Pinched Nerve

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hyperbolica
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Pinched Nerve

Post by hyperbolica » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:29 pm

I've had intermittent shoulder problems until the last several months, when they have become more pronounced. My left shoulder seems to have a pinched nerve. I'm in the health care process, but it is very slow. I have constant low level pain with incidents of sharp pain or heavy dull ache. Arm position doesn't seem to matter, but different load situations do.

I've been to my family dr, who ordered EMG, MRI and physical therapy. Of course, the tests are only available in a different order, so we're trying to use therapy to diagnose, and then MRI to confirm. So far, I've only been to therapy. So it looks like a pinched nerve probably in the spine or shoulder blade.

All of this seems to have appeared after I started playing bass trombone, where I was formerly just a tenor player. I've always played relatively light instruments (88h, and my bass is a Kanstul 1661i, which seems like one of the lighter basses available). The Butler carbon fiber bass (4 lbs) looks attractive until you see its ~$7k price.

I don't know what the physical solution is going to be, whether surgery or just therapy, but I'm afraid they might want me to quit the bass bone, which has kind of grown on me. Lately all my best gigs seem to come as a bass player.

So I've been looking at alternatives. Some crazy stuff focused either on reduced weight or ergonomics, like:

Butler carbon fiber, the only serious option
Jazzophone/Normaphone
pbone, obvious choice for simple experimentation
cool wind f attachment trombone doesn't have a bass bone alternative, although it might not be too hard to hack one together
cool wind plastic euphonium
cool wind plastic tuba
Jhorn, generic plastic brass instrument with 3 valves - pitched in the trombone-ish range
Silent Brass mute into digital effects box - trombone synthesizer- use a plastic alto, sound like anything
Yamaha midi trumpet - you hum into it???
Morrison digital trumpet, uh, this might need some more development, but it's a cool idea
Aerophone, which plays like a sax, but it's a full on synthesizer
Akai EWI
Berglund /Steiner NuEVI
Jsax, just very light and simple plastic sax
Wessex compact F tuba, closest thing to a compact valve F bass/cimbasso you could hope for.
Venova, another plastic sax
Yamaha, wx, ew, etc several midi/synth controllers
vibrato sax, looks and plays like a more serious sax, but it's plastic
A plethora of pocket sax/fancy recorders like the Xaphoon

There seem to be more woodwind options for simple, light instruments than for brass, which is a drag. If you have other options for reducing weight or improving ergo considerations, please chime in. Not sure how this is going to turn out for me, but I want to be involved in music, preferably live acoustic music for as long as possible, at least while I still have arms. :good:
Last edited by hyperbolica on Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
AndrewMeronek
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by AndrewMeronek » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:33 pm

Another option would be to see if your favorite manufacturer has options to flip the valves around so you can play left-handed bass trombone.
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

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Corey
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by Corey » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:53 pm

I have no idea if this fits your circumstances, but a very common problem among 40+ gentlemen is deltoid bursitis (subacromial bursitis). This feels like a deep pain in the shoulder, sometimes radiating down the arm. A cause of this is raising the upper arm in the internally rotated position. You can look this up. Basically, the humerus in this position impinges on the bursa. There are exercises to increase the tone of the posterior rotator cuff that may help. Your doc may want to start with steroid injections. Surgically, shaving off some of the acromion is sometimes done.

Until you get this worked out, you'll likely find that you'll have less pain if you keep your elbow close to your side, with your forearm vertical. Also check out the ergo bone.

Rotator cuff tear is possible too.
hyperbolica
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by hyperbolica » Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:21 pm

Corey wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:53 pm
I have no idea if this fits your circumstances, but a very common problem among 40+ gentlemen is deltoid bursitis (subacromial bursitis). This feels like a deep pain in the shoulder, sometimes radiating down the arm. A cause of this is raising the upper arm in the internally rotated position. You can look this up. Basically, the humerus in this position impinges on the bursa. There are exercises to increase the tone of the posterior rotator cuff that may help. Your doc may want to start with steroid injections. Surgically, shaving off some of the acromion is sometimes done.

