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Breve

Right Elbow Soreness

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Hi, the muscles around my right elbow joint become sore after playing. Of course I'll stop and stretch and massage the area but this an ongoing side effect playing. Has anyone else experienced this?

 

I play an entry level anglo - a Stagi. The bellows are stiff and sometimes it feels I'm fighting them and it probably doesn't have the best action either. I've realised the fast jerky pull/push is what's contributing to this soreness, plus holding elbow at a certain angle - roughly 90 degrees, so I'm rethinking the fingerings to include more runs of notes on the draw or on the pull and reduce the jerkiness a little (every minimal change must help, right?). Trying to play louder - getting more air - exacerbates this. I usually play softly because I live in an apartment but on the weekend I was playing with other musicians and so had to be louder and noticed how much the soreness bothered me.

 

I can't see how I can alter the angle my arm needs to be to play. This soreness happens regularly from using computer - the posture, typing etc. So alas I've become used to it but it is more noticeably sore after playing. Clearly I need to change what I'm doing!

 

Any other suggestions apart from upgrading to a better concertina which is a future goal but not possible for now. Arm strengthening exercises - resistance bands, hand weights? Shorter practice sessions? Thanks.

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It’s likely “tennis elbow,” an inflammation of the bony part of the elbow where the tendons of the muscles that extend the forearm attach. Go to any pharmacy and buy a tennis elbow strap, which decreases tension at the attachment, and see if that helps.

 

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Posted (edited)

I imagine you to be 'new to playing the concertina' , if that is the case then the pains are probably quite nomal. I find whenever I take up an new instrument there is a period, sometimes of quite long duration, where sets of muscles need to get used to the new demands on them.

 

Yes a better concertina will help: there were no such things as cheap 'beginner' concertinas when I started, it was Vintage or nothing so perhaps I don't understand the level of pain you may encounter.

 

Yes, shorter practice sessions will help. I have recently taken up the Chromatic Button Accordeon and I try to limit the duration of my practice sessions to 15minutes several times a day at the start.... it helped.

 

Good luck . :)

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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Thanks to you both for replying. Now I have an idea of what to call this condition. Reading up about it, strengthening arm and shoulder muscles is necessary - so I'd better get onto that. I'll shorten my practice time and look into a strap also. I'm fairly new but not a complete beginner. The muscles should've adjusted by now but clearly I need to do some extra exercises. My goal is to save up for an upgrade and in the meantime work diligently on the Stagi to literally outgrow it. Of course I realize progress is faster on a better instrument but I'll have to be patient. I tested a friend's Norman on the weekend and could feel the difference in bellows and action. It confirmed my decision to upgrade for long term playing comfort.

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Hey, Breve:

I am not a doctor or anything close, but you want to watch those repetitive motion injuries. You want to keep the swelling down, so before a long session, you might take an anti-inflammatory (like Advil) and after a long session, ice your elbow (best thing is a package of frozen peas wrapped in a towel---you don't want to freeze the skin). Also, it's very chic these days to support strained muscles and joints with KT tape. My daughter uses it to help prevent injuries to her feet (she's a percussive dancer) and it seems to help. Plus, at $15 per roll, I feel like I'm helping the economy. :) Here's some info on taping your elbow: https://www.livestrong.com/article/265398-taping-technique-for-tennis-elbow/

 

If it keeps bothering you, talk to your doctor; she may give you a referral to a physiotherapist.

 

Best, of luck,

 

Christine

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Thank you Christine for the advice. I meant to reply sooner to your post but have been travelling.

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