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mathhag

Shoulder pain

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Have any of you ever developed upper arm shoulder pain from playing?  I have a very painful right arm when I move it in certain directions. Saw my Orthopedic surgeon and he felt it was a tendinitis and gave me a cortisone shot. That has not helped yet. I am trying to figure out what I might have done to irritate it. It doesn’t bother me when I am playing but just wondered if this could be the problem. It will break my heart if it is

Edited by mathhag

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You need an orthopedic surgeon/neurologist/concertina player to opine on this, but while you wait for such a person, I’ll chime in. I took up the concertina in the first place because I had so much shoulder pain playing fiddle. From the start, I was able to play the concertina with no shoulder/upper arm pain at all. I think this is because I don’t use my shoulder at all to move the bellows. All the movement (and there isn’t much) is in the elbow and wrist. From what I have seen, most Anglo Irish Trad players do the same, with shoulders very relaxed and elbows resting on (or close to) the hips.  If this describes you, then I doubt that your concertina playing is at fault here. It seems especially unlikely if your playing doesn’t bring on or exacerbate the pain. This is my unschooled, completely anecdote based opinion, worth possibly less than the price. 

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30 minutes ago, Jim Burke said:

You need an orthopedic surgeon/neurologist/concertina player to opine on this, but while you wait for such a person, I’ll chime in. I took up the concertina in the first place because I had so much shoulder pain playing fiddle. From the start, I was able to play the concertina with no shoulder/upper arm pain at all. I think this is because I don’t use my shoulder at all to move the bellows. All the movement (and there isn’t much) is in the elbow and wrist. From what I have seen, most Anglo Irish Trad players do the same, with shoulders very relaxed and elbows resting on (or close to) the hips.  If this describes you, then I doubt that your concertina playing is at fault here. It seems especially unlikely if your playing doesn’t bring on or exacerbate the pain. This is my unschooled, completely anecdote based opinion, worth possibly less than the price. 

I'd suggest an Osteopath and/or Rheumatologist for additional opinions but Jim's last sentence applies to my opinion as well.

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Perhaps he will weigh in on this, but Bruce McCaskey told me when I first started playing to gradually work into it to attempt to avoid shoulder issues.  I’ve had surgery on both so his advice was heeded.  Especially with the beast of a Rochelle I started on......   if the pain persists, I would recommend a different orthopod, who will do more evaluation and perhaps an MRI to see the real issue and corrections. That’s my $.02

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I had a shoulder pain some years ago, not due to playing as that pattern had not changed. The diagnosis was rheumatism, and one cortisone injection seemed to clear. I'm always alert for a recurrence, but so far so good.

 

 - John Wild.

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perhaps you should look at how you hold and control the instrument, and what the weight of the instrument is.

 

Dave

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5 hours ago, d.elliott said:

perhaps you should look at how you hold and control the instrument, and what the weight of the instrument is.

 

Dave

I spent a lot of time with how I hold and control based on very clear recommendations from Bruce McCaskey . I think I am doing that well now. My instrument is actually a small 5 3/4 across the flats Dipper. Pretty light I think.

i am doubtful that the concertina is the culprit but thought I would ask the group.

Thanks for your consideration of my question.

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Last year I developed tennis elbow from how I was playing the concertina. I had to put it aside, then do exercises. I became aware of how much in/out bellows movement I was doing and I try to minimise that.  Now, it's possible the repetitive actions from your playing are the culprit, or part of the problem - adding to the overall repetitive movements your arms/shoulders do. I don't know your age, general physical condition, how well you've looked after your body, whether you do any stretching or strength training exercises etc.  I don't know how long you practice either. All these need to be taken into consideration. It's not my business to know the answers to those questions either (!) - but I do recommend consistently-done exercises (stretches/ strengthening) for your arms/ upper body, when your shoulder has recovered and paying attention to how long you practise for, how your body feels during and after a practice session and adjusting your practice times accordingly.  A chiropractor will advise on suitable exercises and also check spinal alignment. Or a physical therapist.  But also follow your dr's advice and see a specialist if needed. I'm just not a big fan of getting a shot to deal with the pain/inflammation and then doing nothing to improve your body.

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I am not sure that Colin's instruments are noted for their lightness, not like say a Morse instrument.  I too have shoulder problems, an operation 10 days ago, i saw the physiotherapist this afternoon. I have been very firmly told that for the shoulder to heal, no concertina-ing for 6 weeks, then the physio will build concertina play into the rehabilitation process. until then the arm is basically immobilised. Shoulders are apparently hard to heal and weight and movement are big issues through the healing process.

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Hey, Susan! You have lots of good advice here, but I'll put in my two cents of hope. When I first started playing, I got concertina shoulder. I went to a physical therapist and he gave me some exercises to do to strengthen my upper back---they were no big deal, the hardest thing was remembering to do them. The pain resolved over about 6 months and never got so bad that I couldn't play. But now, I do try to watch my posture---it's so easy to hunch over the instrument and to curl your shoulders inwards. Also, when I play a tune I'm uncomfortable with, it's easy to tense up, when it would be better for my body and for the music, to just relax.

 

Deep breaths!

 

xo

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When I had problems, my Dr. suggested this successful strategy...

 

No playing for a week. For the next week, only 5 min. twice a day. Next week, 10 min. twice a day. Then 20, then healed. Worked for me and the pain never returned.

Edited by Jody Kruskal

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7 hours ago, Jody Kruskal said:

When I had problems, my Dr. suggested this successful strategy...

 

No playing for a week. For the next week, only 5 min. twice a day. Next week, 10 min. twice a day. Then 20, then healed. Worked for me and the pain never returned.


This will be hard but this seems like it might be an approach to try. 

 

 

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