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Golfers Elbow

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by DBass1989, Dec 23, 2011.


  1. DBass1989

    DBass1989

    Oct 4, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    I injured myself 3 months ago overplaying orchestra excerpts with sloppy technique. I've been to 3 different doctors about my injury and I was diagnosed with having developed Golfers Elbow in my Left forearm. It's been 3 months since I've been able to do anything with my left hand (currently typing with right only) and the dr said it would be 2-3 months before I can play again. It's still bothering me and I'm afraid to start playing in fear that I will injure myself even more. I'm a student in a conservatory and if I don't get better in a few weeks I'll be sent home. I was wanting to get a bassist view, preferably from people who've dealt w this issue personally about what I can do other than the stretches the Dr.s have given me to help speed up the healing process. Thanks.
     
  2. Joshua Phelps

    Joshua Phelps

    Feb 22, 2011
    Memphis
    Don't stop practicing in your mind. I mean really think about what your hands are doing & imagine your bass, & Sing or humb your notes.
     
  3. Perhaps try what tennis players use. There is a velcro-fastened strap that goes around your forearm an inch or so below the inside fold of your elbow, where your forearm is almost at its thickest. This limits the movement of your muscles as they flex and gives them support.

    Another tactic is to perhaps lower your string heights as much as possible and even change to lower tension strings.

    I would think that you should limit the amount of gentle stretching to a minimum because of the risk of re-injury and trying to mend over scar tissue, perhaps risking some permanent pain or slowing the recovery time. I would prefer you to be seeing a good sports physiotherapist for the best outcome. Take their advice on how best to manage your recovery, gradually building up your practice periods, but not necessarily stopping playing altogether.

    Another thought. This is a great chance to really develop your bow technique, strokes, string crossings, timing and coordination. Do some work on Zimmerman,s book on Bowing Technique.

    Best Wishes and Happy Christmas

    DP
     
  4. powerbass

    powerbass

    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    Golfer's Elbow is not a diagnosis it is a catch all term for inner elbow flexor tendon pain. There are a few issues that could be going on here - tendonosis is possible, you could also be having nerve compression. As David Potts mentioned seeing a sports PT is a good idea as well as reviewing technique with your teacher - I would concerned that your left wrist is flexed and not in a more neutral position. 3 months is a long time to rest. This may be good for your symptoms but you will be very weak when you go back to playing. You will need a significant amount of time rebuilding your playing strength/endurance, otherwise you are at risk of reinjuring yourself. A physical therapist will give you stretches/exercises to help condition your body to help improve the tendon capacity to deal with stress. It is not just your forearm that weakens with rest - your whole left arm and shoulder is included. Find the best therapists in your area, do research into your condition and get specific answers along with a specific exercise/management strategy
     
  5. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    +1. These recommendations have helped me in the past, along with accupuncture and massage. Getting your bass to play as easily as possible is important. I get this symptom from time to time (have it now as I write) and backing off from playing too hard and long helps.
     
  6. I have suffered from RSI in my left elbow for some time now. Lately, it has flared-up to the point where any load on the joint causes a sharp twinge. I have been to see a Kinesiologist who has given me some exercises as well as a tennis elbow support to wear as well. They take some getting used-to when playing but they do work (at least for me anyways).
     
  7. DBass1989

    DBass1989

    Oct 4, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    Thanks so much for all of the advice. I have seen a professional sports therapist a few times and another occupational therapist for myotherapy several times. Unfortunately I'm living in a location right now where its difficult to find a good Dr. who really knows about this specific issue and I've also ran out of money...

    The sports therapist put me on anti inflammatory medication for 6 weeks and both of them gave me a few stretches to do and said to not use it at all for anything until its 100% better (except they're not the best of doctors...)

    I'll look into the velcro strap idea and am wondering if any of you iced your arm (some say do it. others say it wont speed up healing process) to help. I've lowered my bridge and am trying to save to get some solo strings to start back on. I'm going to start up again very slowly and carefully but am not sure exactly when I should start. I don't want to agitate my arm anymore but its been 3 months already!:(
     
  8. Icing does help. It is a good idea to ly low for a while until things improve. Seeing as my left elbow was the issue, I just worked on the bow arm until things improved. Good luck.
     
  9. powerbass

    powerbass

    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    there are a few reasons for tendon pain (tendonopathy), inflammation is one of them. typically inflammation is the first phase in the injury/healing process, the longer the symptoms continue the less likely they are due to inflammation. if you see an improvement w/ice/anti inflammatories then that is great. tendonosis is a degenerative injury process typically w/out inflam. you might want to ask your therapists about tendonosis. starting an exercise program is important, stretching is one piece as strengthening and self massage, posture and overall body conditioning, self awareness/stres reduction etc.
     
  10. DBass1989

    DBass1989

    Oct 4, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    Thanks everyone for the responses. I'm currently trying to get an appointment for another orthopedic specialist but in the meantime, does anyone know about icing the arm vs. using heat? I've read a lot online about the issue and I can't tell if I should ice it because there is still inflammation or if I should start using heat now since its been over 3 months since the injury first occurred. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
     
  11. powerbass

    powerbass

    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    As I posted above, ice is for acute inflammatory reactions, 3 months is a long time out from the original injury for inflammation to be a significant issue. Try heat and direct massage on the painful tendons as well as long strokes on the whole forearm, follow with gentle stretching.
     

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