Lip Injury (pain when playing)

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Benlafo
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Lip Injury (pain when playing)

Post by Benlafo » Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:39 pm

For about two months, I have been experiencing sharp pain in my top lip when playing. I believe it started from playing too much too hard over a few days. It has been an incredibly frustrating problem to diagnose and rehabilitate, and I feel like it hasn't gotten better at all. I can still make a good sound, and my range isn't ruined, but the pain prevents me from playing too high or long. My teacher has offered a routine for me(that unfortunately does not seem to be helping much), but he cannot figure out what is wrong either. I can freebuzz for extended periods of time without any pain, but when I begin playing on the horn, the pain starts. If any of you have similar experiences or know any valuable resources, please help! This problem has made my life a lot harder and is causing a lot of stress for me.
BurckhardtS
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Re: Lip Injury (pain when playing)

Post by BurckhardtS » Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:25 pm

You should take some time off and work with Doug Elliott. Likely, there's something really inefficient you have been doing with your playing that he could diagnose quickly and correct. Playing through it won't make it better, taking time off will just buy you time until it comes back and you correct whatever caused the injury in the first place.
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Wilktone
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Re: Lip Injury (pain when playing)

Post by Wilktone » Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:54 pm

I’ve had students who had similar things happen and their doctors weren’t able to recommend more than time off, but it’s good to get a professional opinion.
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SaigonSlide
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Re: Lip Injury (pain when playing)

Post by SaigonSlide » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:08 pm

If it’s painful then you really need to NOT play until it’s feeling normal. Have you done that? How long have you rested it?
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paulyg
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Re: Lip Injury (pain when playing)

Post by paulyg » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:51 pm

Take time off. Then get a lesson with someone who know's what they're talking about.

I had a similar issue crop up almost a year and a half ago. It began as more of a general pain, but became localized over a couple months. I took ten weeks off in the early stages of the pandemic, and very slowly came back. A lesson with Doug was critical. I'm now back sounding pretty good, with a good range, and solid technique. I think another six months and I'll be back to "normal," though my playing has absolutely changed for the better.

In my case, I think I had been taking the wrong approach for a really long time, and REALLY leaning into it (does this sound familiar?). A few days of heavy playing shouldn't ruin you unless you're doing something wrong.

I can't stress enough the importance of getting a lesson with someone who knows EXACTLY what they're talking about. This is a very specific problem that is very distinct from what good teachers normally are experienced with. I talked to several teachers I respected, and the advice ranged from "I don't know" (the appropriate response if you really don't know) to "play through it" (f*** that noise). It sounds like your teacher is pushing you down that road- without very specific advice to actually fix the problem, you're just banging your head against the wall lips-first. You can probably count the people on one hand who are really qualified to pull you out of something like this if it doesn't get better on its own in a couple of days. Doug is one of them.
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Doug Elliott
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Re: Lip Injury (pain when playing)

Post by Doug Elliott » Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:10 am

Injuries are generally caused by doing something wrong habitually, that you get away with for a while. Lots of players get really good at playing wrong.
Benlafo
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Re: Lip Injury (pain when playing)

Post by Benlafo » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:17 pm

Thank you all for your responses. I needed to hear a lot of this.

When the problem first happened, I had taken about 2 weeks off, and the pain came back after a few days of playing. I decided today that I am going to take more time off the horn. When I start playing again, I am going to see if I can get a lesson with Doug Elliot and try to slowly rehabilitate the problem with my embouchure. How long do you guys think I should take off the horn? I was going to try a month but I am afraid that might not be enough.
Peacemate
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Re: Lip Injury (pain when playing)

Post by Peacemate » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:42 pm

I don't think taking breaks will fix this. You should find what is wrong and change that, instead of hoping for it to go away. What if it comes back in 5 years? Actively changing is way better in that situation since you already know the solution and can be preventative.
Student in Sweden, usually looking for more trombones
Doug Elliott
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Re: Lip Injury (pain when playing)

Post by Doug Elliott » Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:40 pm

It really depends entirely on what the cause is. I'm always in favor of fixing actual problems, not just hiding the symptoms.

Let me take a quick look at what you're doing and I'll advise what I think you should do. Skype or Zoom.
kbryson
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Re: Lip Injury (pain when playing)

Post by kbryson » Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:36 pm

Does it happen immediately or only after some time? I spent years combating a similar problem. The pain only came after 10 or 15 minutes of playing, and sometimes 10 or so minutes after I finished playing. Resting did not fix it. After visiting many specialists a chiropractor determined that the problem was due to a bunch of scar tissue that had formed in the embouchure muscles from overuse in thepast. It was solved by getting weekly deep tissue massages for about 2 months.
Benlafo
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Re: Lip Injury (pain when playing)

Post by Benlafo » Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:50 pm

It seems to happen almost randomly but it definitely becomes more painful as my chops get tired. I have recently been experiencing a little bit of lip pain when not playing as well. It could definitely be scar tissue, that makes sense. I have been kind of hesitant to go to doctors, because both my general practitioner and dentist gave a quick look at it and said it looks and feels fine.
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Wilktone
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Re: Lip Injury (pain when playing)

Post by Wilktone » Wed Feb 24, 2021 8:16 am

Benlafo wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:50 pm
I have been kind of hesitant to go to doctors, because both my general practitioner and dentist gave a quick look at it and said it looks and feels fine.
You can always ask for a referral to get a second opinion, if it's painful enough that you feel it warrants. You might also bring your mouthpiece, or even your whole instrument, during your next visit so that you can show them exactly what you're doing that's causing the pain.

Of the two dentists at the office where I go one played trumpet in high school and the other still plays trumpet as an amateur. That's been helpful when I recently needed to get some caps put on my front lower teeth since they understood my concerns and were quite willing to work with me to get them as close to how the teeth were originally.
David Wilken
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Basbasun
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Re: Lip Injury (pain when playing)

Post by Basbasun » Fri Feb 26, 2021 8:17 am

Go to the doctor!
I had a problem in my mouth, my dentist said it looked fine.
I went to a doctor who said it really was not fine at all. Also the problem was not easy for a dentist to see.
My dentist is a very good dentist.
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