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Injury and Treatments (Read 382 times)

Offline ordinateur

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Injury and Treatments
« on: March 05, 2021, 01:07:42 AM »
Hi all, I'm new around here and I signed up just to ask this question. Please let me know if I posted this in the wrong area.

So just for starters, I am a junior in high school and am a very advanced level player.

Currently I'm working on Ravel's Sonatine and Liszt's Mephisto Waltz no. 1 (as assigned to me by my teacher).

I've been getting this "tennis elbow" like feeling very frequently and its starting to freak me out. I think it has something to do with practicing the Mephisto Waltz so often.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to reduce this kind of pain and what I can do differently when I practice to avoid injuries like this? Also just for future reference for anyone else who injures themselves, what other injuries and treatments to those injuries has anyone had experience with?

Thanks for any responses. Once again I'm new here and just signed up to post this inquiry. If I'm not using proper forum etiquette (or whatever) please just correct me!  ;D

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Injury and Treatments
«Reply #1 on: March 05, 2021, 02:10:38 AM »
Any pain from playing/practicing the piano is something you need to change immediately. It is not healthy to allow this to happen and it will almost always get worse if you persist. You need to practice less or make changes to how you are going through your routines. It is ok to feel a little burning when playing vigorous sections (this is especially true if you are still working on the lightest touch to produce it) but multiple repeats for extended periods is just going to do no good. It is like someone who starts out doing weight lifting, if they over do it they are just going to hurt themselves not help. Ask your teacher how to make more economical practice sessions with the Mephisto and don't repeat tough sections at full force.
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Online ranjit

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Re: Injury and Treatments
«Reply #2 on: March 05, 2021, 02:48:46 AM »
Not an advanced player myself, but based on what I've read and experienced:

Repetitive strain injuries, such as the ones which can be caused by piano playing (and tennis elbow is one of them) basically do not go away simply by medication. They require you to change your approach to playing, which at your level would typically be some kind of slight adjustment.

You don't seem to have an injury yet, which is good, but you need to try and fix what's going on. I've had some pain in my wrist once, and I was able to overcome it, but it gave me quite a scare. You need to experiment a lot, and preferably videotape yourself and try and see if there is something which might be causing the strain. I also think that the causes of strain can be rather individual, so by all means ask your teacher for help, but you should also simultaneously pay attention to how you are feeling in your arms, wrists, etc. while playing.

Just try to play normally, and then the second you feel pain or a precursor to pain, try and analyze where it's coming from. I think you can usually spot the problem and solve it if you are diligent, so I wouldn't worry too much -- just make sure to not let it worsen!

I know opinion on these is somewhat divided, but you could also look up Taubman's videos on technique on Youtube. You don't have to take it literally, but it might give you some ideas.

Just my 2 cents.

Offline j_tour

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Re: Injury and Treatments
«Reply #3 on: March 05, 2021, 03:25:58 AM »
Here's all I know, is that anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Advil) really only are effective for their anti-inflammatory properties when taken at 800mg 3 times per day over about three weeks or more.

No, I'm not a medical doctor, but that's the way I've heard NSAIDs described for anti-inflammatory properties from friends who are medical doctors, in addition to paid consultants whom I hire. many of whom are indeed internal medicine specialists with the appropriate licenses and degrees.  In other words, doctors of medicine.

I do not find these NSAIDs especially effective for short-term pain relief, such as plantar fasciitis.  Although they can be palliative, they aren't "painkillers," exactly  But for reducing inflammation, such drugs need to be taken regularly for a certain amount of time, and at fairly high doses.  In the US, I use a prescription ibuprofen at 800mg, but it's the same as the box you might find at a grocery or druggist, give or take some supposedly inert fillers and such, and I live in near constant pain thanks to my work. 

So, your mileage may certainly vary.

However, if you have a regular physician, I'd suggest consulting him or her.

And, the obvious, stop doing whatever it is that causes you pain.
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Offline brogers70

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Re: Injury and Treatments
«Reply #4 on: March 05, 2021, 08:02:19 PM »
In addition to the other good advice here, I'd suggest having your teacher watch you with an eye to any aspects of your technique that might be causing injury. Also, while it's very possible that something about your piano playing caused this, don't eliminate the possibility that some other source of injury is responsible. I once had a really painful right hand and was worried about what I had done at the piano to mess it up so badly. My teacher watched me play and said she really couldn't find anything tense or harmful in my technique and stated asking questions about what else I'd been doing. It turned out that I'd recently stacked about 4 cords (a few tons) of firewood grabbing the logs end on, one by one in my right hand, and hadn't noticed any pain right away, indeed hadn't noticed it until I started playing the piano. A few weeks of working on pieces for the left hand alone and I was good as new.

Offline ordinateur

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Re: Injury and Treatments
«Reply #5 on: March 05, 2021, 08:44:56 PM »
In addition to the other good advice here, I'd suggest having your teacher watch you with an eye to any aspects of your technique that might be causing injury. Also, while it's very possible that something about your piano playing caused this, don't eliminate the possibility that some other source of injury is responsible. I once had a really painful right hand and was worried about what I had done at the piano to mess it up so badly. My teacher watched me play and said she really couldn't find anything tense or harmful in my technique and stated asking questions about what else I'd been doing. It turned out that I'd recently stacked about 4 cords (a few tons) of firewood grabbing the logs end on, one by one in my right hand, and hadn't noticed any pain right away, indeed hadn't noticed it until I started playing the piano. A few weeks of working on pieces for the left hand alone and I was good as new.

I had a lesson and this is exactly what happened. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with my technique. I'm at a loss as to what could possible be causing it though. I'm going to try readjusting myself while practicing just to see if it helps. I think its from practicing at full force (like what one of the comments said above). I also thought about it, and it's more of a muscle pressure pain than tennis elbow (considering tennis elbow is a tendon related injury)

Offline ted

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Re: Injury and Treatments
«Reply #6 on: March 05, 2021, 11:22:37 PM »
It might also be appropriate to quietly point out that the worst sort of injury from piano playing, focal dystonia, usually has no pain at all. It is quite possible, often through the best of intention, to push the physical part of playing beyond the capability of the brain to cope with it, resulting in partial loss of motor control, sometimes sudden and catastrophic. I believe this is what happened to me around thirteen years ago and the four year battle to get rid of it I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Unlike the painful injuries it does not go away with rest.
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Offline anacrusis

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Re: Injury and Treatments
«Reply #7 on: March 05, 2021, 11:38:44 PM »
I had a lesson and this is exactly what happened. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with my technique. I'm at a loss as to what could possible be causing it though. I'm going to try readjusting myself while practicing just to see if it helps. I think its from practicing at full force (like what one of the comments said above). I also thought about it, and it's more of a muscle pressure pain than tennis elbow (considering tennis elbow is a tendon related injury)

If your teacher doesn't think there is any problem in your technique, I would consider getting a second opinion. You shouldn't be getting tennis elbow or muscle pain - or any kind of pain - from playing the Mephisto Waltz, even if it is, as you say, at full force, or a lot of practise, as playing loudly can be done without forcing/straining.

See if there is a teacher in your area who has a proven track record of teaching technique and helping people and see if they can see something your teacher can't. I'd also consider seeing a specialist in sports medicine/musicians health/physiotherapy so you can catch whatever is going on early and change your habits. Actual injuries are no fun and can take a long time to heal, so it may be beneficial to be proactive about your playing health.