left shoulder tired and sometimes painful

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left shoulder tired and sometimes painful

Post by rmb796 »

Hi Everyone,
As I have advanced in age my left shoulder/arm often gets tired holding the trombone. Sometimes first thing in the morning it is somewhat painful. I know arthirits is part of it. My grip is comfortable and fine.

I do these excercises: "wipe on wipe off"
reach above as if hanging clothespins on a line
lift some light weights over head

Does anyone have any other ideas on how to imoprove shoulder/arm comfort and strengh?

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Re: left shoulder tired and sometimes painful

Post by Ozzlefinch »

As a general rule, the shoulder should be moved through it's full range of motion a few times before practice or performance. Arm rotations (slow windmills) and shoulder shrugs are good. This will limber things up and keep the blood flowing. Holding any joint in one position for extended time is generally not a good thing.

Other than that, it's best to seek the advice of a certified physical therapist who can provide you with expert advice and exercises that will prevent injuries and make your horn playing much more pleasant.
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Re: left shoulder tired and sometimes painful

Post by ghmerrill »

I endorse the PT suggestion -- just went through another round of that myself. However, it's sometimes difficult to find the right PT. It took me a couple of tries to find someone who would actually provide me with a good regular program of both lower and upper body strength exercises that I could do, but that wasn't burdensome. I now do exercises on three (resistance) machines for lower body and three for upper body at least three times a week. The results are great, it doesn't take me a huge amount of time, and everything is improving.

I've been through a lot of PT in my life because of some medical (disc, knee, shoulder) problems over time (some were just degenerative disc disease, some were motorcycle track induced, etc.). So at this point I know what to look for. Really what you probably want is something in the area of "physical training" rather than "physical therapy", but good PT people should be able to provide that as well (and covered by Medicare -- just get a Dr.'s script for it).

As one of my PT's kept repeating: "Motion is lotion." I suspect that your condition could be very much improved if you did slightly more exercise, the right kind of exercise, and on a regular basis. But that's based largely on my own experience. And an additional problem -- with increasing age -- is that you can't stop doing it. If you back off on it, you just slide quickly back to where you were. :cry:
Gary Merrill
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Re: left shoulder tired and sometimes painful

Post by OneTon »

I fell off a 3-speed bicycle on September 19, 1985, had 22 stitches to my forehead, a concision, and I could not raise my left arm above horizontal. It took a year, but Tai Chi eradicated the range of motion issue and made it possible to play trombone. It was the warm up excercises that helped the most, although the 108 positions of the long form can be helpful, too. I was fortunate to find an instructor who insisted that if the excercise started to cause pain that I give it a short rest. Stay away from instructors that advocate “no pain: no gain.”

PT is always good advice although it might behoove you to consult with your personal physician to establish that the condition is not something other than soft tissue damage and a medical or surgical procedure is required.
Richard Smith
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Re: left shoulder tired and sometimes painful

Post by hyperbolica »

I have some vertebrae impinging on a nerve, and have similar symptoms. PT doesn't help.

1)A few things help: a short break every 3-5 minutes, even if its only a few seconds long.

2)Ergo bone

3) Aleve/ibuprofen

4) Steroid shot

5) surgery
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Re: left shoulder tired and sometimes painful

Post by Crazy4Tbone86 »

I had some pain in both my shoulders a few years back. It turned out to be mild arthritis in my cervical spine area. The recommendation from my doctor was to have physical therapy for seven to eight weeks (two or three times a week).

That turned out to be great advice! Even though I have forgotten about 30-40% of the movements that were taught to me, I still use many of the different exercises that my PT trained me to do. Whenever the pain starts to cook up again, I start my exercises and the pain subsides. I try to do the exercises on a regular basis. My body always reminds me when I have neglected them. As many physical therapists say......"motion is the lotion!"
Brian D. Hinkley - Player, Teacher, Technician and Trombone Enthusiast
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Re: left shoulder tired and sometimes painful

Post by OneTon »

It all depends on the specifics of the trauma. Ergo Bone works for me. It isn’t perfect. I am doing things with a left hand supported trombone that Ergo Bone does not facilitate well. It will get me through a rehearsal or gig if all else fails. Frequent breaks and a robust k&m stand are my friends.
Richard Smith
Wichita, Kansas
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Re: left shoulder tired and sometimes painful

Post by vetsurginc »

Resistance band exercises are another long-term option. Was having left shoulder soreness. Orhtho doc recommended this starting with a medium weight. Tied mine to the bathroom door handle so it reminds me every time I walk in. Soreness is gone but I keep it up. The muscles of your rotator cuff need to maintain strength to stabilize the shoulder.
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