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Neck pain...help!
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silverviolin
Pennsylvania
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December 25, 2011 - 11:54 am
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Really cool and inspiring site! I just started playing the violin at age 52 and love it. I am praying that is has nothing to do with my age but how I am holding the instrument that I have begun to experience neck and shoulder pain. It is a though I have a crick in my neck and my teacher says he doesn’t know what may be causing it. Am I tense when I play or should I be standing while playing...any thoughts or suggestions other than a heating pad?

Thanks.

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CGBownut
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December 25, 2011 - 12:03 pm
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I too am a beginner, and when I first started I had some pain in my neck and shoulder as well. What worked for me was to start slowly stretching my neck before I played. I did some online homework on exercises to help my neck and shoulders and now do some slow shoulder rolls in both directions and then the same with my neck in both directions before I even pick up the violin. The other big thing for me was, as you mentioned, I sometimes found myself tensing up, but for me it was at wrist and elbow. I have to focus and remind myself to relax.

  I found that after a week or so, I could practice longer and longer without any discomfort.

  Anyway that is what worked for me. Hope you are able to find what works for you.

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Oliver
NC
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December 25, 2011 - 12:29 pm
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I found that a new holding position almost always had aches and pains until I got used to it but if that continued for more than a week or so then I had trouble and made changes. 

I know now that a good set up feels good and allows me to play for extended periods of time without discomfort.   After all, the pros can play indefinitely.

coffee2

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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BCShalom
Seattle, WA
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December 25, 2011 - 1:03 pm
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My shoulder pain is very bad, and I am going to go see a doctor about it next week.  I am sure it is just arthritis and a normal part of aging, but it is really painful. I can't raise my arm in the morning, it is really a big problem, but not when I am playing!  smile Only when I rest my arm or lay on it when I sleep.  May have nothing at all to do with the violin.

 

Shalom Shalom

coffee1

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Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
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December 25, 2011 - 1:04 pm
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Hi, silverviolin! Welcome to the forum =)birthday_balloon

Actually i have similar problems with my neck and (left) shoulder. I don't know if it can help You, but i use to do some relaxing exercises before and after my practice. Nothing special - i just do what my body wants- some round movements with the head, arms and shoulders, some streaching exercises for the back too.. But i think it's better to find a way to hold the instrument without getting any pain.. I was not successful in that though... duncecap

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 25, 2011 - 11:28 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11706

Welcome to the site.

Lot's of great responses above but I would like to invite you to send a picture of how you are holding your fiddle. I can see a lot from that and the equipment (chin-rest and shoulder-rest) plus your shape (neck length, jaw) etc.
Even better would be a video but you may not want to do that.

Relaxing while playing and not squeezing are key issues. However it is hard not to squeeze if you have the wrong set up and are afraid to drop the violin.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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silverviolin
Pennsylvania
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March 17, 2012 - 12:09 pm
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Thank you so much for your comments and replies! After reading these, I focused on my posture, bowing arm position and how hard i held the violin between my neck and shoulder. I tend to use a lot of forcefulness/downward pressure when playing (amazingly, i haven't cracked the thing in half) and after softening my overall muscle tension, discovered the joys of painless playing. At times, there seems to be so much freakin' concentration on playing properly that i soon found myself creating all kind of distortions, bad posture, slipping violin from my shoulder, etc. It is as though it is a constant check-in or noticing while playing this instrument. I think i need a bigger cranium to hold it all together!

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Oliver
NC
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March 17, 2012 - 5:17 pm
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You are correct that the violin may be the most multi-tasking of all instruments ... or close to it.

There is nothing wrong with practicing with the focus only on a few problem issues.

Things will come together but maybe not as fast as you would like.

Divide and conquer.

coffee2

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
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March 17, 2012 - 5:36 pm
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That's right, silverviolin! And that's why in the beginning we should pay so much attention to the posture, holding the violin and the bow grip! I've almost found a comfortable posture for myself too - my neck now is almost happy (and mostly the problem was in my chin-rest. I've adjusted it and now it seems to be much more comfortable) birthday_balloon

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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March 18, 2012 - 10:15 am
Member Since: September 10, 2011
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Welcome Silverviolin. It's nice to have a fellow Pennsylvanian here.

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cdennyb
King for a Day, Peasant for many
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March 18, 2012 - 3:04 pm
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Welcome as well from the left coast of the US Silver...

In my case, a couple of trips to the chiropractor helped a bunch. I had some issues in my neck and had been living with it for so long, just figured it was suppose to feel like that... A couple of minor adjustments and guess what... I can turn my chin to left, hold down on the rest, and not even need my left hand to hold up the violin and not get a cramp or charlie-horse.

Just a thought. If you're body ain't ready to play, your mind will have a hard time playing. 

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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March 18, 2012 - 3:39 pm
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When I started playing I had some trouble with a stiff neck, bad neck from the bends, but getting the proper chinrest and shoulder rest combo did the trick for me.  It seems all violins come with the same chinrest yet not too many people actually like the ones that come with the new violins.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 18, 2012 - 11:10 pm
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You might benefit from the Chin-rest kit. 7 chin-rests to test and compare to.
http://fiddlershop.com/Chinres.....e=chinrest kit

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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