Pre-studio update & strain injury notes, for the curious

Hey folks – geez, I’ve been off the radar for a while! Time for an update:

1) I was lucky to be involved with the Coltrane Ballads project last Monday night at the Al Green Theatre, and what a success! The Danjam & Sneak Peek Orchestras pulled off a fantastic night of music, with all arrangements done by the one and only Daniel Jamieson, who also conducted the evening. For a rundown of the project, check out Dan’s interview with Josh Grossman here: http://torontojazz.com/guide/what-heck-coltrane-ballads-project

2) I had a great time with DMDP at Snaggle’s CD release show Sept 27 – buy their music here & be sure to keep an eye out – it`s almost OUR turn to release a record, and we can`t wait to share this music with you!

3) Speaking of making records, the Socialist Night School is going into the studio very, very soon! After a few months off, I’m super excited to get the band back together & work on some new material before we record. We’re also working on an anniversary show & album release in early 2014, so stay tuned for more details on that!

In other news, I wanted to note that I am typing this on an injured wrist – which, in a few minutes, will be resting for the duration of the evening. And the reason I wanted to let you know this is because I know there’s a few people out there who deal with injuries of their own, so – some of these rest/recovery/rehab tips are mine, and some are not, but here’s a short/quickly compiled list of things you should keep in mind as a musician hoping to avoid this problem.

(A disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional! I really don’t have all the answers! But, I’ve done my research and dealt with my share of injuries, so take this as a starting point – and when in doubt, ALWAYS ask your doctor/people who know better/people you trust. 🙂 )

To avoid being injured in the first place…

Check your positioning! Make sure that when you hold your instrument, sit at a computer, or really sit anywhere, that you’re using good posture and sitting comfortably. If you feel pressure in your back, on your arms/wrists or thumb (my current source of injury) while holding an instrument, or if you get cramped up in any of those joints, pay attention to your posture and experiment from there. I tell my saxophone students all the time that it shouldn’t hurt when they play – the saxophone should just be there, and they tilt it towards themselves to play – no heavy lifting involved.

Try stretching before you play/type! There’s a few good ones on here: http://bps.musespeak.com/2013/03/arm-and-hand-stretches-for-musicians.html
Y
ou don`t need to stretch for long (in some cases, that can actually aggravate your injuries) but you need to make sure those muscles are warmed up, and stretching is a good and gentle way to do that.

Also, remember that you can injure these same muscles by spending too much time on the computer, and by hauling too much gear (for two obvious occupational hazards). Be sure not to overdo it with this, and don’t carry more than you can comfortably lift (at least, not without help).

When you do get injured…

REST! Every doc will tell you, whether it’s repetitive strain or tendonitis or sprains or any other overuse injury, rest is absolutely key. As professional musicians it’s sometimes hard to take that time off, so my strategy is to avoid anything that’s optional. I only play when I have to, and I’m sure to stretch as necessary and adapt my posture so that I can play comfortably and with as little pain as possible. Sometimes I’ll wear a wrist brace, but very rarely (I find them too restrictive). When practicing, a friend of mine recommended 10min on – 5 min off – 10 min on – 30min off, etc. The key is not to overdo it – if you can’t take the time completely off, do whatever you can to compromise & be sure not to strain the injured muscles.

Heat or ice? I’ve heard differing opinions on this one, but the one that’s worked best for me is this: ice it for the first 48 hours, which numbs the pain from the initial injury, and then heat it after, which stimulates healing. I’ve also heard it recommended that you alternate heating & icing it (in that order) – I haven’t tried that one yet, but if you have, let me know how it works!

-Should I be taking painkillers/other medications? Again, this depends on the nature of the injury. If you have a strain injury that causes parts of the affected muscle/tendons to become inflamed, then taking Advil or another OTC anti-inflammatory will help reduce that inflammation.

Anyways, this is just a little bit from my experience – feel free to offer up your tips too, I’d love to hear them! And thanks to all the people who commented on FB and helped contribute some of these ideas. Just so you all know, the wrist is healing up nicely – but I’ve still got a few days to go before I’m back to 100%. So you take care, folks! And stay tuned for more updates. 🙂

-c

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~ by crymmusic on October 6, 2013.

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