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Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
#2900305 10/15/19 05:50 AM
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After discussing with my teacher, I pretty much know how my tennis elbow in my right arm came about, and I'm taking steps on the piano to reduce tension and use my wrist properly reduce it, including by putting one of my pieces on a month-long break.

I wanted though, to solicit in this thread, physical/medicinal/therapeutic ideas about treating it, that don't involve the piano.

First, to make sure we are talking about the same thing, I read that tennis elbow is pain/sensitivity on the outside of the elbow joint, while golfer's elbow is pain/sensitivity on the inside of the elbow joint. Since my pain is outside, I assume I have tennis elbow although I've never played tennis before.

[Linked Image]

Googling, I see there are a dozens of suggested treatments, and then other articles and papers about how all those various suggested treatments don't actually work! eek

So I'd like to know if any of you ever had tennis elbow and what worked for you, besides stopping whatever activity of yours that caused it? (You can assume that part is being addressed in my case.)


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Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
Tyrone Slothrop #2900317 10/15/19 07:02 AM
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I mentioned the Epsom salt foot bath in another thread. This will help the overall body relax.

The standard remedy for Tennis Elbow is decrease activity, icing the area, strengthen and improve range of motion, deep-heat rubbing creams, NSAIDS, Cortisone shot in the area if things get really bad.

Sometimes, heating a joint/tendon or muscle instead of icing can make it feel better. Many times I fill an old tube sock with rice and put it in the microwave for about a minute. When its nice and warm [not too hot- don't want to get burned], I put the rice filled sock over my wrist or sore knees and it makes it feel much better; almost on contact. Kinda like a hot tub makes you feel but only on the isolated spot.

Also, a diet containing certain oils [fish oil, almond oil] may help lube things up a bit.

And since this is a health-related topic, I might as well add to drink kefir daily. [we make ours using raw milk and our own starter grains]. It's one of the best ways to improve your stomach flora [good bacteria] as good gut bacteria is so important to your overall health.









Last edited by mr_super-hunky; 10/15/19 07:03 AM.
Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
Tyrone Slothrop #2900334 10/15/19 08:31 AM
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I think that there are multiple situations and degree of inflammation, from a simple strain to more serious cases. So what may have worked for somebody is not necessarily recommended for another case which may seem similar for a non expert but can be in reality quite different. Not mentionning that there are diferent medical opinions about how to treat those issues, it is quite natural that there are a multiplicity of articles expressing various views on a complex subject. Factors that influence a particular treatment can be quite diverse.

I assume you have consulted a specialist; if not that would be your best next move. I personally would not follow any medical advice received on a forum by someone I do not know. Wrong treatment can sometime cause more harm than no treatment at all.

Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
Tyrone Slothrop #2900337 10/15/19 08:33 AM
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I've been having some elbow tendonitis lately as well, but after consulting Dr, Google, I believe it is related to my cervical spine.


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Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
Tyrone Slothrop #2900349 10/15/19 09:15 AM
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My experience with this and other piano related (repetitive motion) injuries is that …. as much as I resist it …. I just have to stop doing the thing that caused it. I usually know what that is because it is usually something I have been working on and find myself repeating it over and over.

Now …. it if is something like a backache, well … then I have to do more exercising and stretching. If my back is aching, I will often play for a few minutes and then do some stretching and then go back to playing and back and forth like that. That seems to work for me.




Last edited by dmd; 10/15/19 09:19 AM.

Don

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Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
malkin #2900351 10/15/19 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by malkin
I've been having some elbow tendonitis lately as well, but after consulting Dr, Google, I believe it is related to my cervical spine.

Since I have fractured vertebrae from my 2011 motorcycle accident and permanent, nerve damage, I get referred pain sometimes all over my body. Usually the referred pain is somewhere in my trunk though, not further than the shoulders or hips. I've never had anything in the extremities - arms, legs.


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
Tyrone Slothrop #2900371 10/15/19 10:06 AM
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Wear a compression bandage and practice on a flex bar.

Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
chopin_r_us #2900374 10/15/19 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Wear a compression bandage and practice on a flex bar.


How do you practice on a flex bar ?


Don

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Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
Tyrone Slothrop #2900391 10/15/19 10:55 AM
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I had TE a few years back. I would highly recommend working with a physical therapist...rather than own therapy. I had to stop playing the piano for a few months [depending on the acute status].


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Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
dmd #2900400 10/15/19 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Wear a compression bandage and practice on a flex bar.


How do you practice on a flex bar ?



you practice flexing.

Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
Tyrone Slothrop #2900731 10/16/19 09:42 AM
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I'm shocked that you got tennis elbow from playing the piano!! I get this too, but it's almost always from lifting heavy things at an awkward angle, lile 30lb. buckets of bird food from a shoulder high shelf (I'm rearranging things so that doesn't happen this year). I recently got it from coming out of an arm bind in a yoga pose awkwardly. I was demonstrating this pose on the first day of claa and it was hot that day and I was all sweaty. No problem getting into the posture, but then I got stuck to the floor, lol, and getting out of it was bad. I'll never do that again!

