I was wondering if you old-timers could share your arthritis experiences and advice with regard to the violin?
I'm approaching 60 and I've got a Heberden's node on my LH index finger, so I doubt if I'll use finger vibrato very often. Random pains in thumb and little finger (onset Bouchard node, it looks like). It doesn't seem to have done Keith Richards much harm. I haven't been to a doctor for advice. I assume there's no point. My mother spent a fair amount of money on what were clearly quack cures - dietary supplements that had to be taken 8 times a day or something stupid, usually involving bits of shark.
I have suffered arthritis in my hands for some time and have tried, I believe, most of dietry supplements on the market including those ordered from the USA. It is to accept there is no cure but then go forward, do not accept not being able to continuing playing!
I forgot to write of bowing fingers, equally of importance of course. Apart from traing away from the violin I suggest finding variations on small martelé movements with the bow up and down the stick, then there is the old crab climbing up and down the bow stick - and once more Simon Fischer has helpful exercises in his Warm Up.
I forgot to mention - when I played guitar more, I found that the exercise seemed to relieve the pain, so there are grounds for optimism.
I have had symptoms of osteoarthritis, especially in my left hand and left knee for many years. The symptoms were much worse after my doctor put me on a statin to reduce cholesterol so I stopped that and was much improved. I've been taking 2 large Kirkland Glucosamine pills with MSM for many years and it has helped somewhat. When I added a single Instaflex capsule a few years later it made a noticeable improvement over that. But Instaflex is pretty expensive (even from Amazon) so after a few years I switched to a Turmeric product ("Turmeric Curcumin with Bioperine 1500mg") from Amazon and it improved even more. So here I continue playing violin and cello and added a 16-inch viola 4 years ago about the time of my 80th birthday.
Thanks Andrew for those suggestions. There are about 70 medical varieties of Arthritis, (That's Greek for "my joints hurt"), with different treatments for each. So everyone's story will be different. My version was; Juvenile-onset Rheumatoid Arthritis starting at age 22. It put a stop to my violin lessons and professional classical career, and I switched to folk fiddle styles. I had to learn the hard way- not to do long intense practice sessions. It would only trigger a relapse. Now, several decades later, that condition has burned out, to be replaced by ordinary osteoarthritis. Please do not avoid the M.D.s. Medical and drug technology is improving all the time.
Joel, you may have tried before, but being an autoimmune disease there is some (anecdotal) evidence that addressing a pro inflammatory diet can help....
I have heart disease, so anti-inflammatories are a no-no (they constrict the blood vessels).
A serendipity discovery has led to an "invention". It is a cylindrical neodymium magnet 3/4" long and 3/4" in diameter, magnetized across its diameter (not lengthwise). For example K&J magnetics code DCCDIA $10.60. It is driven by a Walgreens "Kiss" power nail filer $10.49/kit which rotates it about its cylindrical axis. I machined a simple steel connector on a lathe to attach the magnet to the axis of the nail filer and glued it on with 5 minute epoxy to hold it securely. I have made one for myself and a few of these for friends. They report that a minute or two using it around the afflicted joint it provides pain relief immediately and this lasts for about 24 hours. I think what is happening is that the rotating magnet generates gentle current in the joint and this somehow alleviates pain. You are welcome to use the design. I will post a picture if there is interest and I can figure out how to imbed it in a post.
Ted, This sounds very interesting. Please post a picture. Sounds like the iron in our blood can serve another purpose than bring oxygen to our cells.
Andrew, I have uploaded a picture to the PostImage photosharing service. Let's see if this works:
Fantastic - I have slipped it onto my desktop and can enlarge and print it.
I suppose if it generates electric currents in the iron of the blood vessels, that might generate endorphins. That might lead to addiction, or not. I wouldn't like to guess how much your chances of leukemia might increase, or not (probably not a lot compared to life's normal risks). Magnets have been a miracle cure for a long time. Originally it was for reasons of magic, I'm sure.
A.V. The length dimension is .715". Major diameter .750", minor diameter .250" disc thickness .145" No dimension is critical except the 2 mm for the hole that fits onto the shaft.
K&J Magnetics got the magnet delivered to me in about 3 days by Nov. 2.
Andrew, Happy Birthday! I usually have the rotating axis of the magnet parallel to the surface of a finger but you can try perpendicular as well. The Dremel tool will probably rotate a lot faster than the nail filer and have a more profound effect. You might feel "tingling". If you decide to try with another nail filer, or would like a sturdier connector for the Dremel tool, I could make a metal connector and send it to you. My contact information is in my profile.