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Yesterday I had a real blast as I had the opportunity to practice my violin for at least four hours off and on including my lesson. While I enjoyed the nothin' but violin, I noticed that at least fifteen minutes after the last session of the day, my the inside of my left wrist hurt dully. If I hold it absolutely straight, I can alleviate all of the pain and even have a certain range of motion, but I can't bend my wrist back, or rotate it, and God forbid I try to pull my violin out and do vibrato.

I vaguely recall having this problem a while ago. I think that it went away after a day or two, but that feels like FOREVER. It feels almost like the tendons in my wrist are swollen, but there's no visible swelling from the outside or even redness.

I almost expect carpal tunnel syndrome, except that I'm kinda young (hardly even a teen) and I wouldn't expect to get something like that yet. Also, it doesn't really match the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome because if I let my hands hang like suggested for checking yourself, it doesn't cause numbness in my fingers.

What is physically causing this weird pain, and how can I alleviate it? Is there a way I can avoid it in the future? Is a factor of my playing technique causing it (maybe I'm clenching?)?

Quick edit: I had previously described the pain as "dull," but on second thought I'd call it semi-sharp. It's not like a knife, but it's certainly not muscular pain.

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You don't have to over-dramatise this. You practiced for an unusually long time, your hand hurts a bit. It would almost be unusual if it didn't! There are probably some tensions that can be sorted out, check with your teacher. And maybe just don't practice for so long.

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Standard generic advice first: It's probably a factor of your playing technique: poor ergonomics, too much muscle tension, or (most likely) both. No one can tell you exactly what's causing the pain over the internet: for that, you'll need a doctor. If it's an option, a doctor would probably be a good idea anyway. If you want to make it better without seeing a doctor, things that are more likely to help than hurt in the short term are rest, over the counter painkillers, ice, and a brace to hold it steady until it heals a bit.

I'd suggest e-mailing or calling your teacher as well: they may be aware of something in your technique that could cause these symptoms, but they might not have addressed it yet if you weren't having problems and they have other things to focus on.

Since this has happened more than once, you might want to look into physical therapy to strength whatever is getting injured before it happens again. Your doctor can help with this too. A therapist who works routinely with musicians is best, but second best is one who works with athletes: they'll at least understand the mentality of wanting to get back into the activity that caused the injury.

  • Thank you. I'll try these things as they're available. I saw my doctor just last week because of a bump under the left side of my chin... It turned out to be my fiddler's hickey. He'll be happy to see another violin related problem. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ – General Nuisance Apr 21 '16 at 16:51
  • I bet most doctors would advise against a brace. They worry about atrophy long term. I have found it useful personally in short term stretches but probably not the best approach. – amalgamate Apr 21 '16 at 20:16
  • @amalgamate, All of the things I suggested are short term only, but yeah, it's probably best to make that very explicit. – Karen Apr 22 '16 at 12:54
  • The violin is perhaps the ergonomically worst instrument- with the exception of the viola. Be careful. – Scott Wallace Apr 25 '16 at 18:48

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