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New to EC and forearm pain


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#1 Guest_mattCD_*

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 12:15 PM

So can I assume that the faint pain in my forearm around the elbow is from playing the concertina? I am an exterminator so now trying to lift my sprayer out of the truck bed is a pain. I have been playing since august. If I shorten practice times and frequecy will this go away? Are their any other bellow drive free reeds that would be less of a problem?

#2 JimLucas

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 01:32 PM

So can I assume that the faint pain in my forearm around the elbow is from playing the concertina?

I wouldn't assume that.
I would consult a professional.

Is the problem in only one arm, or both?
For what it's worth, I've been playing English concertina (also other kinds, but mainly English) for decades, and I've never had that problem, not even in the very beginning.

I am an exterminator so now trying to lift my sprayer out of the truck bed is a pain. I have been playing since august. If I shorten practice times and frequecy will this go away?

Worth a try, certainly, but what if the cause isn't your concertina practice? The problem could get worse while you're trying that "cure". Again, I would suggest consulting a doctor who specializes in such problems. The cause could be mechanical, but I wouldn't rule out some sort of infection.

If it is mechanical, it could conceivably be from something else in your life. But if it is from the concertina, a professional might be able to suggest helpful changes in the way you hold the instrument, the way you move your arms to work the bellows, even a change in your posture. I find that a seemingly minor change in my posture can affect the motion of my arms, hands, and fingers far more than I would have suspected before I started paying attention to such things.

Are their any other bellow drive free reeds that would be less of a problem?

Per se, no.

You seem to be assuming that everyone experiences the same stresses and strains with the various instruments. In fact, we aren't all the same -- our bodies are different shapes, and through different activities we have developed our muscles differently, -- so the only sure way to tell if one instrument will give you less trouble than another is to try each one yourself.

#3 Greg Jowaisas

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 04:48 PM

Matt,
What make of concertina are you playing? (All bellows and response are not created equal)

My experience has been that it takes awhile (years in my case) to develop the musculature and supporting tissue along with reasonable technique. In my case practicing too long, hard, and fast until my body and technique caught up with my desire was a recipe for aches pains and injury.

Jim is right to recommend seeing a professional to help sort things out. My experience was the doctor didn't offer any immediate help but his referral to the physical therapists opened a pathway to recovery. The P.T. people were wonderful and offered practical advice and exercises and stretches I still use years later.

Body changes and aging are part of the equation as well. What was possible in duration or exertion 10 years ago may or may not be the same. Sometimes the mind "ages slower" than the rest of the body.

And again, as Jim suggested, there might be other factors besides the concertina causing your discomfort. One of my biggest concertina setbacks occurred in a gym setting doing an exercise That I felt would aid my bellows work!!

I hope you get healthy and are able to keep playing. It all takes time. Enjoy the journey.

Greg

Edited by Greg Jowaisas, 13 November 2010 - 04:49 PM.


#4 Guest_mattCD_*

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 09:14 PM

Well at 33 I have found that the aches and pains are just starting. I hope its just coincidence. I love the concertina. I play a Jackie.

#5 Greg Jowaisas

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 12:43 AM

Well at 33 I have found that the aches and pains are just starting. I hope its just coincidence. I love the concertina. I play a Jackie.


Matt,
You are in your prime. Plenty of time for aches and pains in the coming years.

I have not played a Jackie so I cannot comment directly. The Concertina Connection also makes the Rochelle anglo and I have found the bellows can be "challenging" on that instrument. Both Jackie and Rochelle are good value introductory instruments but once your concertina commitment is clear a decently reconditioned vintage english might be desirable.

In the meantime listening to your body while figuring out what might be causing your pain ("It hurts when I do this, Doc." "Well, don't do that!")should be your priority.

I'm in northern KY. Drop me a personal message (click the upper left name box) It may be possible for me to play your instrument and comment on your technique.

Greg

#6 JimLucas

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 04:21 AM

Well at 33 I have found that the aches and pains are just starting. I hope its just coincidence. I love the concertina. I play a Jackie.

I. too, hope that it's just coincidence, or at least that it's a result of "bad" habits of movement that can be corrected.

I passed 33 long ago, and I have no persistent pains. I have occasionally experienced pain of one sort or another in various parts of my body, but aside from sore throats and other such infections, they've always been cured without medication or surgery, and without abandoning any activity. In fact, the more active I am, the more resistant I am to such things.

You are in your prime. Plenty of time for aches and pains in the coming years.

Oh dear, I hope not. Chronic pain isn't inevitable, at least not for everyone.

In the meantime listening to your body while figuring out what might be causing your pain ("It hurts when I do this, Doc." "Well, don't do that!")should be your priority.

But beware. The "Well, don't do that!" advice can be oversimplified. E.g., it shouldn't be simplified to "don't press the bellows" when the problem could be solved by (e.g.) "hold your left elbow a little higher and closer to your body when you press the bellows."

