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Author Topic: Shoulder/Neck Pain  (Read 1376 times)

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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Shoulder/Neck Pain
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2017, 09:21:13 AM »

Ah.... Fingers crossed .....
Good luck
Q
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Clive Williams

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Re: Shoulder/Neck Pain
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2017, 10:32:28 AM »

I work in IT, and had similar issues - the thing that worked for me, after much Alexander Technique stuff, was putting a forward slanting cushion on the chair. These days I don't bother with the cushion - I just use an office chair that allows me to slant forward slightly.

fc diato

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Re: Shoulder/Neck Pain
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2017, 01:04:28 PM »

Another thing perhaps worth considering:  Do you wear glasses, ever? If so, you might consider eyeglasses with a prescription just for the computer.

As someone says, the causes can be difficult to pinpoint.  Last year, my shoulder pain got to the point where I couldn’t play much (or even reach for anything that was off to a side). Went to an amazing physiotherapist who said: “not your shoulder, it’s your neck.”  Simple exercises (twice a day though) and especially glasses just for the computer did the trick. A lot of people tend to let the head go forward and the chin tilt up when on the computer, as did I.  Eyeglasses just for computer work has changed everything, making good posture come more naturally.
Just a thought.
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Clive Williams

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Re: Shoulder/Neck Pain
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2017, 01:09:12 PM »

Yes, ditto. I use glasses tuned for about 90cm focal length for screen use.

playandteach

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Re: Shoulder/Neck Pain
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2017, 01:19:28 PM »

I have a similar problem when viewing students' compositions on screens, they think if they make it big I can see it, but I have to shove them out the way and take their seat to avoid weird postures. Table tennis cures most things.
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IanD

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Re: Shoulder/Neck Pain
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2017, 02:05:40 PM »

Melodeons which are badly designed ergonomically don't help either -- things like bass buttons too close to the edge so you have to "hook" your fingers back, treble buttons too close to the keyboard edge, keyboard at wrong angle, strap hangers in wrong position, sharp edges on bass end, thumb groove at wrong angle or sharp edge on treble end, treble button rows too close together of with too big a step between them, button spacing too large (or small)...

And there's no excuse for most or all of these, all it takes to fix them is a bit of thought by the maker with input from players -- Martyn Banks made all these changes when be built my Model 4, and it made it so much more comfortable to play. He did say nobody had ever pointed them out to him before...
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malcolmbebb

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Re: Shoulder/Neck Pain
« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2017, 03:00:01 PM »

The problem is not with melodeons, they are easy to standardise, but with people, who insist on coming in all different sizes and finger lengths, not to mention shapes. I found out what my melodeon was pivoting on when I play standing up...
My fingers are short relative to my hands, so Ian's too near is my too far. Concertinas, too, I struggle to reach all the accidentals on a 30b.
One lady I know can't easily reach both the air button and G/D/C basses, has to choose between playing the basses and running out of air. And she finds the sharp edge (pokerwork) a problem.
I really like the Hohner Club style finger groove, others I know hate them.

So it's a matter of personal bespoke melodeons.
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IanD

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Re: Shoulder/Neck Pain
« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2017, 03:07:13 PM »

The problem is not with melodeons, they are easy to standardise, but with people, who insist on coming in all different sizes and finger lengths, not to mention shapes. I found out what my melodeon was pivoting on when I play standing up...
My fingers are short relative to my hands, so Ian's too near is my too far. Concertinas, too, I struggle to reach all the accidentals on a 30b.
One lady I know can't easily reach both the air button and G/D/C basses, has to choose between playing the basses and running out of air. And she finds the sharp edge (pokerwork) a problem.
I really like the Hohner Club style finger groove, others I know hate them.

So it's a matter of personal bespoke melodeons.
Indeed -- Martyn shaped the treble keyboard edge to exactly fit my thumb at the angle it's at when I'm playing ;-)
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Dazbo

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Re: Shoulder/Neck Pain
« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2017, 01:08:39 PM »

I had loads of arm, shoulder and hand problems from melodeon playing - almost stopped for a year or more.

