Comeback trumpeter , hand / wrist pain

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Milby, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. Milby

    Milby New Friend

    Dec 6, 2012
    Cardiff / UK
    First of all Hi everyone, I have enjoyed reading all your posts for a while before I registered myself.

    My problem is as indicated in the title, but just for a bit of background - I used to play trumpet in school till I was around 20 - then I stopped playing for a long time (14 years).

    Luckily I had the sense not to sell my trusty stradivarius, and recently someone suggested I start again and join their funk / jazz band for a bit of fun - turns out its been one of the best decisions I've made as its been great!

    I have also started lessons with both a classical and jazz teacher to improve my playing and get quickly back to the standard I was at.

    This comeback started about 5 months ago, and around 1 month ago, I started noticing a dull ache in my right hand (valve hand) all through the tendons and forearm. The more scale like exercises I do , the greater the pain - and the pain persists after the exercise.

    The pain has been steadily increasing.

    If it helps, I work in I.T so am using a keyboard all day as well.

    I am worrying what I have is something along the lines of RSI / tendonitis / Carpel Tunnel - but am thinking it could just be because I havent played in a few years and my body is adjusting to it again.

    1.) Do you think I should just play through the the pain?

    2.) Any other suggestions?

    I have tried (short term) heat treatment and ibuprofen / paracetamol and have ordered some pressure gloves for arthritis / RSI.

    Many thanks for your help / thoughts guys

  2. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land

    First things first - see a Doctor.
    Secondly - how is your tension?
  3. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    Hi Paul,

    I agree with Ted - you would do well to seek out professional advice. Bring your trumpet with you to demonstrate how your hand looks while you are playing it. Without knowing how you are holding the horn I would suspect you are grasping the horn with your thumb and little (pinky) finger, drawing the palm of your hand closer to the valves, then arching your playing fingers on to the valve keys. If this is the case then you may be causing some tendon strain through the back of your hand from the wrist, and by kinking your wrist to get your hand more vertical you would be restricting/reducing the bloodflow to your hand. To alleviate this I would move my thumb-tip to the position under the leadpipe between the 1st and 2nd valves and float my little (pinky) finger around the pinky ring rather than anchoring it there, and not bend my hand at the wrist so much. Of course I am not a physician and I may be wrong, so please bear that in mind.

    Good luck,


    Ivan's post below makes a good suggestion too.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  4. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY
    Consult a teacher of the Alexander technique
  5. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    See your physician. This could be a sign of carple tunnel syndrome, which may include secondary causes that should be evaluated by your physician. Until then, I suggest you use a "cock-up-splint" for your wrist 1)While you are sleeping at night; 2)While you are playing the horn. Heck, you could be known as the "Michelle Jackson" of Trumpet Players. [Always try to find the good side of things - yep that's the kind of doctor I am, a true hunitarian]

    Welcome to TM, where you get free medical advice from our physician members with the motto: You get what you pay for!
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Dr. O back again... If for instance, you really appreciate the medical advice you get from your physician members... just hit the rep button (the sheriff star in the tool bar at the bottom of the post panel). We then send this information to our respective medical boards to maintain our certification. So please help your keep your medical members from pan handling off the streets, and hit that rep button for us today. Hit the button with your left hand... You know... First do no harm... Yep that's me, a real humanitarian.

    By the way, to all the other TM members that I helped pull out from the spiral of dysfunctional health (hint: those of you that I gave back the ability to hear, provided healing of their lip dysfunction, stamped out mental illness and prevented sudden cardiac death) hit that rep button now.
    tedh1951 and bumblebee like this.
  7. Kays

    Kays New Friend

    Jan 15, 2013
    Could simply be fatigue.

    Although a Trumpet may not appear to be a heavy weight it is held in a constant position for potentially a long time.

    Come back players often notice they are using muscle combinations unused for years.

    Depends on the severity of the problem.. I would have to agree about seeing a Doc. Good chance its nothing to worry about, but get checked out as others have suggested.
  8. Buck with a Bach

    Buck with a Bach Fortissimo User

    Dec 29, 2009
    Canton, Ohio
    Could be the start of CT. Been there, done that......twice. mine was repetitive motion though( paced line assembler). Get it looked after before nerve damage sets in if it is CT. Still have some problems with my right, over use causes the index finger to lock/cramp. Had an episode yesterday while rolling smokes:oops:
  9. BinaryHulledIon

    BinaryHulledIon Piano User

    Nov 23, 2012
    Spartanburg, SC
    As a CTS sufferer, this is the first thing I thought of. I've tried a wide variety of braces, and they help noticeably, even if it looks like you just finished a frame of bowling. I like compression braces, as the ones with the hard "spoons" inside usually don't fit my hands that well.

    Look who's begging for some rep. :lol:

    Not that I don't appreciate the good dr's here. Onady occasionally knows what he's talking about.
  10. Forte User

    Jan 27, 2008
    Brisbane, Australia
    If its carpal tunnel, they can do tests. The surgery is dead easy. I highly recommend it. Before having the surgery on both wrists, I suffered with it for years, not sleeping well and having a lot of pain and even having my hands go numb while driving. Turns out I had so much pressure on my nerves in my wrists that they had big dents in them, like when your jeans are too tight. After an outpatient surgery and a few weeks of not lifting more than 15 pounds, no more problems.

    Other than that, you shouldn't be holding much weight of the trumpet with your valve hand. Don't use the pinky hook. Jeanne Pocius talks about holding the trumpet in her book Trumpeting by Nature.

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