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Right Shoulder Sore Always #2904898 10/26/19 07:07 PM
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Duaner Offline OP
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My right shoulder is sore most of the time and I presume it's from tuning being right handed so I'm asking you techs who I'm thinking might possibly have or have had similar problems (maybe not but if you do....). I have eight pianos to tune and repair from Mon to Wed next week and I know I'm going to pay for this. So, is there some treatment, or sauve, or ointment or exercise or, well, you know, I'm fishing here.....anything that you have tried that helped your shoulder problem? Mine cracks and hurts like mad and sometimes it sort of feels like it wants to seize up. Sleeping is becoming a problem. If you have experienced this and have found relief somehow what can you tell me that will ease my nagging pain?


Duane Graves


"Pushin 70...still haven fun I think..."
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Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: Duaner] #2904907 10/26/19 07:35 PM
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Gene Nelson Online Content
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Don’t know if yours is injury or arthritis but mine was injury, had to have the rotator cuff repaired.
No kind of pain med, ointment, physical therapy etc helped.
I don’t tune uprights any more.
I always thought an impact hammer would help but I don’t have what it takes to do a stable tuning with one.

One thing that did help was to put arm in a sling and not move it much for a week, less movement calmed it down.

Have an orthopedist evaluate it.


RPT
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Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: Duaner] #2904912 10/26/19 07:43 PM
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bobrunyan Offline
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Learn to tune left handed? I'm thinking of trying that so I don't have to reach across when tuning the bass on upright pianos.


Bob Runyan, RPT
Chico, CA
www.runyanpiano.com
Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: Duaner] #2904914 10/26/19 07:47 PM
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Have you tried CBD ointment?


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
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Rockville, MD USA
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1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: Duaner] #2904923 10/26/19 08:33 PM
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Ed Sutton Offline
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This is not something to "quick fix" and keep working.
One of the worst things we can do is learn to ignore minor pain and keep working.
Eventually your quality control is calculated by how much pain you can stand.
The pattern of cause and reaction is the same, but the pain gets worse faster and takes longer to subside.
Tune less.
Learn new ways to use your body.
Look for secondary irritations, such as posture while driving.
If you're tuning aurally, learn to use a good ETD, which will reduce stress considerably.
Try different tuning levers.
Lighten up your tool kit.
Find a good physiatrist or physical therapist and get examined, diagnosed and treated.
I'm writing from my own experience and I urge you to take this seriously now, as it gets much worse faster as we age.
I've just turned 70 and am taking a month-long rest, hoping to be able to tune 4 pianos a week when my symptoms subside, but realizing that I may have to give up tuning.


Ed Sutton, RPT
Just a piano tuner!
Durham NC USA
Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: Duaner] #2904940 10/26/19 09:14 PM
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Learux Offline
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Wow, just wow. getting old sucks.

In the meantime, embrace getting old. It is the right thing to do.


Not sure what else to say.

Last edited by Learux; 10/26/19 09:15 PM.

When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: Duaner] #2904950 10/26/19 10:49 PM
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he right shoulder hurt always when he worked only the right hand (if more than 5 hours). my salvation has become use of a method (9-12)., where LEFT hand is basic. If you change hands during tuning, this will distribute the load on both hands. It’s more common for me to work with my left hand, although I’m not a classic left-hander.
In bass register it's espessialy helping, I'm think.
To Care your helth about,
good luck,

Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: Duaner] #2904953 10/26/19 11:15 PM
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Gene Nelson Online Content
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See if you can get an orthopedist to give you a cortisone shot right where the shoulder is inflamed.
It may help you.


RPT
PTG Member
Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: Duaner] #2905033 10/27/19 07:32 AM
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terminaldegree Offline
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I don’t tune with nearly the same frequency as many of the others here (so take my advice with a grain of salt), but I followed the advice of someone who used to post here and tune vertical pianos left-handed. Of course, grands I tune with my right (dominant) hand.


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
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Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: Duaner] #2905135 10/27/19 12:35 PM
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Injured my right shoulder some decades ago during a bicycle ride. Pain was intolerable 24 hours a day nonstop for weeks. After usual doctors couldn't help much, someone recommended me a great kinesiologist. It's not free but this guy fixed me after a couple of months, about 10 sessions. After each 90 min session, you have to do simple movements/exercises at home. I could feel the pain diminish even after the first time, where doctors could not. Today, I still have to do a particular movement/exercise he taught me, just once or twice a day every once in a while. I can hear a cracking noise and then voila, everything is back to normal. In other words, severe injuries are sometimes there to stay, but if you know what to do, you can cancel their symptoms easily and live with them without any pain.

Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: Duaner] #2905137 10/27/19 12:38 PM
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N W Offline
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After I'd been tuning for about 15years...typically 5 a day 5 days a week, my shoulder was very painful. I got to a point where I was in tears by the end of the day. My doctor recommended a cortisone shot in there but I was worried that I'd just damage it more if I didn't feel the pain but just carried on. Eventually I went to an Alexander Technique teacher and had lessons. It's a way of realigning the body properly, starting with the relationship between head and neck. The teacher listens to your specific problems and works with you.After about ten lessons I was cured. Just sometimes, I start to feel twinges in the shoulder. If it comes, I simply renew my attention on the technique and within a few minutes all is well.
I thoroughly recommend it. Over here they routinely teach it to singers and actors now as their postures etc. cause so much tension.
It's non invasive and just brilliant, well, has been for me.


