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renaissance

Help! Playing in pain.

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Hi,

I am in the middle of performing in 3 pit orchestras. I have long rehearsals every day. I don't normally have a problem with playing for many hours in a single day, but it starts bothering my left shoulder when it is every day. I switched to a Kun Bravo this year, and it seems a little better than it was last year. The pain is localized in my left shoulder only, bow arm is fine. When I tried to play without a shoulder rest, the pain increased.

Has anyone else had this problem, and if so, how was it solved? Quitting is not an option right now, I have no backup and it's a little late to try to find one.

I'll be going to Shar's this afternoon to shop around. Would a play on air shoulder rest make it better?

All opinions/suggestions welcome!

Thanks, Lisa

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I was recently diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis in my right shoulder. I'm only 33. It was quite a shock. Apparently, the injury I suffered to it while playing hockey when I was 20 is part of the problem. I was having a lot of pain while playing guitar and several *stinging* pains come and go while playing the violin. Last Friday I had a cortisone shot right into the cartiledge/joint area. It's helped significantly. So has the Tylenol I take around an hour before playing. You might check with your doctor to make sure you don't have something chronic.

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Go to the health food store and get some Arnica.

It won't hurt and will most likely help you.

Also follow the advice of your physician. Pain is the body's way of saying something is wrong help me.

Hope you find a remedy and feel better.

Don Crandall

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Vermillion, I sounds like you and I have had similar experiences. Call it a violin lesson: How difficult it is to stop playing completely - but that is where you wind up if you do not take measures to stop the torture to your body. Alexander Technique is great. If you think you cannot stop - you are just playing yourself into a possible dead end where you will have no choice to stop. Some of these injuries can take not just a year, but many years of not playing at all to recover from. PS: Cortisone shots are not a fix but a way to fool you into thinking you can play again for a bit - meanwhile your body keeps going downhill. Rest and healthy lifestyle was the answer for me. I wound up not being able to play at all for almost a year and hope I have learned my lesson.

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Several years ago I experienced a torn rotator cuff and that pretty much crippled my left arm and shoulder. The specialist decided to try physical therapy, claiming that recovery would be better than with surgery . It worked, but as with all serious injuries it never improved to the point that I feel like it didn't happen.

I normally have to hold my violin a little farther forward than would be conventional. Naturally this creates problems with shoulder rests falling off the shoulder but for now it's my only way to play without pain. I spoke with a violin shop today and they recommended I try the following rests: Bon Musica, Mach 1, and Wolf Secundo in comnjunction with the folowing chin rests: Whittner Ultra and SAS. Many shops will let you order a selection and return the ones that don't work for you.

Don't underestimate the benifits of stretching and toning exercises coupled with timely rest and relaxation. In the end that's how they got my left arm to work again!

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I have been diagnosed with tendinitis in my left shoulder. It is an inflamed rotater cuff tendon--from what they tell me, there are many muscles and tendons in your rotator cuff, and if you are overusing any of them, they will hurt and eventually become inflamed. I've been going to PT and been doing exercises to strengthen ther other muscles to get them to help the overworked one. They are especially focusing on my trapezius (sp?) muscle, the big muscle in the back, to strengthen it and get it to do the work of holding up the violin. Unfortunately, I have created this by ignoring pain in my shoulder for 3 years, and I have had to stop playing to let the muscle heal. That is very hard, and very depressing, and I have been in tears about it many times. But, I want to play pain free so badly, that I'm willing to do it. I have also started Alexander technique lessons, and I'm feeling a benefit already after 2 sessions. I can't wait to go for the 3rd lesson on Wednesday! So, I'm not sure if I have described all the medical facts correctly, but that is what is happening with my sore left shoulder. Good luck to you!!!!

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