I found all these helped:

When, standing use two (properly adjusted straps) otherwise you get terrible posture trying to hold the box properly - same with left hand strap too
Give your self regular breaks, put the box down don't just sling it over one of your shoulders - again hunching the shoulder to keep in place and using muscle to support the box rather than your skeleton
Sit to play as often as you can
Don't play as loud as you can (that's the trouble when you play for morris and have more drummers than melodeons)
Don't attack bellows direction changes quite as aggresively.
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Darren

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Re: Shoulder/Neck Pain
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2017, 05:49:34 PM »

Thanks Darren,

I am doing various stretches and exercises to try to help myself. If I use music, I now make sure it is at a comfortable height on a stand, not looking down on my case. 

I am hoping to get this under control, the only good that came of it is empathy for others suffering pain.

Trying to learn to relax, not take everything to my heart, shoulders and neck.
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IanD

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Re: Shoulder/Neck Pain
« Reply #30 on: January 24, 2017, 12:29:42 PM »

I had loads of arm, shoulder and hand problems from melodeon playing - almost stopped for a year or more.

I found all these helped:

When, standing use two (properly adjusted straps) otherwise you get terrible posture trying to hold the box properly - same with left hand strap too
Give your self regular breaks, put the box down don't just sling it over one of your shoulders - again hunching the shoulder to keep in place and using muscle to support the box rather than your skeleton
Sit to play as often as you can
Don't play as loud as you can (that's the trouble when you play for morris and have more drummers than melodeons)
Don't attack bellows direction changes quite as aggresively.

Glad those all work for you, but would argue with the "use two straps when standing (or sitting)" advice...

For many people (including me) a single strap works very well with no problems, and can actually be less hard work playing for dancing than two straps. If you hold the box like I do (fairly long strap, left hand well down, right hand braced against edge of keyboard) then you're using the stronger muscles in your arm to move the bellows in and out, with two straps you're mostly moving the bass end laterally which uses weaker muscles which tire more easily. For this to work well the strap hangers have to be positioned so that the treble end doesn't try and rotate when you  push and pull, which is often not the case (often too close to rear edge of case).

For other people (like you) two straps work better, which is also fine.

So I wouldn't say either (one strap or two) is inherently better, but whichever you choose it should be comfortable and work for you.
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Dazbo

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Re: Shoulder/Neck Pain
« Reply #31 on: January 24, 2017, 01:19:05 PM »


Glad those all work for you, but would argue with the "use two straps when standing (or sitting)" advice...

For many people (including me) a single strap works very well with no problems, and can actually be less hard work playing for dancing than two straps. If you hold the box like I do (fairly long strap, left hand well down, right hand braced against edge of keyboard) then you're using the stronger muscles in your arm to move the bellows in and out, with two straps you're mostly moving the bass end laterally which uses weaker muscles which tire more easily. For this to work well the strap hangers have to be positioned so that the treble end doesn't try and rotate when you  push and pull, which is often not the case (often too close to rear edge of case).

For other people (like you) two straps work better, which is also fine.

So I wouldn't say either (one strap or two) is inherently better, but whichever you choose it should be comfortable and work for you.

Hi Ian, I've seen you play for Hammersmith on many occassions and I don't know how you hold your box like you do.  I always preferred playing for morris standing with one strap but it didn't do me any good so, reluctantly, I swapped to two.  With one strap I always seemed to have to hunch my right shoulder up to keep the strap in place.  I think the real source of the problem was always trying to play at maximum volume. 

I only ever use one strap when sitting unless the second one gets in the way in which case it's over my shoulder but not supporting the box.
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Darren

robotmay

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Re: Shoulder/Neck Pain
« Reply #32 on: January 24, 2017, 01:55:53 PM »

I switched a lot between 1/2 straps and altered strap lengths until I settled on my current setup of a very long single strap. At Halsway Manor last year Saul Rose picked it up and quickly wondered how long my arms were ;D
I find it by far the most ergonomic, especially with a heavier box, strangely. I have the strap long enough that my right wrist/arm are straight, and overall it's very comfortable. I do however make sure I put the box down regularly and move about, as holding any heavy-ish weight on the front of your body is going to make you roll your shoulders a bit.

