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I'm only 16----I can't fall apart ,YET!?!?!


Journey
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Hi all. I have been getting depressed lately, because I have so many ailments, most of which come from playing the fiddle. My back is bad (not from playing the fiddle, but fiddling adds to it sometimes). I have tendonitis in my left arm, carpal tunnel in both arms, and I have started getting arthritis in my finger joints. Now, my question is: Is there any way to prevent this? I have been limiting my practice and taking breaks, but I can not up and stop playing---especially during this time (recording months). Does anyone have any remedies or anything that will help the pain? Will this only continue to get worse? Thanks everyone.

Journ/Regina

www.fireweedmusic.homestead.com

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Journey, arthritis in one so young is rare. Has your doctor told you it's arthritis or do the symptoms just make you believe it is. There are some naturopathic remedies for arthritis if you are interested. Do a search for glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine HCL. Also, something that might help you with the tendonitis is MSM, another natural remedy. The glucosamine sulfate has been widely studied as an arthritis cure, but, as with any natural remedy, you should do some research before deciding if you should use it, how much, and what brand. Do a search for a Dr. Theodosakis. He has written a book on the topic. The MSM and HCL are both good anti-inflamatories and you will often find them combined with the sulfate which is a cartilage rebuilder. As for the carpal tunnel syndrome I'm not sure what can be done other than an operation. One of our receptionists at work had it done and it made a huge difference for her, but I have heard of others that don't get much relief. As for the depression, again, you should check with your doctor as it may simply be hormonal, especially at your age. I think I spent most of my high-school years under a dark cloud. There's no need to suffer, though, and there is a good message board at the WTN website where you can ask all nature of questions and get some pretty well-informed responses. Of course, stress is a major cause of depression and you may simply be feeling the effects of an over-active life. Having said that, one of the best stress relievers is exersise. Instead of practising your fiddle for a half hour why not do some weight-lifting or stair climbing instead? It will give your poor tendons a rest and the exersise should help relieve the stress. By the way, what is the verdict on your back? I recall you talking about it before, but I don't recall the diagnosis.

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Hey, I just turned 18 and have been made to STOP playing the fiddle because of my wrist. (It is constantly in pain and there is a bone that sticks out)I know how you feel, it sucks having problems.

Have you been checked out? I have been going to physio now for about 5 months. Although my problems haven't disappeared, they are certainly getting better!! My doctor was NO help...it wasn't until a physio checked me out that I started to improve.

I know that you don't want to stop, neither did I. But there came a point when

I realized that if I didn't stop playing and doing other activites that affect my wrist...I could cause serious problems and may not be able to do anything I love anymore. It could effect what you do in the future if you don't stop and get looked after.

I've been going CRAZY w/o playing, but quitting and going to physio is probably the best thing that I could have ever done for myself. (even if it doesn't seem that way now)

Whatever you end up doing, please be careful and remember your decisions now will affect your future. I hope things will work out for you.

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quote:

Originally posted by AJ:

Journey, arthritis in one so young is rare. Has your doctor told you it's arthritis or do the symptoms just make you believe it is. By the way, what is the verdict on your back? I recall you talking about it before, but I don't recall the diagnosis.

It is mainly just the symptoms that make my mother believe that it is (she told me that that is what it probably is). The joints in my fingers will ache and ache terribly, and stuff like that that my mother says are symptoms of arthritis. It is hereditary in my family, so that is another reason that she believes it to be arthritis.

As for my back: Well, nothing much has been done, really. My records were supposed to be shipped down-state to a specialist, but rather they ended up at a different health place, so they are kind of at a stand still right now. (Which, secretly, that makes me glad because I am HORRIFIED of doctors and the like. *no offense to any doctors on here* I just don't like hospitals or doctors or anything like that----call me a baby, but I literally throw fits when I have to go someplace like that. . . smile.gif ) But, they did find out at my local doctor's office that I do have scoliosis in my upper and lower back, which may or may not be corrected at my age. The correction methods would be: a) wearing a brace or :) surgery. The records were being shipped around to find out what method would be needed to correct it and if at my age it could actually be corrected (after a certain time, you basically just have to live with it---that is my understanding). But, as I said, that is at a stand still.

