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I have to take a few days off fiddling

Posted by bj on Monday, May 3, 2010

I'm not a happy camper about this. Especially since I'm such an addict.

I'm not sure how it happened, whether it was from playing for well over 8 hours on Saturday, or from somehow sleeping wrong, but I'm in a lot of pain. I was fine, but tired when I went to bed Saturday night, but woke up in agony in the middle of the night. It's in my left shoulder and neck, primarily, with just a bit of tingling down the left ulnar tunnel, where I already have had some problems.

I tried fiddling and found that though the motion itself didn't aggravate as much as I was worried it might, I kept tensing up my left hand and arm in anticipation of pain, so ended up causing it that way. If I could stay loose I might be able to fiddle, but it's difficult, and I don't want to chance aggravating it.

Luckily I still have the banjolin (which I'm probably keeping) and can work, for short spurts, on that. I took 4 of the strings off it so I can more easily crosstune it, and I'm working on new tune fingerings. I'm keeping it to just two or three short 10 minute sessions a day, even though it doesn't cause any pain at all. I just don't want to do anything that will slow my recovery!

Today is somewhat better than yesterday, but there's still a big old knot in my left shoulder, and I reek of IcyHot. I did find out that massaging coconut oil into the knot seems to help as well. Coconut oil is a natural anti-inflammatory.

I'm also limiting my computer time, since the ulnar stuff is aggravated by that. Which makes it really difficult to get done the things I need to get done, and why this blogpost will be a short one.

I'm just hoping I'll be okay for the new jam on Thursday at Coffee Coops. Oh well, I can always just bring the banjo and banjolin, but it's very tough for me to lead tunes with either, so if no other fiddlers show up we're going to end up having a singing jam, for sure!

26 comments on “I have to take a few days off fiddling”

brya31 Says:
Monday, May 3, 2010 @11:34:16 AM

That sucks. Double up the darn coconut oil!

bj Says:
Monday, May 3, 2010 @11:40:34 AM

Between that and my electric shiatsu massager I'm staying sane! Barely! It is somewhat better today, but I just really don't want another half sleepless night like the last two, and I don't wanna do ANYTHING that makes it worse!

Swing Says:
Monday, May 3, 2010 @12:35:29 PM

bj... taking a few days off is not a bad thing... try relaxing and just listening, it will do wonders.

Play Happy

carlb Says:
Monday, May 3, 2010 @12:54:53 PM

So where is the Coffee Coops and what time is the jam?

Cyndy Says:
Monday, May 3, 2010 @2:07:51 PM

That kind of vacuums--not being able to play. Funny thing is, when I was practicing piano in a serious way (for a never-will-be-very-good amateur), a few days off actually seemed to help things settle around in my mind. Maybe something good will come of the rest. Here's to the happy day when you can pick up the bow again and--ahhhhhh--draw it across the strings again without pain. C

bj Says:
Monday, May 3, 2010 @3:29:57 PM

Coffee Coops is on 519 a half mile north of the intersection of Rt 46 just outside of Belvidere NJ in White Township NJ. 7PM. It takes me around 20-25 minutes from Easton, and since you're coming from points south, you'd come through Easton.

Well, just since this morning the left shoulder knot has loosened quite a bit. I still have some tenderness, but I have a feeling this should be resolved at least most of the way by Thursday. And I will bring a secondary instrument and switch around a bit, just to give myself a break now and again. And, since it isn't MY jam, I have the option of ducking out early if things don't go in a good direction for me.

And yes, it vacuums. Bigtime. ;-)

mudbug Says:
Monday, May 3, 2010 @3:55:33 PM

Sorry to hear. I hope you have a fast recovery.

harwilli55 Says:
Monday, May 3, 2010 @5:12:10 PM

Advil or aspirin for inflamation relief .... just tiny doses helps some.....sure am glad to hear that the knot is loosening up..!!!

You might give a therapeutic massage a try too...a good massage therapist can work wonders.

Here's to your recovery...fully and completely !!!


bj Says:
Monday, May 3, 2010 @5:18:59 PM

Harlan, I've been chewing my willow bark. It's a much more natural form of pain relief, and the stomach takes in this form of salycylic acid much more readily and with less chance of ulcers than its man-made form, aka aspirin.

OTJunky Says:
Monday, May 3, 2010 @5:40:37 PM

Eight hours of jamming is a lot of playing - maybe too much.

I doubt any "Pros" play that many hours straight.

Even Square Dance fiddlers might start at 9:00 and play to 1:00 AM - or start at 7:00 and play until 11:00 in more conservative areas. That's only 4 hours in which there are breaks for both the musicians and the dancers to relax and recover.

