jaw pain

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by tpter1, Apr 24, 2006.

  1. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Age:
    53
    2,259
    11
    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    Manny- I have a student I'm switching over to horn. He's experiencing some jaw pain where the lower jaw hinges on the upper jaw. He also mentions that he gets pain there after about 2 hours or so on trumpet (after festival rehearsals). I have my suspicions, but want to check what you say to see if I'm right.

    As a side, he has always had some articulation problems...sounds almost like he uses an L instead of "tooh"...it's been imporving over time with a steady diet of Arban.
     
  2. trumpjosh

    trumpjosh Pianissimo User

    115
    0
    Dec 13, 2003
    I'll wait for Manny to chime in before I give my $0.02, but I have dealt with this myself a lot and have some suggestions.
     
  3. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    5,915
    10
    Sep 29, 2004
    USA
    Glenn,

    Any pain in the body usually comes from having that part do sopmething it wasn't designed to do. Since we weren't designed to play trumpet and we have established a variety of methods to accomplish that, it's easy to imagine that we can distort muscles and tendons to do things "wrong".

    With that as you basis, we realize that we must allow the body to accomplish this trumpet playing business in a way that is "natural" to each one of us. The advice for one person may work beautifully for 9 people and then there's that 10th one...

    I woul have the kid play and then notice how differently he looks when he plays. If we use Al Vizuti as one extreme where he lloks as though barely anything has changed when he goes to play, observe to see what is external with your student.

    Look for signs of stress like, a lot of Adam's Apple bobbing, over manipulation of the corners, the cords of the neck becoming apparent very quickly instead of gradually... things like that. The abdomen is a huge indicator of tightness that will spider out to various parts of the body including the neck and parts within like the tongue.

    So, my friend, a lot of possibilities here... good luck and let's se if we can't get him to just release the air instead of squeeze it out or engage in unnecessary tensions that maybe manifesting themselves in the neck and throat area.

    ML
     
  4. trumpjosh

    trumpjosh Pianissimo User

    115
    0
    Dec 13, 2003
    I like Manny's comments. Hopefully, he is correct and it is nothing serious.

    However, there could be another possible issue and that is TMJ. TMJ is really just an acronymn for the jaw joint, but it is also used to describe a condition which is basically inflamation of that joint. I went through this a while ago (5+ years ago) and it is indeed very uncomfortable if not downright painful. It was exacerbated by over-playing with a tense jaw - I was working too hard to push the jaw forward, which it is not really designed to do. It was so bad, I was losing hearing in my left ear after practicing for even twenty minutes. I tried relaxing my jaw, changing angles, etc. No dice. I thought I was going to have to quit playing.

    When I consulted my dentist, he referred me to an orthodontist and a physical therapist. The orthodontist thought it might have to do with clenching my jaw when I slept so he fitted me for some retainers. This helped some. What really helped was physical therapy. After three sessions and being taught some excercises to do on my own, I was relieved to find that the discomfort/pain went away. I really watch what I was doing when I was playing to make sure I wasn't adding excess tension to my jaw.

    Due to our varying dental and skeletal structures, some people have a lot of problems with this and some (most) never experience it. Manny is probably right and it can probably be taken care of by correcting the kid's technique, but if it persists then you can refer to my experiences if it helps. There is a lot of info on this out there, but much of it is misleading. Only a medical/dental professional can steer you in the right direction and then only if they really understand your circumstances and needs.

    Unfortunately, over time I've had lots of trouble with my face, teeth, and jaw. I'm happy to report that none of these issues have popped up in the last few years, but I don't have to tell you how frustrating and scary it can be when you're relying on the horn for your income.

    Good luck,
    Josh
     
  5. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Age:
    53
    2,259
    11
    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    Thank you very much, both of you. Those are very insightful; from what I hear in his playing, Manny seems right on (again). It does not seem as extreme as your problems, Josh, so hopefully it is not TMJ. I won't get to see him play until tomorrow, but will definitely report back after I do.
     
  6. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Age:
    53
    2,259
    11
    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    So I saw him today. HE actually figured it out, after we had a breif discussion yesterday afternoon.

    He has an underbite, and as a result is thrusting his jaw forward. I have one too, and I don't do that with my jaw. (I actually had to set my embouchre to see if I do or not). So I had him just practice inhaling and setting the embouchre as if he's going to play, but not thrusting the jaw forward. No mouthpiece on the mouth; just breathe in and set then release the air. 5-10 minutes a day. We'll see where this goes.
     
  7. trumpjosh

    trumpjosh Pianissimo User

    115
    0
    Dec 13, 2003
    I'm confused... this sounds like an overbite. When he closes his mouth, are his upper teeth in front of his lower teeth? If so, this is an overbite, I believe (which most people have naturally). This is exactly the same problem I had when I was thrusting my jaw forward excessively. If he is experiencing pain because of that, it would be best to nip it in the bud. Fortunately, he has a good teacher, right?
     
  8. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Age:
    53
    2,259
    11
    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    Oops. Overbite. Sorry. I typed in a hurry. Thanks for mentioning that, Josh.

    And...thanks for the compliment.
     
  9. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

    684
    3
    Nov 27, 2003
    Denver
    The overbite manipulation for playing is probably the issue in this particular case.

    However, TMJ builds gradually, but usually starts at a relatively young age. Hence, a teenager may clench their jaw and experience some soreness, but not reach a point of extreme pain for 10-20 or 30-years. Clenching or grinding the jaw in sleep is the typical cause. Some people are not aware of clenching or grinding, but waking up with headaches or high tension in the back of the neck or shoulders are almost sure signs. Strangely, the joint itself doesn't necessarily feel tender early on.

    Anyhoo, TMJ can be really very serious and should be headed off at as young and age as possible.

    Dave
     
  10. trumpjosh

    trumpjosh Pianissimo User

    115
    0
    Dec 13, 2003
    Dave -

    True. Young joints can deal with a lot of stress. For me, it was this manipulation that eventually caused all my problems and it didn't manifest itself until my mid-late 20s, about 6 months after I made an adjustment to my playing. Strangely, I was never a teeth grinder, but I know this causes the issues often. I'll bet at any rate that a more relaxed playing posture for the jaw will alleviate the problem. I know many woodwind players (particularly clarinet) that have had similar issues due to facial tension while practicing.

    - Josh
     

Share This Page