Getting back in the saddle

Getting back in the saddle

As mentioned ages ago, had to lay off the box because of some shoulder nerve issues. I am planning in the next few weeks to get back into playing it again (though I will be using alot more of my small compact box which is about 6 pounds (2.71 Kg) lighter than my Connemara III). Took everyone’s kind advice and focused on the whistle. That seems to have warmed Herself’s affection for my accordions. πŸ™‚

This summer has been a train wreck in a musical sense. Whistle is fun, but…. I am a box player. The symptoms are much better. But I don’t want to go back to where I was.

So. Does anyone with experience getting back into regular play after a medical or physical problem have any thoughts?

Thanks
D.

Re: Getting back in the saddle

the thing to remember is that you need to build yourself back up to where you were, so what I always do (which is completely stupid) is to just start playing the same sort of hours I did before I got hurt. I have a really hard time remembering that two or three hours of playing really IS a shock to muscles that have had to stay idle for a few weeks.

so ease your way back

Re: Getting back in the saddle

It’s funny. I needed to record something for Michael at IrishDancemaster the other day (he is refitting the oft discussed Giustozzi compact box which will be getting more use). I thought my technique was actually cleaner and more precise…but the memory was a bit of an issue. Felt clumsy.

Is there more value in just starting off on simple stuff like the Kesh jig et. al. or just jumping in with both feet with the Sean Ryan? I am very insecure about my muscle memory.

Re: Getting back in the saddle

Damian - have you been doing any sort of physical therapy to get your shoulder strength back? Nerve issues, tendonitis and bursitis can linger about for ages, but with some proper rehab instruction you might reduce the risk of re-injury? And I would second what Nate said - ease your way back. If you feel twinges, give it a rest. Good luck!

Re: Getting back in the saddle

@ Just

Yes. alot of stretching…nerve flossing they call it. Also lots of ice packs. The bursitis really died down in the last couple of weeks. That was a big issue because the strap went right over bursa. The nerve and numbness is the tough one. Acts up at 3:30 AM til I get out of bed…not much issue the rest of the day. weird that way. Still a bit of numbness, but the pain in the shoulder is pretty much gone.

Re: Getting back in the saddle

I would echo what Nate says.
Slightly different circumstances: I came off my motorbike recently, bumped my knee badly (but no bones broken) and cracked my right ulna, forearm bone, just above the wrist. I normally run quite a lot (as a former competitive club runner) so I am only now, these past few weeks, getting back into running again, albeit just 2-4 miles a day, easy. The knee is still bruised and a bit swollen, but much less so than before, and is more mobile. Any more than 4-5 miles and I feel the knee playing up. As for the wrist, I can now play the flute again fine, and also the box (at my rather primordial level). Also I can now drive again and ride the motorbike. For once in my life I behaved wisely and came back into those physical activities slowly, just building up gradually. I’d advise anyone else to do the same.
In my experience, the only difficulty with an injury caused by the same actions, ie a repetitive strain injury (RSI), as oppposed to an injury caused by a bump, such as from biking, climbing or contact sport, is that the bump usually heals for good once it resolves itself. But an RSI might well come back, because as soon as it gets better, you start doing the same activity, using the same muscles etc, which put strain on the muscles/tendons/nerves etc in the first place. If you have a physio, you might want to ask them how you can change your stance, or some aspect of your playing, which caused the problem in the first place.
I hope that makes sense and maybe will help.

Re: Getting back in the saddle

Are you taking any anti-inflammatories? If you’re taking them anyway, you might consider taking them right before you play, as a preventative measure.

I had tendonitis in a foot in infantry school. Yeah, that was a while ago. That was miserable. But I got a prescription for an industrial-grade anti-inflammatory that was really effective.

Re: Getting back in the saddle

Trying yo stay away from the NAISD’s. I have probably abused my liver enough over the years, though early on when it hurt bad, they helped!

Re: Getting back in the saddle

Damian, I was just going to warn about the anti-inflammatories. I took them after shoulder surgery, to good effect, but my doctor warned that regular use for a prolonged period can cause severe gastrointestinal problems.
My advice for starting again is to ease back in slowly, a little more each day—and remember if you overdo it, you may not feel to bad the first day, but you will feel it on the second day after. And stretching before playing is a good idea. The lighter box should also help.
Glad to hear you are mending, and best wishes!

Re: Getting back in the saddle

I keep telling my body that I should not feel like this at 39 years of age.

My body keeps reminding me that I have not been 39 for a long time LOL.

Re: Getting back in the saddle

I am getting near hitting 60 myself, and already, I can see that 60 is going to hit me right back! πŸ™‚

Re: Getting back in the saddle

Yes - the NAIDS can do some damage on their own after a while. However, a good old bag of frozen peas on the sore area is one of the best medicines money can buy. Ice, Ice Baby.

