Tendonitis

January 10, 2013 at 03:26 AM · I am a young musician who is still in school, i have tendonitis and trying to rest my wrists is hard due to having to do everyday things such as writing in school and typing. It has got worse lately and the doctor gave me nurofen but it hasn't helped any, I have not been playing my violin very often to rest it but with typing hurting and writing I dont think it shall heal very soon. And tips or ideas

Replies

January 10, 2013 at 03:39 AM · If you do a search of this site using the word ' tendonitis' in the search box to the right you will find many threads discussing this problem and hints to help you.

Nurofen only masks the pain so I would not keep trying that if it is not working anyway. Try Voltaren gel twice a day for a week ; it helps with the inflammation.

Soak your wrists in hot water for 20 minutes until the skin turns nice and pink. Some people use ice but I have found that this only makes the problem worse.

Are you pressing too hard on the violin ? You only need the lightest of touch with the left hand to sound a note. Practice playing as lightly as possible with the bare minimum of pressure. This was my main problem. It took a while to change the way I play. I was pressing much to hard especially when practising vibrato.

Cut your violin practice back to about 30 minutes per day until you get the pain under control. The Voltaren gel will help with this.

January 10, 2013 at 09:27 AM · train your legs and back/abdominal muscles can work wonders also stop typing. It just makes it worse. There was a topic on this recently, try to search for it in the forum search.

January 10, 2013 at 01:13 PM · Your tendons attach your muscles to your bone. You get tendonitis because your muscles are relatively weak, and your tendons strain to make up for that. There are really two issues for you. One is to strengthen the muscles. Your doctor should give you a referral to a sports medicine physical therapist who can prescribe some strengthening exercises for the appropriate muscles. The other issue is your technique. You likely have some issues that your violin teacher needs to address. Ask her/him what might be causing the problem you have. If the teacher cannot diagnose this, you may need to seek out another teacher.

January 10, 2013 at 04:36 PM · thanks for the replies, I was supposed to see my teacher today but he had a meeting so now have to wait for a week, I shall look out for the gel thanks

January 11, 2013 at 05:30 PM · You do not get tendonitis because muscles are weak. You may have muscle soreness from over use, but tendonitis is caused by over stretching and ripping the tendons. Tendons get inflamed as they try to heal. So don't "go get stronger"

You mention typing. Check out the book Pain Free at Your PC by Pete Egoscue. Used copies are very inexpensive.

Regarding the violin, you are likely clamping the neck in a "death grip" and are probably tight all the way up to the neck. Find a coach to deal with all that tension. If your teacher can't help with specific exercises, find a coach who can. You will need to spend time every practice session to unwind the bad habit of tension. But your playing will improve a lot just from learning a relaxed stance.

January 14, 2013 at 01:22 PM · Mike is correct. Tendonitis is an over-use problem and it can also be an improper form problem. When I refer to improper form, I speak from the fact that when I am not practicing or playing viola or violin, I am a power-lifter.

And I have suffered the consequences of bad form a couple of times.

---Ann Marie

January 14, 2013 at 06:21 PM · Anything that restricts blood circulation will cause injuries. Anything done to improve blood circulation will prevent injury.

January 14, 2013 at 11:45 PM · Tendonites is due to repetitive movements, as a violin maker I had one in the right thung about ten years ago, just horrible. Physical therapy saved me, but you need a very good guy.

Be sure that it is the violin that caused it, typing is a bad thing for fingers.

January 16, 2013 at 03:47 AM · I am no doctor nor physiotherapist,so take this for what it's worth, but when I work all day typing, my tendons in the wrists do get rather painful at times. Tendonitis or Tunnel Carpal (same thing I guess), whatever the name, what I find helps relieving the pain is a slow stretch of the wrists by putting my palm against a wall, fingers pointing downward, arm fully extended and slowly rotating my body outward, maintaining the palm against the wall for a few seconds. The higher the hand, the more stretching. I do that once in a while throughout the day if/when necessary and it seems to help. Even if you have a good posture playing violin, your issue may be more related to a poor posture when working on the computer, consider an ergonomic keyboard if you don't have one already.

January 16, 2013 at 02:09 PM · I must add, that I found out, that one has to be very careful with stretching inflamed parts. First never stretch cold, warmup before is essential even when healthy, second recover before doin warmup and/or stretching.

