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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Lip problem - doctor in the General forums; My upper lip working at rehearsal all of a sudden yesterday, and my tone got all airy and I stopped ...
  1. #1
    Piano User Haste2's Avatar
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    Jun 2010

    Lip problem - doctor

    My upper lip working at rehearsal all of a sudden yesterday, and my tone got all airy and I stopped playing immediately to avoid further damage. Lips weren't even tired! It mostly recovered today.

    Last week I did 4 performances at my college, and I guess I reached that threshold this week. I guess I'd better take it easy whenever I do a string of performances.

    The lip pain is kind of like sore legs -- you can keep walking and still feel pain, but as long as it's done carefully the pain never gets out of control. So it is with my trumpet playing. If I play anything more than a very light session of playing, my lips get an appearance of being bruised... looks worse than it feels, honestly. My lips never look pretty, though.

    Any advice on seeing a doc? It's not a mouthpiece allergy, I don't think, as I once put a mp on my lips for an hour with no effect. The "pain" seems to come from the VIBRATIONS of the mouthpiece, not pressure. I don't use much pressure, and in fact, I can play a fortissimo low C with almost zero pressure and it will sometimes cause some pain. Should I visit a regular physician first for a referral, or immediately try to find someone more specialized? I don't want to go through too many co-pays, deductibles, and I hope they can find the problem....

  2. #2
    Fortissimo User TrumpetMD's Avatar
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    Oct 2008

    Re: Lip problem - doctor

    I may be incorrect. But I think you're saying that when you do a lot of playing, your lips bruise, you develop lip pain, and your sound gets airy. That doesn't sound like a medical issue, but a reaction to overplaying, and is something your should work out with your teacher. But like I said, I may have misunderstood your post.

    But if you and your teacher are sure that the bruising and pain are not from overplaying or incorrect playing, then I'd probably see an Internist first. If it is a medical issue, the cause can be from any number of things. An Internist is the best position to sort that out and narrow things down.
    Bach Stradivarius 43* (1974), Bach 3C Mouthpiece.
    Getzen 896 Eterna Flugelhorn (1974), Curry 3FL Mouthpiece.
    Plus a few other Bach, Getzen, Olds, Carol, and Besson horns.

  3. #3
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: Lip problem - doctor

    If our tone gets "airy" on occasion, so what? Is our face a well oiled machine that never changes? No, of course not. It is human tissue and subject to all sorts of things. Only players with a long background of stable playing and practice really have the consistency to be "concerned" by short term changes.

    You originally posted airy tone. Later you went into something about "not pretty" lips and pain. What you describe can be messed up breathing, messed up chops, messed up hearing, messed up diet or a ton of other things that can't be analysed over the internet. My suggestion is to do what is necessary to create that state during a lesson. Let the teacher have a look at what changes. Us guessing won't help. It may just give you more unnecessary stuff to worry about.

    Stopping playing during rehearsals is a great way to "earn" the third trumpet book or a ticket to becoming a Euphonium player. I surely would not want an undependable player on a critical book.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  4. #4
    Fortissimo User coolerdave's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    San Pedro

    Re: Lip problem - doctor

    When I over play my lips got raw ... never the kind of pain you describe...
    Sounds like you could have used to much pressure and briused your lip.. then afterwards any pressure would hurt...right
    but I am no doctor ... if you hurt your lip someway then this is out of my league.
    If my lips are raw or swollen I use ice water .. but then again please read the above
    If you can sound Taps please take a few minutes and check out this site.
    Bugles Across America > Home

  5. #5
    Piano User Haste2's Avatar
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    Jun 2010

    Re: Lip problem - doctor

    I've been in the process of working with my teacher and improving on my playing for months. He knows my problems and he complains about inefficiency of playing, not being relaxed enough a lot of times, worrying too much about certain details of playing (especially intonation), having odd habits (my eyebrows move and stuff), and we're working on that. It's really the theme of our lessons, fixing those things.

    He thinks I think too much, but I don't think I really do, or at least, nothing that actually hurts me. I don't mess with my embouchure, for instance, or anything dumb like that. Though I admit it's not perfectly consistent. Sometimes my aperture varies a little, and my lip position... and that's supposedly from poor breathing. But dang it, I have a pectus excavatum, which naturally ruins my posture and causes shallow breathing. I recent had a revelation on this matter and pulling my chest outward literally fixes this problem. But it's very, very difficult for me to make this chest-out posture a habit, since it feels quite....well, it's just hard to make it a habit, even though it feels pretty good.

    I'm getting more relaxed, smarter with playing, and am figuring out things better, but it seems like I just haven't reaped what I sowed. It just seems like the damage my lip received about a year ago is totally unforgiving. Also, I never had such problems with my lip in previous years of playing, despite having much worse playing habits. (I think I used more pressure, was more tense, never thought about efficiency, etc.)

    Despite the problems, my endurance and technique are making progress. It's just that I'm really, really struggling to get my lips feeling better, and if it wasn't for that, I would be much, much further ahead.

    I don't have to have any help here. I appreciate your replies. I largely just enjoy verbalizing my problems to the utmost detail.

    Oh, and by the way, I had a light lesson, and my teacher helped me get back to playing normally again, focusing on those simple fundamentals again. I actually played more smoothly than ever today. He's a great teacher. And dang, he sounded amazing playing first trumpet in the Utah Symphony's performance of Tchaikovsky's "Little Russian".

  6. #6
    Piano User
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    Jan 2007

    Re: Lip problem - doctor

    I'm with Trumpet MD on this one if you want a second opinion from another MD. I think you're trying too hard, too much pressure etc. It sounds as if you're doing something wrong and if you don't get to the bottom of it you could damage your lip(s) permanently.
    Dr. Mike

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