Re: Getting back in the saddle

Al
I Can truthfully say I am not 60….. but not much more than that, truthfully.

Yes JNA….But peas with dinner every night gets real old real quick. So I suppose I need to explore the vegetable freezer at the grocery.

Re: Getting back in the saddle

What Danny said about RSI is for real. Now is a great time to go back to basics on fundamentals. You know how you said your technique felt cleaner? I remember when I joined the Navy, that first year I never even got to see a guitar. When I finally got my hands on one, I noticed that a lot of bad habits weren’t there anymore. It was like I was playing the way I knew I should and not the way I was used to. It surprised me.

It’s funny how holding your shoulder differently, or exactly where to put your elbow is hard to change when you play a lot, but this is a good time to fool around with that sort of stuff

good luck, brother. I really mean that.

Re: Getting back in the saddle

Haven’t posted here in ages, but happened to stumble in. I used to teach accordion, and the physical hazards are many. I suggest that you book a couple of sessions with either a physical therapist or a postural specialist of some kind (Alexander Technique, Feldenkries, etc.) with the intention of letting them watch how you sit, stand, hold your instrument, etc. After this long break is the perfect time for you to make some changes to these things which might increases your chances of long-term survival. Be prepared to find some of the changes they suggest to feel very awkward. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide whether the changes they suggest are possible and reasonable, but it’s worth a try.

Locating any unnecessary tension in any part of your body, and learning to let go of it will also help.

Posted by .

Re: Getting back in the saddle

Nate and Kris- Thanks. Sounds like I have to do some homework on who knows those sorts of techniques here in Chi Town.

Once I start back up on box with some time with John on basic body/hand/box positions again. But oddly, we’ve discovered for him being much taller than me (and a superb ‘every instrument’ player) my fingers are somewhat longer than his (and twenty something years older). He and I have gone back and forth on hand position and such because I can’t do some of his body positions because he and I are assembled differently. (I guess that comes from his family being from the southwest County of Clare, and my family being from the easternmost County of Krakow πŸ˜‰ ).

A new learning curve I suppose.

Re: Getting back in the saddle

Following up on kris’ comment, "Locating any unnecessary tension in any part of your body, and learning to let go of it will also help." Something I do which helps me achieve this is to be aware of how I’m breathing. Whether it’s playing an instrument, performing physical work, or in social situations if I constrict my breathing, or stop breathing temporarily, it can produce specific tension depending on how I’m moving or holding my body. When I recognize it’s happening & then breath more naturally that helps me let go of the unnecessary tension.

Zip, did you contact The Medical Program for Performing Artists (MPPA)
http://www.ric.org/conditions/specialized-services/performing-arts/ per Tracie’s response in a previous thread?

Posted by .

Re: Getting back in the saddle

"Yes - the NAIDS can do some damage on their own after a while. However, a good old bag of frozen peas on the sore area is one of the best medicines money can buy. Ice, Ice Baby."

I agree here. Frozen peas work very well, however, when a relative decided to ice his groin area during a memorial service, it sent a lot of folks trying to muffle uncontrolled giggling. I recommend the frozen pea thing done in private. πŸ™‚

Anyway, I have to constantly stay on top of knee, hip, wrist and finger issues …. caused by a number of things. I’ve been able to quit the NAID business by taking high doses of Tumeric. It takes several months to build up in your system, but it’s the best thing I’ve found to keep pain and inflammation checked. You can buy concentrated forms anyplace that sells herbs and such. No more NAIDs for me. Eating enough curry to get the proper tumeric dose might turn a person bright orange.

Re: Getting back in the saddle

NAIDS? Do you mean NSAID - non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs?

I’ve been dealing with recurrent RSI for over twenty-five years now and the most beneficial things I’ve found are ice and careful stretching. Also, alcohol and sugar seem to aggravate the problem.

Re: Getting back in the saddle

Yes, NSAID … oops interwebs destroying my spelling and grammar. To be sure, steroids are the absolute worst, don’t care what any doctor says. Guess that’s why people take NSAIDs like Ibuprofen instead. Interesting about alcohol and sugar …. one in the same really …. aggravating the problem, Bob.

Re: Getting back in the saddle

Bob

Alcohol is a different metabolism mechanism than sugar. It turns into acetone that is metabolized by the liver. Thus cirrhosis if taken to excess. Sugar affects insulin and gets metabolized into fat. thus the link to diabetes.

neither terribly pleasant.

NSAID’s just have a bad habit of killing off the liver, on there own or in taken in combination with alcohol.

I used to be highly reliant on ibuprofin -severely arthritic hip that was solved by the bionic hip…wonderful pain killer. So I got to be an expert on it πŸ™‚