A good friend of mine (a musician who has studied up on physical therapy for musicians) thinks that the problem with my back is mostly muscle tension caused by a lot of stress. (The muscles in my back knot up all of the time.) So, he uses physical therapy on me to make the knots lessen. That seems to work quite well, and makes me feel better.

I have kind of gotten used to the fact that my back hurts---right now, I have to deal with that. My remedy is: when it hurts too much, go to sleep and you will forget it once you are in dreamland. smile.gif

Thanks for your help, AJ and lynzi.

Truly,

Regina

www.fireweedmusic.homestead.com

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There are serious "posture" issues in playing violin or viola. If you are self-taught and "violate" proper posture principles you can hur yourself.

A decent teacher will know right away what you are doing to your body and guide you to improved posture. Whether or not you follow the guidance is up to you.

Among other things, some people insist on holding the violin too much out frond and have to twist their left wrist and arm too much.

If all all else fails, you can consider switching to cello. It may be harder to carry, but it's much easier to hold while playing.

Andy

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Journey, just because you have pain in the area of joints doesn't always mean you have arthritis. You could actually have tendonitis or bursitis instead. Ask your doctor. Sounds like maybe you need to find a different doctor, though, as it's been some time and you still have no answer about the back problem. The longer it's left, the harder it will be to treat. As much as you hate going to doctors you may have to take the initiative and do something about it yourself. Trust me, you do not want to leave it untreated.

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Never give up! I've been on longer journeys and I havn't yet given up.

Whilst no one can responsibly say not to go to a conventional doctor to know what's happening, or blood tests etc. There are many safe and effective (and pleasant) ways today of overcoming and curing many ailments and conditions, so a young person dosn't have to be made to feel old. (nor even an old person, for that matter).

It only might be a problem of a bit of money, and of convincing those around that it is saving life and its contents, and not just an expensive luxury.

Rolfing can solve many many problems and restore youthful posture (and feel, and health) etc.

It should be an "advanced rolfer".

And many kinds of joint problems and stifnesses (including arthritis) can be helped, or even cured with glucosamine & chondroitin (natural remedies available at vitamin shops and pharmacies etc.). The problem also is that you have find the right doctor (or health practitioner) to guide you in all that.

If you are only 16, I can well understand that you have to get your parents on your side regarding these suggestions.

But don't give up or be depressed. This is all a part of your journey, and please G-d you will succeed in a big way!

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Hi Journey,It saddens me to hear of people so young having these problems.I have been a Blacksmith for many years and a semi pro musician for the better part of that time.I am now going on 65 and have always felt that my occupation would hinder my violin playing but it never happened.My dexterity seems to be as good now as ever.You would expect it would have deteriated as I have gotten older.

The point I am trying to make is this, maybe we should spend some time trying to condition the whole body with exercise and not expect it not to protest the demands of continuous pratice on our demanding instrument?

All the best Gerry.

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Posture and relaxation are crucial. I have over 40 years of playing music on various things plus a range of injuries I've recovered from. I can't help but think you're doing something inefficiently. A few suggestions. First, posture and relaxation. The Alexander and Feldenkreis systems are excellent. Second, bone alignment. Chiropractic works extremely well. Especially when combined with Rolfing or the equivalent. One must move in a relaxed manner to play for a lifetime. I used to do modern dance and yoga. Now relaxed ergonomically balanced positions are second nature. Do get coaching in the crucial areas.

Also, consider using hot soaks of your hands prior to playing. I put on latex gloves and soak.

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I think you need to overcome your dislike of doctors and find an orthopedist who treats musicians on a regular basis. String players generate a lot of business for orthopedists, so there is probably a lot of experience with the kinds of problems you are having. I used to live in St. Louis and wound up being treated by a doctor who worked with a lot if the musicians with the St. Louis Symphony. I would think that you could find the right specialist in either Ann Arbor or Detroit. Your love of music should overcome any aversion to the medical profession.

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quote:

Originally posted by HuangKaiVun:

Journey, didn't you post a picture of yourself playing a while ago?

Do you have the same basic posture?

