I think I may have tissue damage or a lip injury.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by RB-R37297, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. RB-R37297

    RB-R37297 Pianissimo User

    Mar 12, 2009
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    So long story short, I was playing with the school band for convocation the other day and I noticed that my endurance was in the toilet - it's never really been impressive, but I just wasn't getting the job done that day. After the ceremony, one of the other trumpet players remarked that my top lip was pretty swollen, to which I responded that it's always been like that. This got me thinking. I went home and looked up some stuff on lip injury, and I think maybe I've done myself an injury. My top lip is perpetually swollen, but then again I haven't had a solid break from playing since when I went on vacation last summer. So let's assume that I do in fact have damage to my lip. Is this going to go away on its own or do I need to see a doctor and get this fixed? Also, university auditions are in seven or eight months. Do I have enough time to recover reasonably well from this or can I kiss them goodbye? I've immediately decided to wait either one week or two and see if the swelling goes down, but what do you think I should do to help this recover? Is this a career ending injury?

    Enclosed are crude diagrams of what my "damaged" lips look like and what i think normal lips look like. The swelling is slightly exaggerated in size but the shape seems more or less accurate.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. RB-R37297

    RB-R37297 Pianissimo User

    Mar 12, 2009
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Do you have any recommendations as to who I should see about this?
  3. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    Let me make a couple comments as a physician. This could be an embouchure overuse syndrome. This is often a clinical diagnosis, meaning that the history and symptoms alone are used to come to this conclusion. The treatment is often rest, followed by rehabilitation.

    It's difficult to answer your question about whether it will go away, go away in time for auditions next year, or whether you need medical treatment. It depends on whether you are hurt, or whether this is a true injury to the muscles or nerves.

    If you don't have one, find a private teacher. It would be great if you could find one with some experience in embouchure injuries. But any good private teacher should be able to help you with rehabilitation exercises to get your lips back in shape.

    If things don't resolve with rest and rehabilitation, then it might might be worth visiting a physician. But keep in mind that he/she may not have any experience with embouchure overuse, unless he/she has a background in Performing Arts Medicine. But a primary care physician could make sure other medical issues are contributing to this problem. If nerve damage is a possibility, he/she might refer you to a neurologist. If a muscle tear is a possibility, there are a couple plastic surgeons who specialize in this type repair (one is at Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland). But we're getting way ahead of things here. It might be test to start with rest and rehabilitation under the direction of a good teacher, and see what happens.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2009
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    If you are not beating yourself up while playing, then you have a real problem. I know nothing about you, but the few lines that you have posted while at TM make me think that you have little or no real structure to your daily playing, and if you don't really have much endurance, it leads me to believe that you aren't practicing enough or efficiently.

    In the building stage, you have to have a daily routine, preferably low impact to promote building and not tearing down what little that you have. I have at least 500 posts on daily routine. Our search feature will find them for you.

    Ice water is the only thing that I recommend against swelling. If you need medication, your playing or suitability for the instrument is questionable.

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