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Preventing tendonitis #433081
05/16/05 02:56 PM
05/16/05 02:56 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 531
CherryCoke Offline OP
500 Post Club Member
CherryCoke  Offline OP
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 531
I know there have been many threads here about tendonitis, but I just wanted to seek out some more information on it from fellow pianists.

Last night I noticed after a few hours of practice that putting my hands on my hips caused a discomfort (not really a shooting pain or anything) on the top of my left hand, mainly between my thumb and index finger, and running back to the middle of the base of my hand, by the wrist. Further experimenting showed me that if I put my hand at a 90 degree angle to my forearm (fingers pointing up) and pushed on something, I felt a similar discomfort.

I have experienced this before (in both hands), and I'm not sure what to pinpoint. I'm pretty sure it's coming from my piano playing, though I'm not sure what specifically about my playing is causing the problem. Playing itself never hurts or causes any discomfort, it's only when I walk away from the bench after practicing that I notice anything, and again, only during very specific positions/motions.

Any ideas? I've heard so many horror stories about tendonitis, but I have no idea how to check myself and see if that's in fact what I am experiencing. Again, I'd like to stress that I feel no pain while playing, but it does seem to correlate with my times of heavy practice...

Thanks!

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Re: Preventing tendonitis #433082
05/16/05 06:11 PM
05/16/05 06:11 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 46
south TX
W
walt Offline
Full Member
walt  Offline
Full Member
W

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 46
south TX
I have heard that most of the pain pianists encounter is due to excess tension, in the arms, back, or hands. For several months when I first started to play, I had such bad tennis elbow I almost had to quit. When my teacher realized I was hurting she would check for tension by tapping the side of my elbow while I was playing. If my arm didn't swing freely from my sholder it was a sure sign I wasn't keeping my arms relaxed. At first it was like she was taping on a solid wall. Just being made aware of the problem helped me work on really keeping my arms and sholders tension free. It took several months to learn to relax and stay loose while I played before the pain went away completly. We also worked on keeping the fore arms and hands relaxed and tension free. Things are much better now.

Re: Preventing tendonitis #433083
05/16/05 09:13 PM
05/16/05 09:13 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 3,857
North Groton, NH
Bernard Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Bernard  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 3,857
North Groton, NH
SPS,

Great! You're in Chicago... you should not have too much trouble finding an Alexander Technique teacher. This is what I would recommend: six private lessons with an AT teacher, it may cost you $300-$400 for these six lessons but it will be money well spent. If you decide to persue this, talk to the AT teacher about your current discomfort.

Other resources:

"What Every Pianist Needs To Know About The Body" by Thomas Mark is a good book and worth the money. This is his website: http://www.pianomap.com/

"The Art Of Practicing" by Madeline Bruser. Another good book.


Other misc. techniques I know of:
* Before you practice, lie face-up on the floor with your legs resting on your piano bench: your butt will be up close to the bench, your calves resting on top of the bench. Relax this way for 5 or 10 minutes. Prop your head up on an inch or two of paperbacks or something similar. (If you seek out an AT teacher, ask him/her for specific exercises/activies you can do to help you when practicing.)

* Away from the piano, grap the finger tips of one hand with the other (with the passive hand palm down) and gently raise the fingers back and up, relaxing the underside of your wrist and lower arm as you do so. Let the wrist stretch back. This is NOT to see how far you can stretch. It is simply to apply a stretch in a direction that is opposite to what you spend most of your time doing while practicing. Also release your elbow while doing this. Let everything just hang down from your shoulders (which drape over your rib cage).

It may be difficult to get the gumption up to try out AT, but I will unequivocally state that it has done wonders for me.


"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown
Re: Preventing tendonitis #433084
05/16/05 10:14 PM
05/16/05 10:14 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 3,192
Topeka, Kansas
RKVS1 Offline
3000 Post Club Member
RKVS1  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 3,192
Topeka, Kansas
Another hand/wrist loosening exercies is a kind of "lotus" or "spider" thing, where you put your palms and fingers together in a "matching" position. Then push (for instance) your left index finger back with your right index finger and continue that down all the fingers. Then push left wrist and palm back with right hand, and vise versa. Same caveat as Bernard mentioned, its not a strenght contest or maximum extension contest, just a way of loosening up the equipment before you use it.

Bob

Re: Preventing tendonitis #433085
05/19/05 01:30 PM
05/19/05 01:30 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 531
CherryCoke Offline OP
500 Post Club Member
CherryCoke  Offline OP
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 531
Thanks for the tips-any other thoughts?


Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

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