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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Is it a thing to worry about in the long run? in the General forums; Hello Everyone! It's been a long time since i last posted (well... erm.... almost never?...) I started playing brass 2 ...
  1. #1
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    Jul 2014
    Hungary, Middle Europe

    Is it a thing to worry about in the long run?

    Hello Everyone!

    It's been a long time since i last posted (well... erm.... almost never?...) I started playing brass 2 years ago, after a 13 years long hiatus. It has been all rosy until now, i thorougly enjoy it, practice almost every day and i manage to improve slightly, too. (Absoltely slowly, but relatively steadily. :) )

    However, circa a year ago i have discovered a noticeable clicking in my jaw every time i open or close it (on the left side, right under my ear). I think i had it earlier, too, just was not aware of it. Zero pain for now, so its not affecting my playing or practicing yet. I went to the dentist a few months ago, i got a nightguard but it does not stopped or reduced the clicking.

    I noticed that after playing for a few minutes, the clicking gets slightly stronger but still no pain, even after a few hours of rehearsing too. I have an overbite but i do not tend to jut my jaw forward when playing (not purposedly, at least) - last week, during a rehersal i noticed that i may forcing it a little forward and create more tension than naturally needed, though.

    Sorry for starting a new thread with this, i guess i read all the threads here about TMJ, as i understand each and every case is diferent and i just wanted to know what you all think about this: is it a thing to be worried about in the long run? I have asked three different dentists about the subject, none of them could help me in merit about this case (TMJ problems, relating trumpet playing).

    Is it a thing that can end my hobby playing carreer (1-1,5 hours playing a day)? Or if i manage to use as little pressure and tension as possible, not to force my jaw forward and use the most natural, smooth embouchure possible, there will always be a way to continue playing?
    I realize its a bit like asking you to tell fortunes for years ahead, i just want to know what is the basic "consensus" about the severity of TMJ problems in general. It is preferably a carreer-ender in the long run, or just a thing that needs some awareness.


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  3. #3
    Fortissimo User SteveRicks's Avatar
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    Aug 2009

    Re: Is it a thing to worry about in the long run?

    There are several medical doctors here, so they can give you the real medical point of view. Mine is more logic oriented. Sounds like the joint where the mandible connects to the skull is causing the noise. With most things, if it doesn't hurt at all, then you probably aren't causing any major damage (yes, docs, I realize there are exceptions) - thinking like cracking your knuckles. Hey, just open and close in time and you have a free metronome. Seriously, though, I can understand why it worries you.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Is it a thing to worry about in the long run?

    Quote Originally Posted by totee View Post
    Hello Everyone! Is it a thing that can end my hobby playing carreer (1-1,5 hours playing a day)?Cheers, Totee
    At first glance I was reading your practice time wrong ... whew ... but it is still wrong, or at least that's what I perceive. This year, I'll be 80 yo and I still enjoy playing ... calling it "hobby" or recreational doesn't matter, I just don't aspire to gigging or monetary gain.

    What I perceive is what you didn't say you do, and that is REST AS MUCH AS YOU PLAY / PRACTICE. It would be very rare for me to play continuously for a half hour as off-hand I can't remember a symphony or opera that long that has a trumpet part that is continuous for that duration.

    Perhaps the best understanding is the regimen I set for beginning students of not longer than 15 minutes of "lip time" alternating with 15 minutes rest during which I discuss or demonstrate. This session allows them a full hour of "lip time", but the actual time duration is 1 hour and 45 minutes. Now I have some days that are not peak that I utilize this same regimen myself, but hopefully I still have better days where I'm on a 20 minute cycle.

    The summation I'll assume is that you are inducing strain. The only way I can get my mandible to snap is a big yawn or when another hits me with a hook ... and I now don't expect this latter ever to happen again.

    Yes, by all means seek out a medical orthopedic specialist in facial - jaw structure, for his/her professional opinion. Just don't expect your health insurance or Medicare to pay for such.

    I just glanced at the following as gives a good perspective, but my dentist dodged me only to say he wouldn't do such surgery on me or any patient like me without a full surgical team present ... age, diabetes, and cardio vascular problems. Besides, I've only 5 natural teeth left, the others are now dentures.
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  5. #5
    Piano User seilogramp's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
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    Re: Is it a thing to worry about in the long run?

    My dental hygienist (my wife) says look up TMD Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, then go see a dentist.
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  6. #6
    Utimate User gmonady's Avatar
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    Re: Is it a thing to worry about in the long run?

    First of all, I am of Hungarian decent, so share being one of the gifted ones with you.

    Second of all, my jaw clicks too with opening it excessively (must be a Hungarian thing). Also no pain. Has not gotten better, has not gotten worse. And I play my trumpets excessively. The click is due to stresses on the joint with pockets of air getting into the joint space. The air is what is causing the pop (rather than the grind of a degenerative joint). This serves as a cushion. Not a bad thing.

    Orthotics may help to splint the joint during times of stress (perhaps if bruxing when sleeping at night). Laying off of hard candy, not using chewing gum or chewing tobacco is advised. But Hungarian Butter cookies...they are soft, they are very good, and they are OK. Just made a batch not too long ago, from my Grandmother's recipe I found among my Dad's belongings after he passed.

    Hope this helps. You should do fine. Trust me, I'm a doctor.
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  7. #7
    Fortissimo User barliman2001's Avatar
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    Re: Is it a thing to worry about in the long run?

    Perhaps you might look at the angle you are holding your horn. With an overbite, it is very difficult to hold the hooter anywhere near horizontal. And if you try, you end up with pushing your lower jaw forward. Try and kepp your horn lower, so that the angle of your lip determines the angle of your hooter. If then the bell points too much towards the floor, try and get a competent tech to bend the stem of your mouthpiece.

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