Neck keeps popping when I look right.

November 8, 2018, 10:53 PM · For the last few days my neck has been popping whenever I look to the right. It is becoming an annoyance since it happens EVERY time I turn right. There is no pain involved with the popping noise. I have a slight suspicion that it may be from me clenching with my chin on the violin. I really can’t afford to go to the doctor right now. I know none of you can give medical advice, but have any of you experienced something like this?

Replies (7)

November 9, 2018, 12:06 AM · If you're clenching, you may need a higher chin rest. I need a high set up even though I'm small because my violin is unusually heavy (which I'm sure by now most of the usual commenters know), and I used to clench really hard in order to keep it up. I was using a brandless, generic chin rest and a Kun, so I switched to a taller Guarneri chin rest.

There are other tall chin rests that you can buy, but I forget the brands. Anyone who knows, please comment! I know the one was ~$60, so if you can afford that, then I'd skip it and see somebody about your neck. You can also get a Strad pad to stick on your chin rest (via Velcro) and it'll give you a bit more height, and some cushion! It'll also prevent the violin hickey. I had to start using one because my hickey was bad and my sister's wedding was coming up soon!

I used to think that I needed a tall shoulder rest too, but I got some great advice on here. You should use a lower shoulder rest and a high chin rest so your arms don't have to work so hard (the higher the SR, the higher the instrument, so the higher your bow arm needs to be to reach the low strings, and the higher your left hand needs to be to have good posture. It also makes higher positions tougher, especially if you're small like me).

If you can't afford to see a chairopractor (they do get pricey!) you can see a massage therapist. They usually don't go through insurance, but have reasonable rates. My girl charges $40 for a 60-min session. Doing that every couple weeks could sort you out. They're trained and have a deep knowledge of the human body, so there's little chance they'll hurt you.

Hope this helps!

November 9, 2018, 2:56 AM · It is very normal, and if you don't feel pain or serious stiffness, there's nothing to worry about.
There are many reasons (from fluid to tendons), behind the noise. Almost every reason comes from not enough flexibility of the soft tissue for the posture or activity.
Do regularly neck "stretching" (Up Down, left right, side-side) and the tendons and tissue will be more adaptable for the posture. In any case, daily neck (and back) stretching is something I would recommend to everybody.
Head movements can cause moments of dizziness, so do the exercises sitting down and in a solid position.
November 11, 2018, 11:03 AM · I think it’s more my shoulder rest than chin rest. I’ve tried taller chin rests and didn’t really like them. Hopefully this isn’t permanent.
November 11, 2018, 11:50 AM · Good advice above. Definitely do neck stretches. In terms of the chin rest, can you get a firm and comfortable grip on it without clenching? If not, the chin rest may not be the right shape for you.
November 12, 2018, 9:31 AM · It sounds like you’re developing some neck arthritis. I agree with others that strict avoidance of tension, a good setup, and stretching a lot (resources on line) may help. It can get chronic, and very intrusive otherwise. If you have any coldness or tingling in your fingers it’s especially important to address it. How old are you?
November 12, 2018, 9:58 AM · I’m 26, I sure hope it’s not arthritis lol.
November 12, 2018, 11:56 AM · If you’re a healthy 26, I agree that that it’s most likely you’re putting too much downward pressure on the chinrest, either by habit or because the setup doesn’t fit you. If you have a teacher or even someone knowledgeable at your violin shop, have them review CR and SR options. It sounda like things are too low - something you can see for yourself in the mirror if your head is strongly canted to the left or raising your left shoulder. You’re young enough that the crepitus (noise) should go away when things are right.

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