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Great session last night. I was, as they say in Nova Scotia, givin'er. After one set, a dull pain started in the palm of my left hand, just left of centre. Felt like a pinched nerve or something, I iced it (lucky we were at a bar), took an Advil, and the pain dissipated, but left behind a faint bruise. Today the hand feels mostly fine---the bruise is a bit tender. Weird, hey?

 

Any amateur diagnosticians out there?

 

Christine

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Posted (edited)

I will just comment that a friend wanted to try my concertina the other day and after messing with it for a half hour or so had just the pain you describe. I credited it to the stress of having not settled into a comfort level with the instrument, that he was tightening something he shouldn't have, to hold the instrument in an death grip that wasn't necessary.

 

Anyway, so one thing to ask is whether there was anything different about your seating position that might have thrown you off? An unusually higher stool or something like that?

Edited by mdarnton

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Mdarnton:

Thanks for your reply. Yes, I do tend to play tense and have to remind myself to bring my shoulders down from my ears from time to time. But now that I think of it, the only real difference last night was that the button accordionist who usually plays next to me (covers me) was away, so I was perhaps feeling a bit exposed.

 

Christine

 

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What system are you playing Christine? I am asuming Anglo (quite possibly wrongly). The stresses and strains of playing English concertina are well documented on this site, but less so Anglo and Duet. If it's a system with lower notes largely on the left hand side is there an element of trying to emphasise/underplay these which is adding to the tension and consequent pain.

 

Glad to hear it passed easily at any rate.

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Myrtle's cook, I play a Wheatstone-layout Anglo. It's a good little box, but as I'm learning more tunes, I'm using that pinkie f# on the left more and more. And, like many of us, I am working on my laptop for hours a day. I think I need to remember to stretch throughout the day, do some hand yoga, and importantly, I need to relax when I'm playing.

 

What are some tips you use to get into a zen-like relaxed playing stance?

 

Thanks,

 

Christine

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Hi Christine

 

I expect there are those who will say practice and confidence - and I' sure that's a large part of it.

 

As a sufferer of chronic pain for some years I stumbled upon Progressive Muscular Relaxation as means of managing tension/stress when playing/performing, as well as condition management. There are various manefestations of this in on line resources, and as every person is different I suspect different methods suit different people. It is based on systematically working down the body, tensing then releasing different areas, and can be used in conjunction with breath control (i.e. slow breath whilst drawing left hand into clenched position, slow out breath whilst releasing the hand, and repeating for each area to be tensed and released). WHen initially doing this I found spoken instructions useful - there are some on Youtube and also on the Insight Timer app.  Some of the approaches have their origins in physiotherapy, others seem to have been adapted and developed in mindfulness techniques. I try to find a quiet space in which to sit (car or toilet(!)) before playing, and if a long session, having a similar break halfway. There's quite a good check list within this arcticle:

 

https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/progressive-muscle-relaxation-pmr/

 

One advantage may be that tension in one area of the body can sometimes manefest in another muscle group/limb during exertion. This method goes some way to minimising overall tension in the first place, making this less likely. By combining with slowed breathing it might also help control the cocktail of chemicals our bodies sometimes delivering whilst playing that promote stress/tension (cortisol, adrenalin etc).

 

I was very cynical of this technique when it was first suggested to me, but after a little practice found it was genuinely useful for both pain control and [getting on the first step to] a Zen like state whilst playing.

 

Hope this is helpful.

 

 

 

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That's excellent information, Myrtle's Cook. Thanks very much. I think this technique could help reduce stress levels is so many aspects of life.

 

Best,

 

Christine

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Hi Christine

I managed to look out my treatment notes over the weekend and located the following 'introductory' form of PMR, developed by a physiotherpist. it's one I often come back to (although I'd managed to foget it's name!)

 

www.csp.org.uk/sites/files/csp/secure/pogp-mitchell-2_0.pdf

 

Hope this is helpful.

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