Maybe I'm wrong and impassioned, accomplished dance fiddlers play six hours on occasion - that's still 25 percent less than eight. So, I'm not sure it's really possible for most of us mortals to jam for eight hours in a day without suffering some consequence like the one your describing - or worse.

I know you can get "carried away" jamming but this ought to be figurative and not literal. So maybe some "moderation" is the best medicine here - if you we can say that jamming for 6 hours straight is "moderate"...


bj Says:
Monday, May 3, 2010 @5:46:48 PM

Well, it was more like 3, 3 and 2 with breaks for lunch and dinner, but yeah, probably overdoing a bit. Even at Lake Genaro and the other festivals, I'd play for a couple hours then break for an hour or so. Okay, okay, I'd play for 3 to 4 then break for an hour. Well, maybe a half hour break . . .


OTJunky Says:
Monday, May 3, 2010 @5:58:10 PM

This applies to "Gentlemen of a certain age" and so might not be relevant to your situation. But over the past half dozen years I've found the "guidelines" for avoiding serious injury to be...

- take a break every hour when fiddling

- take a break every 100 - 120 miles when driving.

There are a couple more, but I'm sure those don't apply to you...


bj Says:
Monday, May 3, 2010 @6:05:40 PM

Oh, no, that doesn't apply to me. I'm a female. *grin*

Humbled by this instrument Says:
Monday, May 3, 2010 @10:31:33 PM

Relax. Attend a chamber music recital at your local university. Fast for three days, drinking only spring water from the local mountain, before gorging on wild lettuce sap (Lactuca). Actually, do the fasting and the Lactuca sap before attending the recital. Write back and tell how it went.

carlb Says:
Tuesday, May 4, 2010 @5:38:43 AM

Thanks for letting me know where the Coffee Coops jam is. However, at 1 1/2 hours of driving, I don't think I'll make it.

bj Says:
Tuesday, May 4, 2010 @5:51:43 AM

I figured that would be the case, Carl. Hopefully soon, some other way.

harwilli55 Says:
Tuesday, May 4, 2010 @8:36:02 AM

Willow bark it is then :-) I take it that you are feeling much better and ready for your Thursday Jam ?


bj Says:
Tuesday, May 4, 2010 @9:56:46 AM

I'm not 100% yet, maybe 80%. But the jam is still two days away, so I should be back to normal by then. YAY!

And thank you for asking.

Must have been all that extra sleep I got at the Chamber Music Recital . . .

playmorebluegrass Says:
Tuesday, May 4, 2010 @11:20:39 AM

i'm soooo sorry. bj!!! -must be painful. :/

fiddlepogo Says:
Tuesday, May 4, 2010 @12:10:28 PM

Glad to hear you're on the road to recovery.
I DO think eight hours straight is a little much for ANYONE "of a certain age".
Eight hours straight might even have been more than I put in when a young whippersnapper fiddler-
five hours is about the max I remember.
Also, it may be hard when the fiddle is calling, but OTHER forms of exercise like walking,
bicycling, swimming, whatever can give your fiddling muscles a chance to unspasm and get some good healing blood flow. Wouldn't work with swimming, but you could put fiddle tunes on an mp3 player if you had to sweeten the activity with something fiddle related.

mudbug Says:
Tuesday, May 4, 2010 @3:39:24 PM

Uh, oh, Pogo. "Of a certain age" is probably not going to make her feel better.

bj Says:
Tuesday, May 4, 2010 @4:27:18 PM

Yeah at least OTJ was diplomatic about it! Pogo's on the doodoo list . . . ;-)

brya31 Says:
Wednesday, May 5, 2010 @2:40:18 AM

I always thought "of a certain age" meant you are a mature person. hehehhe

fiddlepogo Says:
Wednesday, May 5, 2010 @9:09:58 PM

Well, I was talking about ME TOO!!! And I'm older than you!!! A little, anyway.
And I thought the phrase "of a certain age" WAS diplomatic...
oh well, I tried...
I mean, it's not like your hiding it... it's right out there in Arabic numerals for all to see!
My stamina ain't what it used to be, nor is recovery from excess exercise.
However, the L-glutamine does seem to be helping a lot... I actually do have more
energy than I've had in years.... I'm feeling more like 47 than 77, which is what i had been feeling like...and I'm 57.

harwilli55 Says:
Thursday, May 6, 2010 @5:23:47 PM

Hey BJ, update us about tonight's jam ....would love to hear how it went for ya !!


bj Says:
Friday, May 7, 2010 @4:47:26 AM

I played last night, and I'm okay.

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