Nick, ageing piano technician
Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: Duaner] #2905162 10/27/19 01:51 PM
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Duane,

About 20 years ago I got exposed to Dr. John Sarno's material on this subject of chronic pain syndromes. My wife found one of his books at Goodwill for $.25 ("Healing Back Pain") and started reading it to me. Being skeptical by nature I initially thought he was a quack, but after applying his advice (I had nothing to lose by trying it out) I gradually concluded that he REALLY knew what he was talking about, and that your pain can be cured without substances or therapy of any kind. I will not go into it here since you really need to hear it from "the horse's mouth" and draw your own conclusions.

His last book (before he died) is entitled "The Divided Mind". There are also numerous YouTube interviews with him so you can get a quick idea of the issue. However it is best to get the book(s) and read and re-read it thoroughly. Best health advice I ever received. I would have long ago had to give up tuning and piano playing if it were not for what I learned from Dr. Sarno.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
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Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: Duaner] #2905206 10/27/19 03:25 PM
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David Boyce Offline
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It might be worth considering switching to a Levitan C lever for tuning grands.

Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: terminaldegree] #2905364 10/27/19 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
I but I followed the advice of someone who used to post here and tune vertical pianos left-handed. Of course, grands I tune with my right (dominant) hand.

a more robust solution is to alternate both our hands, I'm think. If tired left hand, to continues to configure the right hand.(for vertical)
for grand piano tuning, the position of hammer handle closer to 18 down is not very convenient for our left hand, but "art requires sacrifice"

Last edited by Maximillyan; 10/27/19 11:45 PM.
Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: Duaner] #2905459 10/28/19 07:34 AM
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Ed Sutton Offline
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Some of the modalities that have helped me include Alexander Technique, MacKenzie exercises, massage therapy, physical therapy, walking the dog (she died two weeks ago), ergonomic evaluation of my tool use (dvorak keyboard, elevated desk and monitor), meditation and study of basic Buddhist mind practices, psychotherapy and relationship/commitment with my wife and moving to a lovely community where I hear children and birds in early morning. Really this is just aware, healthy living.

I am also somewhat ambidextrous and try to distribute work stress right and left, but am still right dominant
.
All good and important things to do. Nevertheless I have had three crises in the last 10 years, probably caused by taking on more more physical stress than my body can handle and not allowing adequate recovery time as I aged.

Incidentally, MRI shows identical nerve impingement to left and right brachial nerves (I think that's the right term), but symptoms are entirely on the right side. These nerves can cause pain and tingling down the entire arm, making it hard to identify what is the real problem.

It's worth noting that many of the books about back pain deal with lower back, lumbar, pain. Most piano technicians report shoulder, arm and upper back/neck pain. David Hanson,MD, for example, has an excellent book on back pain. He is a surgeon who rarely recommends surgery for back pain, but his book is focused on lower back pain.

We need to recognize that we practice an inherently dangerous profession and take care to keep physical stress in safe limits.

Fortunately for me, my work includes action rebuilding, harpsichord building and writing. I no longer pull plates and do belly work. I can keep my tuning to part-time, and I'd recommend that all technicians consider building variety into their work.


Ed Sutton, RPT
Just a piano tuner!
Durham NC USA
Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: Gene Nelson] #2905613 10/28/19 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
Don’t know if yours is injury or arthritis but mine was injury, had to have the rotator cuff repaired.


One thing that did help was to put arm in a sling and not move it much for a week, less movement calmed it down.

Have an orthopedist evaluate it.


I'm glad you got results from that but when I had my shoulder problems (rotator cuff, plus biceps tendonitis and impingement syndrone) i was warned not to use a sling, because it could lead to "frozen shoulder," and that might be a year waiting to heal.

My doctor advised the cortizone shot followed by eventual surgery, but first we tried conservative treatment, physical therapy and avoiding motions that stressed it. I played trombone left handed for a year or two I think. There are things not to do that include raking and sweeping. I still can't sleep on that side.

One mistake I made early was trying to start a lawnmower. That bolt of pain dropped me right on the ground looking for where my arm had fallen off.


gotta go practice
Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: Duaner] #2905639 10/28/19 01:46 PM
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Duane, hey, reschedule a few appointments and let your body recuperate some. Then build up some strength, and consider other ways to use your body. Like when tuning grands or spinets when sitting down, I press my knee up under the keybed by extending my foot. Or on a grand, position the hammer so I can move the pin by squeezing the handle toward a frame part by grasping both. On uprights, I tend to anchor my elbow and bend only my wrist. Sometimes it's just the back of my arm against the tuning pins. I am probably alone in this technique. When you work on a ship's deck you tend to look a bit like Popeye. Wish I could laugh like him. wink


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: Duaner] #2905878 10/29/19 05:13 AM
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Duaner Offline OP
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Thank you, to all who took the time to contribute to this post. As I thought it is an issue that many other techs have grappled with during their careers. I do see several ideas I could apply very soon as they, at first glance at least, seem to fit my mindset as what I will pursue and/or what I'll get bored with right away. There is much fruit to be gathered in and inspected here....much to consider so again, thank you, all.....I'll report progress periodically.


Duane Graves


"Pushin 70...still haven fun I think..."
Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: Duaner] #2905895 10/29/19 06:09 AM
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Have you seen your physician? There are lots of things that can cause shoulder pain. A complex joint!

Re: Right Shoulder Sore Always [Re: Duaner] #2911360 11/12/19 09:36 PM
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For what it's worth, the monthly email promotion from Piano Tek sent out today has a 30 minute video of Dan Leviten demonstrating his large C-shaped hammer, which might be a potential solution? Less reaching with the hammer hand.

Last edited by Steve W; 11/12/19 09:36 PM.

Steve W
Omaha, NE
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