, I do think the string balances the bow, but you have to also think of when you do not have the bow on the string but in the air. For me, I think I am developing tension due to orchestral playing (sitting sometimes awkwardly in the orchestra) and having to bow very quietly at times, so that the bow is not balanced on the string , especially at the nut but being held just on the string. If anyone has any good technique ideas about pianissimo orchestral long bows and bow changes I'd love to hear them.

Here is the link


Do more searches if this seems like what you have and read about friction massage, using ice and anti-inflammatories. Also, try and only practise for 10 mins at a time and stop and then do 10mins the next hour etc

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