Friday, May 18, 2012

Occupational Hazard

Hello everyone!
This is for all of my violining readers out there  =)

When people see a violinist performing, they only see the beauty of the instrument and the music (well, hopefully...) However, all of us violinists out there know that behind every beautiful and seemingly effortless performance, there are countless hours of trying to figure out this wonderful, yet extremely complicated instrument.  During this process, almost all of us will develop something that will in the least cause us some annoyance, and at worst cause us to give up playing the violin all together.

This awful thing that strikes fear into every violinist's heart, is tendinitis.  

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been dealing with this for a while. Even though there are terror stories about this, if you have it, the world does not need to end.  We simply need to take care of our bodies better from now on.  Here are a couple of ways I've come up with  to deal with this dilemma while trying to stretch all of the tense muscles and working on my set up itself so that it's not so tense.

1.  Get a massage!
ahhhh.  doesn't that look wonderful?
I have had countless deep tissue massages for the past couple of years, and I think it helps.  It is relaxing, and it works on the knots that build up in the back (yes, we may have tendinitis in our arms, but actually, all of the problems begin in our backs)

Though I love getting massages, I have discovered something else that is forever going to replace them in my quest to deal with this problem...

so, the new 1.  Go to a CHIROPRACTOR!
Now, when you find a chiropractor, try to find one that does alignments and massages at the same time.  I started going to mine, Dr. Lee, last week, and had my second session 2 days ago.
Let me tell you, in this massage, there were no oils, flowers in my hair, or relaxing scents.  Dr. Lee is really strong, and as the knots in my back were getting their butts kicked, I also had the privilege (not) of sharing their pain.
Then came the realignment. I'm pretty sure all of the bones in my neck got popped.
He is the best! =)
Then he worked on my tendons on my arm.  ouch.

Though 'no pain, no gain' is possibly the worst motto to live by as a violinist, it really rang true for my session with Dr. Lee.  I woke up the next day feeling freer in my neck and back than I had felt in a really long time.  In a couple of days, the pain in my arms were virtually nonexistent!
So Thank You Dr. Lee of Yonsei Chiropractic! If any of you live in Seattle area, and need a chiropractor, I would seriously recommend him.  He practices in Mill Creek, WA.

2.  Stop practicing so much!
Gasp! right?  about 90% of fellow violinists I have met have been workaholics, so this is probably going to be the most difficult step.  However, this is really crucial.  We need to give our bodies some time to heal itself once in awhile.  Usually, when I get a particularly bad tendinitis attack, I stop playing altogether if I can do so.  For example, right now, since I am on summer break, I can get away with doing maybe a couple of minutes of scales here and there. During the school year, if I have performances coming up, then I do a lot of mental practicing.  This really works!!  (I may do a separate post on this later)

3.  Eat well and sleep at least 7 hours a day.

This may sound silly, but I have found that getting at least 7 hours of sleep makes a huge difference!  Our bodies rebuild itself while we are sleeping, so after doing a lot of physical activity, like playing the violin, we need to give it time to relax and fix everything.  When we are sleep deprived, not only are we fatigued physically, we are also more prone to injury because we are not as alert about the signals our bodies are sending us.  And for eating, as they say, 'we are what we eat'.

sleep. what a wonderful concept.  it's especially enjoyable if the blanket becomes your cocoon =) 
So these are my go-to remedies for tendinitis.  A family friend who is a neurologist also gave me some tips, so after I try them out, I will post them for you here as well!  =)

Do you find yourself dealing with tendinitis?  What do you do to alleviate the symptoms?  Please share with us, we would love to learn from all of you!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Happy Friday!  =D

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