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Like tennis elbow....but bow thumb.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
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peanut_gallery
colorado
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December 15, 2012 - 9:57 pm
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The lower thumb joint on my bow hand has been hurting and been stiff some this past week and the only thing I can think of that could have caused it is that I've been practicing quite a bit lately, like at least 2 hours a day. It feels just fine with a bow in my hand.

So does bow thumb exist? Think if it like tennis elbow.

A hoopy frood always knows where his towel is!

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Ferret
Byron Bay Australia
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December 15, 2012 - 10:52 pm
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Hi @peanut_gallery

 

How long is it since you started playing the violin?

It could be over use. Have you tried a different bow grip. My bow hold is rather different now to when I started to learn. It's much lighter and looser now. I'm also finding that it's letting my wrist be a bit more flexible.

 

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 15, 2012 - 11:47 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Make sure you are not squeezing more than necessary. You may just need to get used to it slowly. It could be the sudden increase in your practicing. Just keep in mind when practicing that you can relax certain parts of your body more than you may realize. Only use the energy that is absolutely necessary for the task at hand, if possible.

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

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Feathers
Colorado, USA
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December 16, 2012 - 6:03 pm
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Maybe this will help, as it does apply to musicians smile

The video below is what helped me when I had the same type of thing with my right thumb, which wasn't a music related injury, but got bad enough that I couldn't bend it after awhile. And of course it was painful too.

She's a licensed massage therapist that teaches self-help techniques, and has a lot of other videos about tendon, carpal tunnel, and related issues.

feature=share&list=UU18TfO8yuKc1lCsqqtHKoKw

"Music is what feelings sound like." ~ Author Unknown

 

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LindaK
Huntsville, Texas
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December 16, 2012 - 7:24 pm
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I also experienced this at first. Make sure you are Curving your thumb rather than keeping it straight. Once I began curving it the pain immediately went away. This may not be your problem but I hope it is because it's such an easy fix!

The most beautiful things in life cannot be touched or seen. They must be felt with the heart. ~Helen Keller~

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KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
December 16, 2012 - 8:23 pm
Member Since: March 14, 2012
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Thanks for posting that video, Feathers. I'm gonna give that a try.

I've been experiencing something similar to what peanut gallery described, though it started with pain in my wrist.

I've been getting sharp pain in my wrist about an inch above the wrist bone. It's not just -- or even primarily -- when I play the violin, but, like the therapist in the video above described, it's when I grab or grip using my thumb and bend my wrist at the same time.

I also often hear and feel a clicking or snapping in my wrist when I move it that way. I'm also experiencing pain at the base of my thumb.

I've been wearing a rigid brace off and on during the day, and a flexible brace when I play the violin.

I've noticed that other activities seem to aggravate it, most notably, using the touch pad on my laptop and certain actions while using my tablet and smartphone.

Anyway, if this doesn't help, I'm gonna see the hand surgeon that my doc recommended. This is crimping my violin progress!

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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Feathers
Colorado, USA
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December 16, 2012 - 8:59 pm
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@KindaScratchy, You're welcome smile

Hope some of her techniques will help you. She has a bunch of videos for the wrist, and hands too etc.

Here's her page with more to consider or try:

http://www.youtube.com/user/Di.....ture=watch

She was a real life saver for me!

Along with thumb & palm pain - my thumb was stuck, and if it bent at all it would kind of click like you mentioned, and then get stuck in the bent position. It was awful.

I'll be interested to know how it goes for you, got my fingers crossed!

"Music is what feelings sound like." ~ Author Unknown

 

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soma5
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December 16, 2012 - 9:58 pm
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The interesting thing about these sorts of injuries (and more in general, excess stress in your muscles) is that we always talk about playing with no stress, using as little effort as possible.  This is of course completely correct, but it doesn't give the prescription for being able to do this.  If I may, I'd like to tell a story.

One of the things people tell me when I play guitar is that I make things look effortless.  That's not a boast, that's the result of doing it for many years.  Decades.  My muscles are so accustomed to playing guitar that I can do it will very little stress and muscle tension.  A new player will always have more tension, because the muscles and tendons are not accustomed to the motions.  I used to tell students (and I am ashamed of this) to practice using the least tension possible, as if they could tell.  The reality is that new motions will create excess tension because your muscles are not attuned to the motion yet.  The best advice that I've been able to give is to break up your practice time into shorter chunks, like 15 minutes at a time.  Eventually, given that you know you should use as little effort as possible, your body will learn the motions and start using less effort.  That is the time when the "traditional" advice starts to become useful.  If you have pain, back off.  Wait for a week.  Try again.  If you still have pain, back off for another week.  Once you can play without pain, play for 10 minutes, tops.  Rest for at least 30 minutes before playing again.  Then play for 5 minutes.  Do not "practice through the pain."

You will most certainly enjoy playing the violin for many years if you make sure to get through the early stages without hurting yourself.  It is best to back off and make sure your body is working properly before you start to push yourself.  Many practice sessions of 5 minutes each may work better than on practice session of an hour.  Never measure yourself by how long you can practice in a single stretch.  That way be dragons.

Best of luck to you!

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peanut_gallery
colorado
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December 16, 2012 - 10:36 pm
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Thanks for the replies everyone! I haven't practiced in a couple days now to give it a bit of a rest. Its still a bit tight and uncomfortable. One thing I've really noticed is how much your thumb comes into play in almost everything you do with your hand.

@Ferret - I've been playing for about a year now but just recently started taking lessons. One thing my teacher had me change was my bow hold.

@fiddlerguy - With the new bow hold I did notice I was squeezing at first but my hold has relaxed more now that I'm used to it. I also had tension in my bow shoulder that I have been working on relaxing.

@Feathers - Major kudos to you! Just watched the video and found a tender spot right where she mentioned. A quick rub and thumb is noticeably better! Thank You!!

@LindaK - That was one thing my teacher corrected. I'm now able to play with a bent thumb without much thought.

@kindascratchy - Good luck with your wrist and hopefully you wont need any surgery. Im only 28 but my hands and wrists have taken a bit of a beating over the years from work and play.

@soma5 - I know I play with some unnecessary tension. Better then when I first started but my teacher is pointing out a few things I never really noticed.

I stayed in a hotel over the weekend and developed a wonderful muscle knot behind my left shoulder blade that extends up through the back of my neck. So now even the little pressure needed on the chin rest is uncomfortable. Hope it goes away or at least lessens because I have 2 recitals this week.

A hoopy frood always knows where his towel is!

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Feathers
Colorado, USA
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December 17, 2012 - 7:33 pm
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@peanut_gallery - You're very welcomesmile

I'm so happy to know that it helped, and hope it'll continue to get better real soon!

"Music is what feelings sound like." ~ Author Unknown

 

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