HKV:

Yes, I did. I would suppose that I have the same posture as that, as I have not mentally changed anything since that picture was taken ---- that I know of. Do you see something in that picture that could be making some of these problems?

Thanks,

Journ

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Journey,

I had to give up playing for half a year when I was 14. That was just when I had realised that playing was something I had to take care of myself and something that I wanted to do myself -- i e started being really responsible about practicing. My fingers were either ice cold or changed between cold and warm all the time, and they hurt a lot.

Most of this was due to my playing in a strained posture that looked alright but was really tight everywhere -- like a lot of "good students" do -- and some of it had to do with my sitting badly in class, carrying my backpack on one shoulder only, sleeping in a posture that strained my shoulders and back etc. I was really scared and thought that my body was aging like crazy, but after working a lot with some good physiotherapists I could start playing again.

You're getting a lot of advice here, so I guess you don't need more, but I'd say don't fret. Get someone to videotape you while you're playing and have a look at it with your physiotherapist -- or even better, play in the clinic! Get some light excercise to start building yourself up. Don't practice when it hurts. Go to an Alexander summer institute this summer if you can. There are lots of people who know a little more than us musicians about how we're constructed, so ask them. The solution doens't have to be very dramatic, but probably you'll have to re-think and re-work some of your playing habits.

Best of luck to you!

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Hi Regina,

If you're having back problems, exericing may help. Lifting weights 3 times a week helped me tremedously with back and shoulder pain (not joint pain!) because my back and shoulders became strong.

Massage therapy will also help. Also if you can find one in your area who's convered under your insurance plan, get an ART practitioner to look at your back/joints. ART stands for Active Release Techniques, and I know a lot of people who swear by it. Make sure the person is licensed/certified. You can find out more about ART by going to any web search engine and typing "Active Release Technique". (Typing ART will take you to "art" websites, as in fine arts!)

quote:

Originally posted by Journey:

Hi all. I have been getting depressed lately, because I have so many ailments, most of which come from playing the fiddle. My back is bad (not from playing the fiddle, but fiddling adds to it sometimes). I have tendonitis in my left arm, carpal tunnel in both arms, and I have started getting arthritis in my finger joints. Now, my question is: Is there any way to prevent this? I have been limiting my practice and taking breaks, but I can not up and stop playing---especially during this time (recording months). Does anyone have any remedies or anything that will help the pain? Will this only continue to get worse? Thanks everyone.

Journ/Regina


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I've always been a big fan of heat, have you tried that, Journey? I know the medics say cold reduces swelling and such, but a nice warm heating pad on your back (or neck and shoulders) relaxes thoses muscles that pull the bones and joints out of whack. It's very comforting while you sleep. Just keep it on low or turn it off before you doze off, for safety.

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Journey,

This is sort of a follow up to your "cheap bow" question and has been touched on in the prior posts on this thread. My personal "horror" story began with recurring back pain that I see a chiro for. Nothing playing related, let's just say pregnancy 16 years ago didn't agree with my back and I've had problems ever since. During the most recent bout of seeing my chiro, this time for the most hideous headaches I've had in my life (couldn't even chew w/o severe pains in my head), I mentioned to him that everytime I played my violin, my right arm started tingling and getting sort of numb. And the longer I played, it would progress down my right side to my knee! Scary! We were nearly through with the headache related adjustments when I told him this. He put me in some funky position lying on my back on the table and he was able to identically replicate that numb feeling I was getting while playing. Turns out my right collarbone was pressing down on a nerve bundle and when I played, the position I held my head caused the pressing on the collarbone. He gave me some simple cervical stretches to do and I've modified my violin setup and that that has fixed it. So the moral of the story? Don't always look to the obvious when you have pain. Who would have guessed my collarbone was causing my right side to go numb! Between that and the headaches, I was convinced (not really though) that I was having a stroke!

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quote:

Originally posted by Sprucetop:

I've always been a big fan of heat, have you tried that, Journey?

Yes, I have tried heat. You are definitely right---it does make it feel a lot better. I heat up a therapy cornbag and use it while watching television, reading, vegging or something like that. smile.gif

Thanks,

Journ

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