Until you get this worked out, you'll likely find that you'll have less pain if you keep your elbow close to your side, with your forearm vertical. Also check out the ergo bone.

Rotator cuff tear is possible too.
Wow, thanks for that. That deep pain, and radiating down the arm sound familiar. I'll look into that.

I've found that reclining (in a chair or bed) and putting my fore arm over my chest keeps the pain at bay, but I can't do that every day.

Anyway, thanks for the suggestion!
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by 2bobone » Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:22 pm

You can add the Akai EVI [Electronic VALVE instrument] to your list. I found it a lot harder to use than the EWI in that you change octaves by rotating a cylinder with your left hand [ it looks like half a beer can ] and can span about 8 octaves if memory serves. It uses the typical first octave brass fingerings for all octaves. If you have any recorder chops, the Yamaha "WindJammer" is really a great device. As with most of these electronic devices, the voices they produce are not really authentic, although it has an amazing tuba voice [ tuba players won't agree ]. You can use breath vibrato, too ! It can switch between Boehm and recorder fingerings as well.
I have a Butler carbon fiber bass trombone and can say that it definitely solved my left hand problems ---- no more ErgoBone for me ! It IS the solution !
hyperbolica
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by hyperbolica » Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:52 pm

I do have an ergobone. Great idea, terrible design. The clamp is highly likely to damage your horn, and works poorly with split trigger double basses. You can only use it on one horn at a time. The harness only fits skinny people., and apparently isn't meant for women,

I recently also bought the tall peg for it that supports the instrument on the floor whether you're seated or standing. Better executed and cheaper than his other solutions.
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BGuttman
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by BGuttman » Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:57 pm

This type of pain often responds to acupuncture. You might want to investigate a treatment.
Bruce Guttman
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hyperbolica
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by hyperbolica » Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:05 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:57 pm
This type of pain often responds to acupuncture. You might want to investigate a treatment.
I tried a massage, and that didn't help. Maybe I'll give it a try. Thx.
2bobone
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by 2bobone » Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:05 pm

I've used the ErgoBone with a King Duo Gravis, a King 8B with "split" triggers and a Conn 62HI with no real issues. I will admit to having one device for each horn to avoid the switch-over. I'm quite sure that ErgoBone makes a harness specifically for use by the fairer sex. Perfect, it ain't, but it made it possible for me to enjoy a lot more "trombone-ing" than would have been otherwise possible. Jouko Antere has my thanks for his clever invention. :good:
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Burgerbob
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by Burgerbob » Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:19 pm

I'm not sure I agree with the downsides of the ergobone you have listed. I have my own problems with it, but the clamp damaging the horn and not working with double valve instruments are not on my list.
hyperbolica
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by hyperbolica » Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:53 pm

Burgerbob wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:19 pm
I'm not sure I agree with the downsides of the ergobone you have listed. I have my own problems with it, but the clamp damaging the horn and not working with double valve instruments are not on my list.
The clamp damaging the horn comes when that heavy nut falls off and dings your bell. The nut has to go on the left side to avoid the 2nd valve lever.

It depends partially on the angle between slide and bell planes, also the angle of your slide plane to the vertical, and how close the second trigger paddle is to the cork barrel.

I think he makes an extension for women, but as with other aspects of this device, it could have been thought out more completely before producing it so it didn't require that half-measure after the fact.

I design products in my day job, and I'm redesigning the clamp so it doesnt require a screw, and can be removed and put on another instrument more easily.

The pivot should be a ball or universal joint to avoid the clamp pivoting on the lower cork barrel.

If you notice in his videos, one guy who uses it on a straight tenor mounted it to the top barrel, which is balance - wise a better idea, but again, doesn't work with a second lever.

Plus, that heavy steel rod hanging right next to the slide when the instrument is on its stand makes me nervous. That could have been a piece of aluminum tube, and would have been less likely to ding your slide.

