How to deal with hand and arm pain

August 11, 2017, 6:58 AM · Hello everyone
In my two years of playing the violin I've never really felt any physical pain;until now.
It started three days ago when I noticed that my right forearm and pinky started hurting. Yesterday I also got the same pain on my left forearm.
The weird thing is that it reacts especially sensitive to coldness and to playing "fast" passages. I don't know how it happened.
The only thing coming into my mind is that I got a new bow this week and that I've tried out a new bow hold.
Scared that I could hurt myself seriously I've only practiced some scales and a few etudes (ca. 30-50 min.). Have you ever experienced something like this? And should I continue to practice or should I just do a small break?

Replies (10)

August 11, 2017, 8:35 AM · Maybe ask a doctor and determine if it's a medical issue. If you have a teacher, ask him/her about the pain. It is totally possible to play without any pain or discomfort, assuming you have no other medical conditions/injuries (which we can try to get around if problematic).
Edited: August 11, 2017, 9:57 AM · "The only thing coming into my mind is that I got a new bow this week and that I've tried out a new bow hold."

I would consider this first and go back to your old bow and bow hold for a while. If that solves it then try your old bow hold with your new bow. In my experience changes of as little as one millimeter (1/25 inch) can affect our bodies. The classically prescribed bow holds can be great - but they can hurt some people - and there are other ways to skin that cat.

August 12, 2017, 7:37 AM · ..without hurting the cat?....
August 12, 2017, 7:41 AM · It hurts the cat a little - depends on what you are trying to play.
Edited: August 12, 2017, 7:45 AM · I highlighted exactly the phrase that Andrew did and pressed "copy" before noticing that he did. When you're trying out a new bow hold and bow the place to start is Kreutzer No. 2 at a very slow metronome marking. You probably earned yourself a couple days' holiday. And when you come back, go back to your old bow hold until your lesson.
August 12, 2017, 10:48 AM · Take it easy....
Re-visit your posture and bow hold / technique.
Take a look at your shoulders - problems in forearm are sometimes consequence of "C" shoulders - leaning forward.
It is a good idea to see a physiotherapist as a preventative step.
Not to mention your teacher - the 1st line of help.
August 12, 2017, 12:22 PM · Make sure you stretch folks.
Edited: August 12, 2017, 10:35 PM · Is it definitely from violin playing? It's worth asking if you did anything unusual just before it started -- like pulling a suitcase, lifting something; carrying something etc. Sometimes pain that seems like it's related to violin playing can start from something external to your playing, and if that's the case, just stop playing for a bit while things heal. Of course, if it is caused by playing, then you need to analyze and see what is causing it, so you can adjust your technique.
August 13, 2017, 11:11 AM · Thanks everyone for your answers! Today the pain went away. As Laurie mentioned it could have been from carrying something heavy.If the pain returns I will definitely make sure to visit the doctor.
August 14, 2017, 6:52 PM · Hi! I am so glad your pain has gone away. Stretching is incredibly important for violinists who play constantly (I have had tendonitis 3 times in 10 years because of violin and computer and writing). One thing to consider is scheduling monthly or bi-monthly massage therapist visits. I won't lie, it hurts when they are stretching you out. However, especially for the neck, it helps a lot in reducing and keeping away the pain. I actually just went last week to see a massage therapist because my whole left arm was starting to go numb because of a pinched nerve.

Definitely go see your doctor too though because sometimes physical therapy is needed first.

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