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Playing DB with frozen shoulder?

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by atomicbass, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. atomicbass


    Mar 9, 2010

    Haven't posted in years, but I'm looking for advice and sympathy. Had rotator cuff surgery on my right (bowing) shoulder in Sept, been doing PT for 1 month, and tried playing bass for the first time yesterday. Hurt like **** afterwards, but my student asked me to play for him, so what could I say?

    My surgeon says I'm getting a frozen shoulder. I've laid off bass playing for about 6 months (including 4 months prior to surgery), and just can't stand NOT playing any more!

    I'm wondering if anyone out there has the same problem, and what have you done about it?

    PS. I'm a 50-something female...and it's my dominant shoulder/arm.
  2. logans59


    Jul 1, 2012
    Kennesaw, GA
    Since I'm going to school to become a Physical Therapist, this post makes me cringe. The best thing for you to do is to keep up with PT to regain your strength/ range of motion from your surgery. Frozen shoulder is often caused by doing too much too fast, causing the biceps tendon to inflame. If you're only 1 month post-op, a few more weeks of going easy and keeping up with PT could get you back to normal, but if you do too much, you could be dealing with this problem for months, or even years.
  3. edmidlifecrisis

    edmidlifecrisis Registered mediocre bass player

    Much sympathy from an electric player here. A good PT can help with that, during therapy sessions and with at-home exercises. I had that surgery one year ago. It's been a long trip back. I'm not an upright player (electric only) but it was still a long road back. My therapist was excellent, a doctorate in the field and works with many professional athletes, knows her stuff. Group PT won't cut it, you need individual PT sessions. Quick action can prevent permanent problems. Good luck and most importantly, DO THE AT HOME STUFF YOUR THERAPIST TELLS YOU TO. If it is passive only, stay passive.

    I just saw logan's post and think it is great!!
  4. jaff

    jaff Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2006
    Add occasional acupuncture treatments to your physical therapy routine. This can further stimulate circulation in the affected region, while stimulating brain endorphines and the immune system.
  5. notabene


    Sep 20, 2010
    SF Bay area
    I have had chronic (right) shoulder pain for over ten years since surgery to tighten a shoulder that had dislocated 5 times. Traded chronic pain for occasionally excruciating pain (dislocation). Strengthening (rubber bands) exercise seems to help a little. But two of the things I enjoy most, bicycling and bass playing, both arco and pizz cause next day's pain increase. When I am enjoying life most, playing and cycling, the pain is pretty continuous. For me, acceptance of how important these activities are for me makes me grin and bear it. Ibuprovin or asperin may help, but I am now trying acetomenephin. Good luck.
  6. powerbass


    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    Adhesive Capsulitis is the medical term for frozen shoulder and it is common after shoulder trauma/surgery. As logans59 pointed out you need to continue w/PT otherwise you will loose further mobility and have increasing pain. Requesting more PT from your primary care MD is important. Rehabing shoulders is tricky, there are a lot of muscles and the shoulder has a large range of movement - progress is measure in many months to years. A PT can help get you on a home mobility/exercise routine that you will do faithfully! Bowing is painful because it requires significant rotator cuff activation - you have scar tissue that is making movement painful. See your doctor
  7. atomicbass


    Mar 9, 2010
    Wow, these are all great comments! I appreciate the fast responses. Good to know other bassists out there know about this condition! I see my PT 3X per week (really painful afterwards!), but sometimes get lazy at home and don't do my "homework" stretches. Think I'll warm up my shoulder right now and get to my stretches....
  8. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    Logan59 seems to have the right answer, PT and lay off. If you want to play try an ebg, not the same thing but the shoulder positioning makes it easier (IMO). Hurt my shoulder putting the finishing touches on a kitchen remodel, several years ago,and had to leave the big boy in the corner for six months. Sleeping was 'not easy' either. My sympathies...
  9. atomicbass


    Mar 9, 2010
    Thanks, Style. Dr. said I could start playing DB now...officially (9 weeks post-op for rotator cuff surgery)! However, no heavy lifting, so I think I have to find a roadie... :) As for pain after playing, Dr. said I just need to do my stretches, and then more stretches, and then follow up with some more stretching after that... I guess that is the treatment for frozen shoulders, just tons of stretching in-between bass playing. Not a lot of fun. :-(