Saturday, April 30, 2011
RSI care for bassoonists
I took advantage of the long weekend to put in some extra practice and reedmaking time. I think it was really helpful, there were moments early this when I felt really good about my playing. And it had physical effects too, I felt like the muscles in my hands, arms, and abdomen are getting stronger. All delightful. Unfortunately, I also developed some arm pain, mostly radiating up from my pinkies (mostly left) to the elbow. On Friday, I even had to stop practicing due to pain. I've dealt with RSI in years past, due to typing during periods of intense work and stress. It can be scary, since there's a risk of permanent injury from overuse, and needs to be taken seriously I know. I've been trying to practice in smaller intervals, taking breaks to rest the arms as well as the brain. Trying to be a little more selective in what I work on, since the practices are short. I've also been trying to sleep more, my old typing RSI seemed to be responsive to extra rest and reduction of general life stress, which makes sense if the inflammatory disease is partly autoimmune. At my lesson on Thursday, M showed me some stretches that he does: hands placed palms together in front of chest, arms out and fingers pointing up (like a praying yoga pose), and again with fingers pointing down; another with arms straight out, hand hanging down, and pushing the hand further down. I've been trying these, plus anything else to stretch the affected region, like the wrist stretches I learned years ago taking aikido. Stretching is therapeutic, according to this link, apparently it helps the muscles and tendons relax and reduces the stress. Also hydration is important, something I wouldn't have guessed. M also suggested ibuprofen. I knew it was a good antiinflammatory, but I always worried that it'd just mask the pain, making it more likely that you'd overuse the injured part, and doing more harm than good. A med student friend assures me that this isn't the case: reducing inflammation is an absolute good, allowing the injury to heal, and suggested up to 600 mg maybe 2x a day, but to not use the affected part during the hours after taking the drug. The idea is to use this period to heal, not to allow even more overuse. I have to be careful, but I also have to practice.