Repetitive motion or extended motion

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Kennethpauls
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:45 pm

Repetitive motion or extended motion

Post by Kennethpauls » Wed Dec 30, 2015 4:05 am

I've been suffering from pain in the right hand ring finger for a few months now. My feeling is that it came from stretching my right hand ring finger too many times when I should have been using the fifth finger (laziness-to-avoid-the-transition?' '); but it was certainly aggravated by subsequent workouts at the gym and maybe bicycling or the motorcycle throttling & breaking each day. Either way, each time I play, the right hand ring finger hurts afterwards.

Recently, a fellow zitherist told me he'd gone to an orthopedic surgeon for pain in the same finger so now I'm thinking it's a specific hazard to playing zither (as much as carpal tunnel occurs among pianists' repetitive practicing).

Anyone else have similar complaints?
KP

Rudy Mueller
Posts: 401
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

Re: Repetitive motion or extended motion

Post by Rudy Mueller » Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:19 am

Mild hand soreness does strike me once in a while (every two-three weeks ???), but may also be related to age and other vigorous activity. It seemed to occur more often while I was volunteering with Habitat.

I do not have a license to practice medicine, but have found that an occasional sparing application of Aspercreme helps.

It may be time to review the level of activity. As our youngest daughter says "remember dad, you're not 75 any more".

Rudi

Rudy Mueller
Posts: 401
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

Re: Repetitive motion or extended motion

Post by Rudy Mueller » Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:24 am

Addendum:

Ludwig Kalbrunner is a strong advocate of making optimum use of all the digits, including the little finger.

kenbloom
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:50 am

Re: Repetitive motion or extended motion

Post by kenbloom » Sun Jan 03, 2016 10:33 am

I try to play with as little strain as possible. That means using the little fingers of both hands when it seems appropriate. If I do use my middle finger for the "further basses" I will often shift my whole hand to make it easier. I also use an alternating technique between my little and middle fingers. I base my fingering on the principles outlined in the Hintermeyer books and play scales on the accompaniement, bass and contra bass strings. When I do this I will use my little finger until I get up to the bass strings and then use whatever alternating fingers work until I get all the way up and go back down. It only takes about ten minutes to play through all the scales out there but when I've finished I'm ready to play with greater relaxation. I am very careful with my hands as my living depends on it. My mantra is "It's not suppose to hurt!"

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org

DanSymonds
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:19 pm

Re: Repetitive motion or extended motion

Post by DanSymonds » Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:07 pm

Repetitive stress disorder (RSI) is the bane of professional (and non-professional) musicians and has wrecked many careers. THe cause is poorly understood but initially seems to involve edema of the tendon, swelling and in extreme cases, eventual nerve damage. I think there also may be a central nervous system component in which the discomfort leads to reflex spasm. I think the old adage here applies: if it hurts don't do it. When I experience discomfort I give myself a rest and try not to feel anxious that I won't be able to practice (i.e.,I try to relax). Easily said when you don't have to earn your living with the instrument.

kenbloom
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:50 am

Re: Repetitive motion or extended motion

Post by kenbloom » Fri Jan 15, 2016 9:05 am

The older I get, the more important I find it is to warm up gradually and properly. Just like any athlete, the muscles have to stretch and get ready for more extreme activity. I have a warm up routine for the right hand which involves playing scales in all keyus on all the strings. I start very slowly and gradually speed up as the hand loosens up. Taking this approach means that I rarely experience any problems with pain in my hands.

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org

DanSymonds
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:19 pm

Re: Repetitive motion or extended motion

Post by DanSymonds » Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:04 am

Excellent advice Ken. I do think it is important to take a break when experiencing discomfort and not push yourself the way atheletes sometimes do.

kenbloom
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:50 am

Re: Repetitive motion or extended motion

Post by kenbloom » Sat Jan 16, 2016 12:32 pm

Nothing beats daily practice to keep muscles limber and working. If I miss a day, I really feel it. Even if I can only do about ten minutes, that's better than not doing anything. I keep the instrument out and available to make it easier to do this. It also helps to be aware of other parts of the body while practicing. Stiffness often starts in the upper arm and then travels down to make the hands less resonsive. Keeping your upper torso relaxed I find is very important to relaxed playing. Being aware is your best freind when it comes to being kind to your body.

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org

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