To me the fastest way to get rid of those problems is:

1. recover completely

2. Wait one more week before starting to get normal active with the hands again to make sure it is not too early (common mistake wich will set you back double the time)

3. Start slowly, carefully and sensitive.

4. Build up and eventually stretch in breaks.

January 17, 2013 at 01:59 AM · Since nobody seems to have mentioned it yet: Alexander Technique can help you learn how to do whatever-it-is-you're-doing-that-is-causing-tendonitis in a way that won't cause tendonitis. Many AT teachers are musicians, so you might well be able to find one who has personal experience in playing an instrument (maybe even the violin).

Find an Alexander teacher near you

January 18, 2013 at 11:45 PM · Stretching is unnecessary if you aren't creating tension to begin with. David Nadien said that the only thing he does to warm up is gently flex the base knuckles in both hands. I personally have found that giving up the shoulder rest AND re-learning how to support the instrument eliminated my problems with tension and pain 100%.

You may want to consider playing without a shoulder rest, too. Here is a video series I made on how to do it:

How to Play the Violin without a Shoulder Rest

Let me know what you think!

January 19, 2013 at 12:03 AM · Alex is this you? :D

March 23, 2013 at 10:22 PM · I help a lot of violinists with tendonitis. I have been able to help everyone who has come to work with me. Young students and mature professionals alike.

I'd be happy to chat with you about your situation.

You can email me at dylana@dylanajenson.com

Best of luck,

Dylana Jenson

March 24, 2013 at 10:30 AM · Your tendons attach your muscles to your bone. You get tendonitis because your muscles are relatively weak, and your tendons strain to make up for that.

I'll also chip in to say this is totally wrong. Often problems arise because the muscle is capable of ripping itself off the bone in emergencies. Just saying.

You need to find a way of playing that doesn't hurt. Often going back to basics with a music healing specialist is what's needed. Stopping playing never works.

March 25, 2013 at 12:23 AM · Combo of rest and acupuncture is working for me. Tendon is so slow to heal....

March 25, 2013 at 05:05 AM · Combo of rest and acupuncture is working for me. Tendon is so slow to heal....

But what will prevent it returning? Tendons are white because they have such a poor blood supply hence very hard to heal.

March 31, 2013 at 10:20 PM · thanks for the feedback :)

June 7, 2013 at 07:55 PM · So this is still bothering me and I have had lots of rests and muscle rubs and supports and ice and heat. I am trying a physcio

June 8, 2013 at 01:16 AM · STOP USING ICE ! Apply heat by soaking in hot water and use heat packs but stay away from the cold as it only makes the pain worse. I know this from experience.

June 8, 2013 at 04:07 AM · Tried transverse friction massage?

June 8, 2013 at 01:13 PM · "Anything that restricts blood circulation will cause injuries. Anything done to improve blood circulation will prevent injury."

Talk about dubious generalizations...

June 8, 2013 at 01:52 PM · I stopped ice ages ago and tried hear, still didn't work:(

June 8, 2013 at 03:14 PM · So here's a big fat generalization. One that makes the most sense but which most people don't want to hear:

If an activity is causing injury, you need to stop doing that activity. Serious musicians don't like to hear that they may have to totally stop playing for 6 or 8 weeks or longer. But one can't expect to keep playing with an injury and expect it to get better, regardless of drugs, heat, or ice.

Also, it's possible your chi has too much fire.

June 8, 2013 at 05:16 PM · I used to have this problem... make sure to stretch your arms/wrists/hands/fingers before you start doing anything (search google for stretches to do) and I used to wear wrist splints or supports when not playing... I don't have the problem any more - I think because I stretch thoroughly before I start playing.

Whenever you do get a chance to rest your hands, take full advantage of it and rest them completely :)

June 8, 2013 at 06:00 PM · Would someone be so kind as to tell me what "Tendinitis" is?

I tend to ignore pain, because it gets in the way of doing my work.

One of the worst occasions of extreme pain, was when the police handcuffed my wrists so hard they cut down to the bone, then strapped them behind my back, and dragged me back first out of their car.

http://www.jagclub.ru/images/wrist.jpg

Does this cause Tendinitis?

I don't recall anyone recommending any form of treatment, never mind admitting they had ever done anything wrong.

