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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Extreme Pain!!!!!! in the General forums; I know and have known a lot of trumpet players and I'd bet all of them know the pencil method. ...
  1. #11
    Forte User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Clarksburg, WV

    Re: Extreme Pain!!!!!!

    I know and have known a lot of trumpet players and I'd bet all of them know the pencil method. I know of none that practice(ed) this method. Buzzing the mouthpiece is fairly common though. I do it when driving sometimes.

  2. #12
    Pianissimo User cbdmd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    East Coast

    Re: Extreme Pain!!!!!!

    If you are suffering from pain after this exercise, the above posters are correct. You've over done it with the exercise (too many times a day) and if you have a history of TMD (temporomandibular disorder), that could only exacerbate the problem.
    Everyone has a TMJ (the joint itself). TMD is when you have pain from grinding and/or clenching your teeth together to the point of aggrivating the muscles of mastication (chewing). There can also be internal joint problems (scar tissue, lack of cartilage..etc) that can contribute (usually hear a "pop" or "click when closing or openning ). Trauma can deffinitely contribute to the internal joint problem. This is classified more as temporomandibular JOINT disorder. In your case, it's probably just too much of a good thing (the pencil exercise).

    The grinding may happen due to stress or it may be a physiological problem where to fully fit your teeth together like a puzzle or a zipper, your condyles (ends of your lower jaw bone) would be slightly off. Basically, in some folks when they fit their teeth tightly together like they should, their jaw joints are out of place. This can lead to muscle problems associated with the jaw joint. Some people grind at night and some believe this offsetting of the jaw joint and maximum intercuspal position of the teeth leads to the grinding motion. The body's trying to get the condyles in their natural physiological rest position (up and back) and the teeth won't let them. They are getting in the way because there is a discrepency between the natural tight puzzle fit of the teeth and the fit of the condyles into their joint.

    Someone could be suffering from this problem for a while and overdoing the pencil exercise could finally trigger a big enough response. Signs to look for would be worn, flat teeth, history of cracking teeth or restorations, abfractive lesions which are worn areas on the side of the teeth at the gumline. It looks like the outer gumline area of the tooth or teeth have a notch worn into them (similar to the notch you would make in a tree you were chopping with an axe). In this case the severe grinding is the axe and it leads to tensile and compressive forces on those teeth, so much that microscopic pieces of enamel and dentin chip away over time. Another sign of course would be severe muscle pain and headaches. When the big muscle on the side of your head hurts (temporalis), it can feel like a horrible migrain. The pain and headaches from TMD are much much more common in females but are not limited to females.

    Bottom line: See your dentist and this may be relieved with a muscle relaxer (Flexeril for ex.), timeout from the pencil, and a nightguard( if needed). Hopefully it's not more serious than that... You may only want to limit your pencil exercise to once a day when you get back to your normal self. 5 times a day is a lot. Check out Pops McLaughlin's site about the pencil exercise. I bought his books years ago. Start with a short "golf" pencil and work your way up. Too much too soon can deffinitely limit it's usefullness. Chops feel stiff or just worn out when you overdue this exercise. If you can't get to a dentist, give your muscles plenty of rest (soft diet and no gum chewing).

    I'm a dentist and love to play trumpet as a serious hobby. I have used the pencil exercise twice a week for years to keep the chop muscles strong and it's helped. The only variation i do is that I keep the angle of the pencil the same as my playing angle. That just makes more sense to me. Like Rowuk, I think it's a great exercise when I can't find enough quality time to practice.

    Sorry to be so long winded. Dentistry is a profession and to profess is to teach so I hope this helped anyone who was in need. Take care and God bless!

    Chad, D.M.D.

    "So my advice to young players who do want to play with Stamina, strength and range is to really recognize that 1) your lip is not it, 2) your enemies are the hands--don't press too hard." Maynard Ferguson Nov. 1988 interview with Kenneth L. Neidig BDGuide

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