extreme wrist pain

Posted by: CarolinaSprings1

extreme wrist pain - 11/10/01 09:10 PM

I've been getting extreme wrist pains lately. I practice about 1.5 to 2.5 hours per day with pieces that usually have large chords. My hands are fairly small but I question whether that is the real reason. I have never had pain in my wrists until this year. Should I see a doctor? Is there a problem with my hand position? If someone has any advice or experience to share please do so.
Posted by: Amy

Re: extreme wrist pain - 11/10/01 10:40 PM

Definatly see a doctor RIGHT AWAY!! I had wrist problems last year and I had to have surgery to fix it. I also have small hands and sometimes when people with small hands play large chords, they move their hands in akward ways that cause problems. I would recommend trying to find someone who does performing arts medicine. There aren't many of these people around but I know that there is one in Ithaca, NY if you are interested. There is information on the Ithaca College webpage about him under the physical therapy section. If you have any other questions, you can IM me (Aquarius85) or e-mail me at Pianogirl185@aol.com
Make sure you get to a doctor!!
Posted by: ryan

Re: extreme wrist pain - 11/16/01 12:00 AM

I experienced extreme wrist pain for a period in college. I was learning Rachmaninoff's 1st Piano Concerto at the time and some other crashy romantic pieces like Liszt's 10th Transcendental Etude. The pain got so bad that I could hardly stand to turn a door knob after a practice session. My teacher was smart enough to pull back on my work load and give me a chance to recover. In hindsight I think I was practicing with WAY too much weight and stiffness. I was using weight to try to get more clarity and volume on broken down Yamaha G1 practice pianos. What I wound up doing was over stressing my wrists to the point of pain. Wrists can only take so much. Even in big chordal passages you need to make sure to not overplay the piano - that is, don't try to generate more volume than the piano is capable of. Find places to hold back on the volume so that you aren't playing FFF the entire time (this is easier on the listener as well). And make sure not to continue to put pressure on the after the note has sounded - this wastes useless energy and puts a LOT of stress on the wrists. Also, try to keep your wrists up - don't let them sag down below the level of the keys. This puts your hands at an angle to your forearms, which also puts a lot of stress on your wrists. It's ok for the wrists to be higher than your forarms, this is part of having flexible wrists, but the wrists really should rarely or never go below your forarms. Again, this generates a lot of stress.

Another thing, do not practice for too long in a row - 15 to 20 minutes at the most for demanding music. One of my problems was that I was practicing far too long without a breat - 2 to 3 hours. Most of it was not very productive either, because I went unconscious part way through \:\)

Hope this helps. Good luck with it...

Ryan
Posted by: Jemima

Re: extreme wrist pain - 11/16/01 06:53 PM

yes, you MUST see a doctor..and neogotiate with your teacher (if u have one!) because if u ugnore your pain and continue the same pattern each day, i would predict you'll developing RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) this will not go away! I WARN YOU! so get it checked..

good-luck!

P.S my school music teacher had RSI has a teenager (a very commited pianist) and now she can't barely play anymore!
Posted by: piqué

Re: extreme wrist pain - 11/21/01 12:05 AM

another tip: try to consciously relax your muscles in between the notes. in other words, you play a chord, then let the hand relax before it plays the next chord. the hands need to be given minute breaks like this all through your playing, continuous breathers for your muscles.

if you do get so sore and uncomfortable that you can't play, in addition to taking a long rest, you can learn the alexander technique to insure your body mechanics are correct. and you can also heal damage that may have been done by getting rolfed. i'm told that leon fleisher was able to return to the piano because of rolfing. i am having my arms and hands rolfed now to relieve some old (non-piano related) injuries, and it is helping me a lot. see a certified rolfer.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: extreme wrist pain - 11/21/01 08:36 AM

And "rolfing" is....
Posted by: piqué

Re: extreme wrist pain - 11/21/01 09:40 AM

Rolfing is a kind of bodywork therapy.
www.idaprolf.org
Posted by: fr

Re: extreme wrist pain - 11/21/01 02:48 PM

Carolina:

Do you also work at computer keyboards for long periods of time? If so, that may be the source of your wrist pain.

A few years ago, I was experiencing some wrist pain so I bought a computer keyboard wrist pad to support my wrists and started lifting weights to strengthen the forearm flexor/extensor muscles located between the hand and elbow. It worked: the pain gradually went away over a period of time. (The problem didn't develop overnight so it's not going to go away overnight).

Good luck.