June 9, 2013 at 04:16 AM · "Especially for our hero Gareth.

Would some kind lady ask him how he would cope with the pain of childbirth?"

I haven't been asked to do that, but at least for about 8 months women know it's coming, it's totally natural, expected, and affects the parts of the body not generally used for playing a musical instrument.

I also happen to have watched in awe and admiration to see some of my own children being born.

In view of the torn ligaments, muscle damage & the inability to play for exceeding 6 months, + the fact women usually don't bear children to earn a living, I can only imagine J Cadd's contribution here as being the most cynical example of callousness ever witnessed on violinist dot com.

Next he will be banalising what happened to Cziffra?

June 9, 2013 at 05:58 AM · Amy, its not clear that you have visited any sort of physiotherapist, or rehab specialist. this is not a problem that should be kept to just your local GP, it needs someone who specialises in sports injuries, and preferably someone who has dealt with string player injuries. you need to ask at you local orchestra for references / testimonials as to who to go to see, the problem may be multi-factorial as you mention writing and typing as being problematic - any one of these may have caused or may be contributing, and you need to work out with someone how to avoid those tasks that are contributing (and if it is violin then you will have some big working out to do).

Writing / typing is not so hard to avoid: use dictation software, dot points, digital recording pen so you don't spend so much time writing and transcribing etc). and make sure you check your ergonomics at the workstation. these things are important.

June 9, 2013 at 06:59 AM · I've mentioned transverse friction massage about three times on this site and the only person that even acknowledged it was someone who has since been kicked off :-?

Pity, because while I was myself skeptical at first, I know from first hand experience it can help. A couple of years ago I had strong persistent pain in my arm even when doing nothing or when trying to sleep. I discovered TFM while seeking a solution, tried it and after about a week the pain was gone. Now I briefly massage before going to bed and have no pain whatsoever.

Of course it is just my experience and no skin off my nose if it is ignored.

June 9, 2013 at 01:13 PM · Scott's right. You have to stop playing and allow the tendons to heal. Then you need to figure out why you have tendonitis. Do you have an underlying deformity that's causing the tendonitis, or are your problems caused by misuse? Is it caused by the way you type on the computer, the way you're holding the violin, the way you turn the steering wheel? Figure out the why first, then you can fix it.

See a doctor who specializes in treating musicians. I have dealt with my own personal injury issues (not tendonitis, though), and what helped me was Alexander Technique. I did physical therapy for several months, but got worse, so at that point I switched to Alexander. That's actually what helped me more than anything. Once I understood how I was misusing my body and how I ought to be moving, I started the physical therapy again, and at that point I got better.

I'm not a huge fan of physical therapy by itself, because unless you fix the underlying movements that are causing your problems, you are only strengthening a bad habit. Good luck!!!

June 10, 2013 at 07:05 AM · As far as I know Milstein in fact did suffer from an shoulder injury and Heifetz did quit his career quite early, so even the old masters are not perfect. But in general keeping the Fingers together and not overpressing with the left is good advice.

But I have the feeling, that the problem is, that the recovering and resting phase is not taken serious here.

June 11, 2013 at 07:13 AM · Amy

Go to your doctor and ask to be referred to a physiotherapist!!

You need a professional opinion based on your history and the professional's in-depth knowledge of how the body works. Otherwise you may end up unintentionally making your problem worse.

June 11, 2013 at 09:21 PM · See post June 9th.

June 23, 2013 at 10:15 PM · I know people are saying "it's overuse, so don't strengthen the muscles to treat it", but actually gently strengthening the muscles with rehabilitation exercises in addition to other treatment can help. I have seen people get better from doing that. Also, it's not as simple as "overuse". I don't keep this up anymore due to my current degree program but I spent all my teen years playing my violin between 6 to 8 hours a day, 7 days a week and didn't develop tendonitis. It's not overuse that does it, it's misuse. If the muscles and surrounding structures of your wrist are stable and your technique is healthy, this problem doesn't happen.

June 24, 2013 at 07:10 AM · I think its always a combination of misuse/overuse, too little sleep/relaxation, bad food/drinks, too little exercise and often also mental stress, wich relates to a lack of relaxation of the body of course

June 26, 2013 at 07:32 PM · Hello,

I have helped countless violinists with all sorts of pain issues. Contact me by email if you are interested and feel free to check out my website and YouTube videos.