I'm in northern KY. Drop me a personal message (click the upper left name box) It may be possible for me to play your instrument and comment on your technique.

That sounds like a great offer, Matt. Take him up on it, if you can.

#7 michael sam wild

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 06:39 AM

I think in the early stages of a lot of instruments it is getting posture etc correct. Later you can get repetitive strain so take it easy. If you have an injury it seems to accentuate it.

I agree, consult experienced players re set up, posture etc.

Good luck ( and don't breathe in those sprays!B) )

Edited by michael sam wild, 24 November 2010 - 06:32 AM.


#8 Chris Drinkwater

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 11:04 AM

Good advice from everyone so far. Let's hope you can find a way to exterminate your pain! ;)

Chris

#9 Rod

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 11:26 AM

Good advice from everyone so far. Let's hope you can find a way to exterminate your pain! ;)

Chris


Can we safely assume that Matt is not attempting to play his instrument standing, with no support provided by playing seated with the weight of the instrument taken on one or other thigh. My arms would very soon give in if I attempted to play standing, as some others choose to do.

#10 iradcliffe

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 07:44 AM

Well at 33 I have found that the aches and pains are just starting. I hope its just coincidence. I love the concertina. I play a Jackie.

I graduated from a Jackie this summer to a Lachenal, and this has transformed my playing. The Jackie is physically demanding in comparison, my pain was mainly in the thumbs!

#11 Larry Stout

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 10:20 AM

I graduated from a Jackie this summer to a Lachenal, and this has transformed my playing. The Jackie is physically demanding in comparison, my pain was mainly in the thumbs!


I started on a Stagi and noticed some pain as I built up the strength in my thumbs. The Wheatstones I play now are (mostly) lighter and more supple, and I no longer notice the muscle pain. My guess is that I've built up the strength and keep it up by playing regularly.

#12 Guest_mattCD_*

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:09 AM

I always play setting down (although I did play setting on the bed for a while, no more) in a chair with my EC setting on my right knee(is this right? I am right handed). The only thing I have noticed is my right thumb strap is conciderably looser than the left and I wonder if I am applying to much pressure on the pinky to compensate. But thats on my right arm the pain is in my left. However I had been playing an Hohner anglo (JUNK) 2 months before with no pain accept in the wrist. I will say when I play my arm does not hurt. The pain is when I pick things up like my 2 year old daughter......hmmm she has put on five pounds in the past two months. I now think that my arm pain could be from her bieng right on the edge of too big to pack. Reducing my practice time to 15 minutes ever other day has helped reduce the pain. It could be that I hurt it doing something else and it just adds to the inflammation. However 15 min every other day is aggrevating for me.

My brother lives in Cincinnati so it sounds like the next time I go to see him I will have to visit Greg.

#13 Guest_mattCD_*

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 01:31 PM

Another question. When moving the bellows should I be using my wrist, elbow or shoulder? Now that I think about it the tutor says the EC should make a U when veiwed from above, so that would imply that the wrist should be doing the moving?

#14 Michael Marino

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 05:00 AM

Pain in the forearm can have a huge amount of causes. Playing the concertina can often show up where problems in structure or function are though I don't really consider them a cause. Now first to list my bias' I hold a DC (Doctorate in Chiropractic) was am but exam for the diplomat in sports sciences (an Olympic level certification, that I need to retake some of the classes due to ill health keeping me from finishing the program). I have 8+ yrs of professional practice both general and sports structure.

Okay that out of the way, go get it checked out and see if you have some low level problems in the joints or fascia of the forearm/wrist. Personally I would not go to the family GP/MD as they tend not to deal with corrective treatment of neuro-mechanical problems and will either give you tried and true don't do that or here are these pain med's and don't do that and lastly refer you to either the physiotherapist or an orthopedic surgeon. Since you are in the States, look around for a Chiro' or Osteo' that are sports trained (most likely to have training in extremities) and see what they can do for you (you might be surprised). Other than that I can't really help as not being able to physically look at the problem and properly exam limits greatly any valid opinion that can be given.

Michael

#15 Guest_HallelujahAl!_*

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 01:07 PM

When I started out on a Jackie the pain was quite bad - when I graduated to my first Wheatstone I was delighted to discover how pain free it was. I can't figure out whether it was the instrument, or the fact that I'd built up the relevant muscles through my exertions on the Jackie? Anyway, as people are saying I'd get things checked out - or even cheaper, stop playing for a bit and see if you get any respite. If so, then I'd suggest upgrading to a more 'playable' instrument. Another thing to look at may be the way you're holding the thing, and perhaps getting a kneck strap a la Pauline de Snoo may be a solution as most of the weight is then taken off the fingers etc. Hope this helps!
AL




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