But I'm still using it to support the weight of the horn. The extension pole seems better than the chest harness. The harness is symmetrical, but the mount point is not on center. The main problem with the extension is when it remains attached to the horn when its on the stand.
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Burgerbob
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by Burgerbob » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:51 pm

I keep the nut on the right. It doesn't get in the way on my contra or bass there.

My biggest issue I agree on, the way it's set up. He actually sent me a lengthy document about it after I talked about it in my YouTube video. But he's not willing to budge on that!
Kbiggs
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by Kbiggs » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:16 pm

I, too, have used the ergobone before. I still own one. I’ve used it with Edwards and Bach tenor and bass trombones. Both basses had split triggers. I have tendinitis of the wrist, elbow and shoulder, and a few years ago, for idiopathic bilateral shoulder impingement. My Bachs are lighter and better balanced than my old Edwards, so I’m doing well—currently.

Yes, the ergobone feels different, and yes, it takes some getting used to. But remember, playing a musical instrument is generally not an ergonomic act, and playing the trombone is even less ergonomic than most other musical instruments.

Give the ergobone another try. Adjusting the angle of the horn helps a lot, and adjusting where the clamp fixes onto the cork barrel really helps with weight distribution. Move it up or down the cork barrel a little. You might be surprised.

Few things are more frustrating than a musician unable to play due to injury. As much as possible, leave the frustration aside and focus on what you can do. In the meantime, I hope your condition is diagnosed soon, and your PT helps you to improve rapidly.
I have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.
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Inspector71
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by Inspector71 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:25 pm

I have had shoulder pain similar to what you are describing. I had all kinds of therapy but the only thing that gave me relief was Dry Needleing. It have instant relief and after a few sessions I was feeling better that I had in a couple of years. Just another option to consider.

Best,

MDM
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afugate
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by afugate » Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:13 am

Inspector71 wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:25 pm
I had all kinds of therapy but the only thing that gave me relief was Dry Needleing.
Hmmm... Lots of dry needling...

Isn't that what generally happens here when a forum thread gets long? So, just hang out and chat about trombones instead of practicing/performing.

There! Problem solved! :lol:

-- Andy in OKC
hyperbolica
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by hyperbolica » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:45 am

Inspector71 wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:25 pm
... only thing that gave me relief was Dry Needleing...

Best,

MDM
Actually had to google that.
I'm gonna try acupuncture, although I have to say I'm a little skeptical. At this point I'll try anything.
hyperbolica
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by hyperbolica » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:16 pm

I started another thread on my ergobone redesign, in case you're interested in that. Didn't want to hijack all the good suggestions I've had regarding my shoulder. Thanks for the suggestions!

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=11204
timothy42b
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by timothy42b » Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:27 pm

I don't want to hijack the thread, but I've started having finger numbness after some activities, especially playing recorder and sometimes driving. It feels like a glove anesthiea and takes quite a while to wear off. Obviously there's some kind of nerve impact here too, with the arms raised. Any ideas?
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by hyperbolica » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:34 pm

As a follow up, i had an MRI and some physical therapy, and it appears I have a bone spur in my spine affecting the nerve going down my left arm. A combination of Aleve, ice, and lidocaine patches are keeping me going for now, but a steroid injection may be in my future. Only other option is aurgery to remove the bone protrusion.

I'm stll playing, but im using the bass bone on the ergobone extension pole exclusively . Trying to use lighter horns when possible .
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Re: Pinched Nerve

Post by timothy42b » Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:52 am

My elbow hurt so bad (on the outside - I never remember if that's golf elbow or tennis elbow) that I put the trigger horn away and have been playing the pBone, the only thing I can lift comfortably at the moment. I don't know if playing caused it but it absolutely aggravated it. If my plastic pBone alto worked better I'd be playing that.

I'm not that old - 66+ but I'm having thoughts about long term now.
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