Good luck!!

Dylana Jenson

October 28, 2013 at 08:39 PM · Thanks a lot for all the comments!! It is the right hand!! I am starting to see the physiotherapist in a few weeks (massive waiting list)

October 28, 2013 at 10:15 PM · Gareth, those handcuffs are torture handcuffs, designed to assist with interrogation and should never be used at the arrest stage, but police sometimes get it wrong (reference: Hermann Hartfeld, "Faith Despite the KGB").

As regards Cad's sarky reference to your heroism, I don't know whether you're a hero or not - It depends on what you were arrested for and what you did and do subsequent to your arrest. If suffering were sufficient in itself to render us heroes, then all the wicked in hell would be heroes for ever.

October 28, 2013 at 11:40 PM · If you are doing a lot of typing, get someone (your physical therapist? computer teacher?) to look at your position at the keyboard and screen. It could be a too high or low keyboard causing the tendinitis.

October 29, 2013 at 05:27 AM ·

I would like to see a pic of you with the violin, or a short vid. I have a hunch to what you are doing wrong, and I am curious to see if I'm right.

January 13, 2014 at 01:01 AM · Check out my website and Institute info on pain:

https://dylana-jenson-ofv5.squarespace.com/the-approach/

January 13, 2014 at 01:02 AM · easier to just go to

www.dylanajenson.com

January 13, 2014 at 07:02 PM · As Nate said, no matter how careful, repetitive injuries do occur to most musicians I know. Musician’s injuries are very similar to sports injuries and the best people to consult are the doctors and physiotherapists who specialized in sports injury.

Two years ago, based on my doctor’s recommendation, I worked with a couple of physiotherapists who are also competitive athletes. They have clinic knowledge combined with personal experience and also know how to train me to strengthen my muscles so I can keep playing and know how to take care of myself at the same time.

As someone who was originally trained as a nurse, I know our body can heal itself only to a certain degree and self-help is insufficient when injury reaches to the point of persistent pain and limited motion. While some prolonged treatment may be too costly with diminishing returns in some cases, consultation with a qualified health expert is usually a very wise move.

May 26, 2014 at 06:35 PM · Hi, if your right hand hurts when typing, you might want to experiment with different shapes of computer mouse, and with different ways of placing it in relation to the keyboard. I have experienced serious discomfort because I was placing it too far to the right, and my right arm had to reach too far to the side to get to it.

If you have pain when handwriting, you might grip your pen/pencil too tight. This is what I was doing, and using a rubber grip over the pencil helped me.

I wish you speedy recovery!

May 28, 2014 at 08:57 PM · www.thepencilgrip.com

For ergonomic handwriting :)

May 29, 2014 at 01:25 AM · It greatly depends on where you live but I have found that in Australia, doctors and physiotherapists are completly useless when solving problems like this. Perhaps the United States is much better in this regard and I hope you have some luck with their treatments.

Whatever happens, the problem will only be fully resolved when you change the way you do things. Bottom line : if there is pain, then you are doing something incorrectly.

May 29, 2014 at 07:14 AM · One technical thing I am working on right now and what relates to the injury problem right now:

I watched a movie of Nathan Milstein playing pizzicato and talking about the Mendelssohn Concerto. While he was talking to the student his gestures were looking so different how others use their arms and wrists. I noticed, that he really moves a lot from the larger joints of the arms, also from the wrist but especially his fingers move more or less only from the base joint. I remember from the books of Kato Havas, that she also teaches this kind of left hand technique: Moving the fingers from the strongest joint of the left hand, wich is the base joint.

To do so, one has to adjust the hand position to be more under the neck of the violin as usual, to a degree, where the pinky can hardly reach its notes. This is interestingly going agains Menuhins approach of having the base joints quite high at the fingerboard. But the principle is the same and one should look specifically at the hand characteristics. Important is to focus on the base joints of the left hand while playing. Making them flexible and strong. I think this is also a good way to be quite safe from injury, because gripping with the fingers and having them tensed all the time makes the work of the forearm muscles unnecessarily hard. Playing from the base joints one can keep the finger itself mostly relaxed, wich also helps for vibrato and position changes.

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