I think my strap length is still shorter than Ian from Carreg Las border morris, however, who has a great style (and probably very long arms): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLtrvBiy75E

For this to work well the strap hangers have to be positioned so that the treble end doesn't try and rotate when you  push and pull, which is often not the case (often too close to rear edge of case).

I suspect when I fitted new brackets to my Erika that I set them a little further back than I should have, as that one does sometimes get away from me a little. I find the keyboard angle the biggest problem personally, and of my boxes the only one that I'd say is perfect is on my Lilium. My Pariselle, for example, has no notable angle to the keyboard and I find it much harder to play with gusto.

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Re: Shoulder/Neck Pain
« Reply #33 on: January 24, 2017, 09:46:42 PM »

If you've always done a lot of desk work then you may have over developed the trapezius muscles that are involved in shoulder shrugging movements and can be strained by too much forward stretch of the neck (such as reading a screen, peering at a music stand).  Desk/computer workers tend to develop a 'tortoise neck' which puts considerable strain on the upper back lower neck and can cause shoulder pain.   One way of counteracting this is to take regular breaks and stand with your back and heels against a wall and 'slide' the back of your head as high up the wall as it will go whilst tucking in your chin.  This corrects that tortoise neck posture and eases off the muscle.  When sitting looking at the screen do a few minutes of chin tucking to keep the neck elongated and upright and use a posture chair or cushion. 
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IanD

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Re: Shoulder/Neck Pain
« Reply #34 on: January 24, 2017, 10:41:07 PM »

I switched a lot between 1/2 straps and altered strap lengths until I settled on my current setup of a very long single strap. At Halsway Manor last year Saul Rose picked it up and quickly wondered how long my arms were ;D
I find it by far the most ergonomic, especially with a heavier box, strangely. I have the strap long enough that my right wrist/arm are straight, and overall it's very comfortable. I do however make sure I put the box down regularly and move about, as holding any heavy-ish weight on the front of your body is going to make you roll your shoulders a bit.

I think my strap length is still shorter than Ian from Carreg Las border morris, however, who has a great style (and probably very long arms): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLtrvBiy75E

For this to work well the strap hangers have to be positioned so that the treble end doesn't try and rotate when you  push and pull, which is often not the case (often too close to rear edge of case).

I suspect when I fitted new brackets to my Erika that I set them a little further back than I should have, as that one does sometimes get away from me a little. I find the keyboard angle the biggest problem personally, and of my boxes the only one that I'd say is perfect is on my Lilium. My Pariselle, for example, has no notable angle to the keyboard and I find it much harder to play with gusto.

Keyboard angle is also a problem, with a lot of boxes it's not tilted back far enough (too close to a right angle). Coupled with a strap bracket too near the back, the result is that when you push the bellows the treble end swivels forwards (the keyboard moves away from your body), then on pull it swivels back -- the end result is the treble end continuously wobbling back and forth and making it very difficult to play.

If you can't tilt the keyboard back (another change I got Martyn to do when he made my Oakwood) then try moving the strap brackets forwards to reduce the tendency to swivel -- I've done this for several single-strap players (and on several of my boxes) and they invariably said it transformed how their box played.
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malcolmbebb

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Re: Shoulder/Neck Pain
« Reply #35 on: January 24, 2017, 11:54:44 PM »

Keyboard angle is also a problem, with a lot of boxes it's not tilted back far enough (too close to a right angle). Coupled with a strap bracket too near the back, the result is that when you push the bellows the treble end swivels forwards (the keyboard moves away from your body), then on pull it swivels back -- the end result is the treble end continuously wobbling back and forth and making it very difficult to play.
This is an interesting point, and one I've been looking at recently. I was playing a tune I know well, solo, for Morris practice and I wanted to give it some welly. I found myself missing notes all over the place.
When I tried at home, I reached the conclusion it was the box moving - there exists a natural pivot point at the front of my person at present which doesn't help - and if I changed the angle of the box, the movement stopped and I didn't miss notes.
Apart from trying to remember that, I haven't done anything to resolve that issue but I might give it a bit more thought now.
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