Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Battle Continues...

Hello everyone!!

Remember the neurologist friend from this post?  His story is a really tragic one:  His daughter was an extremely talented violinist, but she kept playing through the pains she was getting in her arms.  She didn't realize that it was tendinitis, and by the time she asked for help, it was too advanced to do anything for her.  Because of this, she had to quit violin, and as her father (and a doctor), it really broke his heart to watch his daughter give up something she loved so much as he watched helplessly.

So when he found out that I had tendinitis, he lost no time in instructing me in how to protect my future as a violinist.  One of the things he kept emphasizing was that if it hurts, stop playing and seek help, even if the pain is slight.  As violinists (or any other musician), his philosophy is that our bodies are more of our instruments than our actual instruments themselves, and therefore must be looked after with just as much care as we give to our instruments.  I mean, think about how carefully we look after our instruments.  For me, it seriously breaks my heart every time my violin gets even a tiny scratch! =(

Along with that, because my back was really tense, he gave me this exercise to do.  He has a background in reflexology as well, and I think this is more of reflexology than neurology?  I'm not sure,, but hey, it sees to work!
X marks the spot!
Because my left shoulder blade area is usually the tense area, I do it on my left hand.  Press the X with your other thumb. (if you are having as much problem in that area as I am, you will know that you have found the spot because it will hurt)  Press pretty firmly, and while pressing, roll your left shoulder forwards and backwards 10 times each.  This is one set.  Do it about 3 times.  He said that this helps loosen the muscles in that area.  Feel free to do it on your right hand and shoulder as well!

Then, I went to my chiropractor again yesterday because I got... well, a little too excited about this  and over-practiced  haha.  He said that since I am no longer in pain, I should start working on strengthening my muscles that are giving me so many problems; the rhomboid something something... and some other muscles around my shoulder blade...  anyway, this will prevent me from getting hurt too easily!  =D  yay! so  here are the exercises with the resistance band he showed me  =)

Exercise 1.  
This works the muscles around the bottom of the shoulder blade.   
Step 1. Bring your arm up parallel to the ground, making sure to keep the shoulder down.
Step 2. Rotate the arm very slowly upwards.  Your elbow should stay in the same spot as you are rotating.
Do it about 10 times, and that is 1 set.
Step 1.                                                                                         Step 2.

When doing this, make sure that you are rotating your arm from Step 1 to Step 2 by using the muscles in your back.  The first time I did it, I was like, "wow, this is so easy!"  but I was rotating by using my arm muscles, and therefore doing it the wrong way... So if it's too easy, you may be making the same mistake I made  haha.    Do a couple of sets, or as many as you can.

Exercise 2. 
This works the rhomboid something muscle.
Step 1. Start with your arms bent at a 90 degree angle in front of you with the band.
Step 2. Move your hands out to the side as much as you can while keeping your elbows close to your body
Step 3. Rotate more by engaging your back muscles. There should be creases in your back because it is being folded back.  It is very important that while you are doing this, you keep your shoulders down.  
Hold for a couple of seconds, or 'until you start shaking' as my chiropractor put it, then return slowly to step 1.  Repeat perhaps 10 times.

Step 1.                                                          Step 2.                                                         Step 3.

Then, he showed me some stretches.

Stretch 1. 
The reason the back muscles are so tired is not only from constant use, but also from the fact that the pectoral muscles are so tight that it keeps pulling at the back muscles.  So here is the stretch for those pectorals.
Step 1.  Hold the band over your head a little wider than the width of your shoulders.
Step 2.  Breathe as you slowly lower your arms.
Step 3.  Once you are at the bottom, release one hand from the band and return both arms to the front (don't come back up the way you went down!)
Make sure that your alignment is right (head over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over heels), and do it a couple of times.  

Step 1.                                               Step 2.                                                     Step 3.

Stretch 2.
This stretches that muscle that connects your neck to your back.
Step 1.  Hold your left arm behind your back with your right hand.
Step 2. While pulling the arm down, bend your head forward at a 45 degree angle.  Hold for 10 seconds.
Do it on both sides a couple of times
Step 1.                                                                                            Step 2.

Stretch 3.
Stretching out your neck.  Because we are always craning our necks to our left as violinists, it's important to stretch it out the other way.
Step 1.  Hold your head and pull gently to your right.  Hold for 10 seconds.  Release gently.
Step 2.  Hold your head and pull gently to 45 degree angle forward and right.  Hold for 10 seconds. Release.
Step 1.                                                                                                Step 2.

I hope this will help all of you in battling your own tendinitis!  More weapons we have to battle this annoying foe the better, right?   =)  Thankfully, I have not had pains in my arm for a couple of days now, and I am back to practicing a couple of hours a day! So exciting!

Please let me know if any of the instructions above were not clear, and I will do my best to clear things up for you.  

And as you try these, you look like this... well, welcome to the club  haha.  That pectoral stretch really hurts!
oh the pain!!  hehe

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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