Pressure related maladies

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jim miller, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. Harald

    Harald New Friend

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    Sep 11, 2008
    Iowa City, IA

    The least thing I want to do is causing damage and if I have caused damage I apologize.

    I am just very interested in the topic because blood pressure variability is my area of research. I don't believe that any of these blood pressure fluctuations related to trumpet playing are a health problem for the majority of trumpet players. But they are very interesting from a physiologist point of view (that's were I am coming from).

    First, there is a respiratory blood pressure variablity (also referred to as high frequency blood pressure variability). This is an increase in blood pressure during expiration and a decreaes in blood pressure during inspiration. These respiratory blood pressure fluctuations are present in any human subject during normal resting and relaxed breathing. These fluctuations in blood pressure are in the range of only ~5 mmHg and have no clinical relevance (not harmful at all) and they are simply related to the changes in intrathoracic pressure during inspiration and expiration. By the way, heart rate also changes with inspiration and expiration and these respiratory heart rate fluctuations are associated with less cardiovascular risk.

    The Valsalva response is different in that it only occurs if pressure in the thoracic cavity increases to a level that is high enough to limit venous blood flow back to the heart. This will happen when intrathoracic pressure approaches the pressure in the veins that transport blood back to the heart (less than 10 mmHg). Depending on how much pressure you use during playing a sustained note, you generate more or less intrathoracic pressure and activate the Valsalva response more or less. The increase in blood pressure during phase 1 and 4 of the Valsalva response can be as high as +50 mmHg (such an increase has been measured in the tuba player study) and the blood pressure surges only last for ~5 sec. Is this harmful? I would say in more than 99% of trumpet players it is not harmful. In addition, as ROWUK pointed out, the blood pressure increase in response to the Valsalva may be much less if one uses a relaxed breathing technique. But even then, the Valsalva response is still there. It is just much less pronounced with blood pressure changes in a range that may be less than 5 mmHg (not significant functionally but still detectable with appropriate recording devices).

    Again, my interest in this topic is less because I would think that it is a problem during trumpet palying. I am interested in it because I do research in this area. There are many interesting clinical applications of blood pressure variability (like diagnosing diseases etc.).

    Regards,

    Harald
     
  2. Wlfgng

    Wlfgng Piano User

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    I would think that using the results of a tuba study to compare to trumpet playing would be like comparing Granny Smith apples to crab apples.

    Although similar two entirely different animals. The size in tubing alone, mouthpiece the size of a coffee cup and the volume of air required/used. I know when the tubas in our Collier band they don't just take a breath they haul in the air.
     
  3. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

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    Harald,

    I don't know if this is relevant to your study, but I find that if I take a long deep breath (over 6 or 7 secs) hold it for another 2 secs, exhale for 6 to 7 seconds slowly, and hold that for a couple of seconds (I imagine a mental rectangle) and repeat that nine or ten times - then I find I can actually get my blood pressure to drop quite noticeably (whilst it is being monitored by my doctor). I use the technique prior to playing and to put myself in mind of Dave Monette's body centering technique. I am using 10mg of Coversil each morning (BP is stable and at normal levels for my age) - my heart is strong and apart from a slightly raised blood sugar, I am very healthy.
     
  4. Harald

    Harald New Friend

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    Sep 11, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Yes, this is very relevant to my research. I think the decreae in BP that you get with this breathing technique is due to reduced sympathetic and increased parasympathetic tone (which is certainly what you want during trumpet playing). There is a study on (don't laugh) rosary prayer. They found that praying the rosary in latin language causes a specific respiratory pattern due to the way the verses are arranged. This respiratory pattern may have some similarities with the breathing pattern that you describe and appears to reduce sympathetic and increase parasympathetic tone. Here is the URL:
    Effect of rosary prayer and yoga mantras on autonomic cardiovascular rhythms: comparative study -- Bernardi et al. 323 (7327): 1446 -- BMJ

    Regards,

    Harald
     
  5. Harald

    Harald New Friend

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    Sep 11, 2008
    Iowa City, IA

    Hi:

    I searched PubMed about this and could not find any scientific study on this issue. It would be very interesting to look into this. Not that I want to scare anyone, but here are two studies that I found on PubMed while looking for hypertension and trumpet playing:

    1. A case report of hemorrhagic stroke during trumpet playing:
    Large cerebellar hemorrhage during trumpet playing...[Neurosurgery. 2008] - PubMed Result

    2. High resistance players (trumpet, oboe, etc.) have a higher risk of glaucoma and the eye damage correlates with life hours of playing:
    Increased intraocular pressure and visual field de...[Ophthalmology. 2000] - PubMed Result

    I could not find anything about hypertension and trumpet playing (I hope this means there is no such correlation ...).

    Possible cure of all this: The circle of breath as described by ROWUK.
    I am glad he pointed me into this direction. I will try to incorporate these aspects in my practicing.
     

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