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Violin Playing and Neck Pain
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (7 votes) 
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Crazymotive
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July 19, 2012 - 5:47 pm
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Hello,

Has anyone out here ever experienced occasional  neck or shoulder pain after playing the violin either on occasion. Reason i ask is because I have been experiencing a somewhat chrinic pain in the back of the neck/shoulder. Some days and times it is worst than others but it is never so bad that it prevents me from playing or functioning.  It feels like it is definately muscular because it is more like a soreness if I stretch my neck or hold my head in an awkward position or put strain on the neck. It is also on one side, namely the side on which the violin is held.

Here's the catch. I never played with a shoulder rest or any kind of shoulder support. Since I was a kid I always played with only a chin rest. When I hold the violin I tend to bend my neck forward to lock the violin in place between the chin and the collarbone. I tend to suspect I am craning my neck forward and placing too much pressure on the chin rest and resulting tension on my shoulder, neck muscles making them chronically sore. Indeed, if I press my neck forward and downward I can feel it when I release that tension.

I was thinking of trying to simply not play the violin for a week or so and see what happens. But I would hate to give up the practice.  Of course in addition to seeing a chiropractor or specialist I am also considering a shoulder rest or some sort of shoulder support as well as trying to improve my playing posture overall.

 

Has anyone else experienced pain, discomfort resulting from playing your violin or viola and, if so what steps did you take to correct the problem ?  I understand this is quite common among many players and is sometimes tricky to correct.

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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July 19, 2012 - 6:31 pm
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I suggest trying to add height to your chin rest by putting a sponge on it or if you might want to try a shoulder rest you can first try different thicknesses of sponge under the violin. The whole idea is to have your head in an upright position and not cocked to the side. When it's right the violin will easily sit there without feeling like you have to hold it. It just locks in.

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Picklefish
Merritt Island, Fla
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July 19, 2012 - 6:51 pm
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what kevin said. And, if you dont fix the issue, you will have a serious problem. Its important.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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Crazymotive
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July 19, 2012 - 8:21 pm
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Okay, thanks for the input. I strongly suspect that is the problem. I am craning my neck down too far and using too much tension to hold the instrument. Last think I need is neck/shoulder issues or other problems so I will heed the advice.

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springer
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July 19, 2012 - 10:08 pm
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I had some problems, but I was streching my neck up. So I took off my rest and switched to a pad.lumpy-2134blurry_drunk-2127

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
July 19, 2012 - 11:17 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Lot's of good suggestions but I would like to emphasize that if you have balance with your fiddle you can almost play without holding it at all.
It's important to learn to relax while playing and not to squeeze too hard.

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

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Crazymotive
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July 20, 2012 - 5:49 am
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Today I made a concious effort not to bend my neck and squeeze my chin down into the rest and so far I feel less soreness. in the neck and shoulder.  We'll see how it goes over the next few days.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
July 20, 2012 - 6:55 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11694

Usually will take some time for the pain to disappear completely but it's great that you are on the right track. smile

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

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EJ-Kisz
Midwest, US
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July 20, 2012 - 10:31 am
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I know your pain, Crazymotive!

Like everyone's suggested, finding the correct height for your chin rest and a good shoulder rest is very important.  It makes a world of difference!  

I had similar problems when starting (I also had some injuries to contend with) and went through a four different shoulder rests before finding one that actually keeps my neck & shoulder aligned perfectly.  With previous ones, I still had to "clamp down" which  caused all my muscles to tighten more than usual.  Talk about being sore!  

Have you tried stretching before practicing?  I go through a series of quick, hand/wrist, arm/shoulder and neck/back stretches before I play.  It may sound a little odd, but it helps me in a big way!

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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EJ-Kisz
Midwest, US
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July 20, 2012 - 7:03 pm
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I made this a while back when I first started playing.  It's been so much help!  I have a little routine now before I practice which only takes maybe a minute to get ready!  

 

Hope this helps!

 

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“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
July 21, 2012 - 7:49 pm
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Great stuff. Thanks.

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

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EJ-Kisz
Midwest, US
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July 25, 2012 - 4:54 pm
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No Problem, Pierre!

I think you touched on the issue of stretching in one of your vids........I think it was the bouncing bow video!  

I know some people think it's strange to stretch before playing violin, but it helps!

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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