Kurmasana

They take a LONG time to heal!! It's going on a month for me and it's only now just starting to ease up. When I have it really bad, I use this compression band that has a little blow up pillow thing in it. That works great! Are you sure this is from playing? It usually happens from a strong force pushing your elbow out of joint. Golfers elbow is even worse, I had that last year and it was brutal!!! That's a force in the opposite direction. That took almost 5 months for the pain to go away!


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Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
ebonykawai #2900767 10/16/19 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
I'm shocked that you got tennis elbow from playing the piano!! I get this too, but it's almost always from lifting heavy things at an awkward angle, lile 30lb. buckets of bird food from a shoulder high shelf (I'm rearranging things so that doesn't happen this year). I recently got it from coming out of an arm bind in a yoga pose awkwardly. I was demonstrating this pose on the first day of claa and it was hot that day and I was all sweaty. No problem getting into the posture, but then I got stuck to the floor, lol, and getting out of it was bad. I'll never do that again!

Kurmasana

They take a LONG time to heal!! It's going on a month for me and it's only now just starting to ease up. When I have it really bad, I use this compression band that has a little blow up pillow thing in it. That works great! Are you sure this is from playing? It usually happens from a strong force pushing your elbow out of joint. Golfers elbow is even worse, I had that last year and it was brutal!!! That's a force in the opposite direction. That took almost 5 months for the pain to go away!

OMG so funny! Actual photo of the victim needed.


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Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
Tyrone Slothrop #2900770 10/16/19 11:16 AM
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Sorry TS I have no words of wisdom on Tennis elbow beyond what you can look up, except RICE. And stop the American Twist.

https://youtu.be/TK03Hcznht0


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Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
Tyrone Slothrop #2900813 10/16/19 01:03 PM
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Sorry to hear this. Which piece do you need to put on hold? Did you have any symptoms before this happened?

Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
navindra #2900820 10/16/19 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by navindra
Sorry to hear this. Which piece do you need to put on hold?

After consulting my teacher, my best guess is that it was mm.10,12,16,18 in Schumann's The Happy Farmer, played at crochet/quarter-note = 120 BPM, that did it for my right elbow:

[Linked Image]

I might have taken it a bit too far. Since it is an exam piece, during practicing, I actually took the tempo up higher than 120. Maybe to 150 BPM in those measures. It was obviously unwise without first addressing releasing all my tension in the right arm/fingers.

That's the piece that went on hold for a few weeks to give my elbow time to recover. I also find it twinging when I am doing scales now though, so I think once injured, it is sensitive to any sort of wrist movements.

Originally Posted by navindra
Did you have any symptoms before this happened?

I have never had tennis elbow in my life, before.


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
Tyrone Slothrop #2900840 10/16/19 01:57 PM
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Very interesting and informative, thanks as always!

Quote
I have never had tennis elbow in my life, before.


I meant, did you have any inkling of pain (twinging?) while you were practicing before it became full-blown tennis elbow?

Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
navindra #2900844 10/16/19 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by navindra
Very interesting and informative, thanks as always!

Quote
I have never had tennis elbow in my life, before.


I meant, did you have any inkling of pain (twinging?) while you were practicing before it became full-blown tennis elbow?

Well, it was a building thing, but it built up over the course of about 5-7 days. Hindsight is 20-20. I probably should have taken a 2-3 break the moment I had the first sign of even slight elbow soreness. And then worked on slow tension-releasing exercises with the right arm. Bad me. But because the permanent nerve damage is in my right arm (form 2011 motorcycle accident), it sometimes takes a while for me to even realise something is wrong in that arm.


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across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
Tyrone Slothrop #2900865 10/16/19 02:22 PM
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Ah, yeah. But hindsight is fine too, as you're pretty much a scientist after all... Pianoperformance above might have the best recommendation here, as further injury is never worth it.

Regardless, for the piece you put on hold, I believe there are other things you can do to practice such as mental play.

Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
Tyrone Slothrop #2900960 10/16/19 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop


I might have taken it a bit too far. Since it is an exam piece, during practicing, I actually took the tempo up higher than 120. Maybe to 150 BPM in those measures. It was obviously unwise without first addressing releasing all my tension in the right arm/fingers.

That's the piece that went on hold for a few weeks to give my elbow time to recover.


The 120 tempo is even a bit high. I think 110 is more than enough for this piece. I believe Badura Skoda is playing it even slower than 110. The bars you are mentionning really require very little wrist movement, so I am surprised your teacher thinks those are the guilty ones. Any scale or arpeggios movement would imply as much if not more wrist movement than those bars, unless you have some peculiar fingering or you have been practising for hours without break. Otherwise I doubt a few days of practice would create right away a TE. So if really that is the piece that created that issue, I would say that there are a number of other exercices/pieces which would put similar tension.

The tension release is necessary but at the end piano remains a physical activity which put strain on all your uper body parts anyway. So doing dedicated exercices to progressively build the necessary resistance seems appropriate. You may have a particular sensibility also.

Re: Best way to treat Tennis Elbow from piano playing?
Tyrone Slothrop #2900990 10/16/19 07:41 PM
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I love the Happy Farmer.
When asked about a possible case of plagiarism, Woody Guthrie is reported to have said, "Oh, he stole from me, but I steal from everybody."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gt2BkSjRZmM


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