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Discussion Starter #1
So last February or March I overdid it playing too long and ended up with some kind of strain injury in the muscles in my neck. I have taken it easy since then and not practiced at all, only played gigs. But the injury has not gotten any better. It stops hurting as long as I don't play. But even blowing a few notes on a super soft reed seems to aggravate the injury. The only thing that helps this is icing it, which brings down the pain for a while. Any ideas what this could be? My doc is clueless, wants to refer me to a specialist which would be expensive and involve a bunch of tests I don't want to do.
 

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You give very little info about the injury. It may have something to do with your posture. Have you taken your horn with you to show the doctor your playing posture? Could also be you hang the horn too high or too low. Based on the info I'd say go see an Alexander therapist, with your horn.
 

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What sax are you playing? Alto, tenor or soprano? Is it a vintage sax or one with modern ergonomics? Do you use a neckstrap? Have you tried a Saxholder, a Gemini saxophone harness or something similer that takes all the weight of the saxophone off the neck?
 

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Hard to give advice as there is not much information as to what the core problem is.
Maybe an osteopath can help?
Perhaps a good idea to bring your instrument when you go to an osteopath, if there is a problem with posture he could see it.
 

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At the very least go see an chiropractor or a sports oriented therapist. You will most likely be given some stretching and strengthening exercises. Hope you feel better soon.
 

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I can’t seem to overcome my sax injury either.
Quite some time ago I stopped practicing and suffered a skill level injury.
Since the incident I have rested completely, not played a note and yet the injury remains.
 

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1. Try a harness.
2. Go and see a physio specialising in sports injuries. If it's a repetitive strain injury you'll be given a set of simple exercises to perform (e.g., one is to close your mouth, square your shoulders and press your chin as far back into your chest as you can, hold the posture for a few seconds, then relax and repeat).

Good luck.
 

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Yet another example of the importance of practicing safe sax.

But seriously, the harness will take all the pressure off your neck. Then just make sure you don't have to crane to reach the mouthpiece. This will at least keep from making it worse. Still need to see a doc to fix it if it still won't go away on its own.
 

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So last February or March I overdid it playing too long and ended up with some kind of strain injury in the muscles in my neck. I have taken it easy since then and not practiced at all, only played gigs. But the injury has not gotten any better. It stops hurting as long as I don't play. But even blowing a few notes on a super soft reed seems to aggravate the injury. The only thing that helps this is icing it, which brings down the pain for a while. Any ideas what this could be? My doc is clueless, wants to refer me to a specialist which would be expensive and involve a bunch of tests I don't want to do.
Can you give us more details? Where on the neck? What's it feel like? If you play does it hurt immediately? Does it continue to hurt for awhile after you play or does it stop the minute you stop playing? You say it started when you were playing too long, were you playing too hard and overblowing or just a long time? When you play in general is there any tension anywhere? Neck? Face? Throat? Does the type of neck strap matter? If you play with no strap with the sax resting on a desk does it still hurt? etc.......
 

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Hard to give advice as there is not much information as to what the core problem is.
Maybe an osteopath can help?
Perhaps a good idea to bring your instrument when you go to an osteopath, if there is a problem with posture he could see it.
At the very least go see an chiropractor or a sports oriented therapist. You will most likely be given some stretching and strengthening exercises. Hope you feel better soon.
Yes. Or if health insurance coverage is an issue, you could try an eastern practitioner (acupuncture) or some sort of massage or other body manip. therapy as well.
We dunno if this is muscular or nerve related.
 

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So last February or March I overdid it playing too long and ended up with some kind of strain injury in the muscles in my neck. I have taken it easy since then and not practiced at all, only played gigs. But the injury has not gotten any better. It stops hurting as long as I don't play. But even blowing a few notes on a super soft reed seems to aggravate the injury. The only thing that helps this is icing it, which brings down the pain for a while. Any ideas what this could be? My doc is clueless, wants to refer me to a specialist which would be expensive and involve a bunch of tests I don't want to do.
My 2 cents: Go and see a chiropractor first before you do anything else and possibly a massage therapist - acupuncture therapist. What you describe could be a number of different issues, starting with soft tissue inflammation, to a shifted disk or herniated disk, or simply a knot in one of your neck muscles. A good massage therapist/chiropractor should be able to figure this out reasonably fast and there also some nooses specifically designed to stretch your neck without strangling you :twisted:
 

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Just to add here: a GOOD, professional, reputed acupuncturist or body therapist (particularly one who is educated in multiple methods within the discipline) doesn't just start poking needles or digging in on your body after a 5-minute chat.

A good practitioner analyzes and interprets the situation just as well as any western medicine practitioner.

A good alternative practitioner may well make a determination that other medical analysis is needed before suggesting a treatment/therapy.



Just saying. I have been using these sorta professionals for 20+ years. There is precision to their craft.
 

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Can you give us more details? Where on the neck? What's it feel like? If you play does it hurt immediately? Does it continue to hurt for awhile after you play or does it stop the minute you stop playing? You say it started when you were playing too long, were you playing too hard and overblowing or just a long time? When you play in general is there any tension anywhere? Neck? Face? Throat? Does the type of neck strap matter? If you play with no strap with the sax resting on a desk does it still hurt? etc.......
It would also be helpful to know your age, and whether you are otherwise in good health.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
You give very little info about the injury. It may have something to do with your posture. Have you taken your horn with you to show the doctor your playing posture? Could also be you hang the horn too high or too low. Based on the info I'd say go see an Alexander therapist, with your horn.
Sorry for the lack of info. My injury is definitely related to blowing, not the weight of the horn. It's a sharp pulling kind of pain near my adam's apple that radiates into the base of my neck and under my chin. What is an Alexander therapist?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
What sax are you playing? Alto, tenor or soprano? Is it a vintage sax or one with modern ergonomics? Do you use a neckstrap? Have you tried a Saxholder, a Gemini saxophone harness or something similer that takes all the weight of the saxophone off the neck?
All of the above. I play tenor, C Melody, alto, soprano, C soprano and sopranino. Since my injury I mostly play alto and C melody, the two horns that bother my condition the least. When I got the injury I was playing alto as I remember, and I was definitely using too stiff of a reed. I believe it was my vintage Martin that day. I mostly play vintage, pre-WWII horns. I felt like quitting after 6 hours, but I pushed myself past that and did two more. The next day I knew something was wrong. Like I said in the other post it's definitely a blowing injury, maybe a tear in some small muscles in the front of the neck.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
1. Try a harness.
2. Go and see a physio specialising in sports injuries. If it's a repetitive strain injury you'll be given a set of simple exercises to perform (e.g., one is to close your mouth, square your shoulders and press your chin as far back into your chest as you can, hold the posture for a few seconds, then relax and repeat).

Good luck.
Thanks. I have noticed that stretching helps. I'll try to find a physical therapist in my area. Pretty sure it's covered by my insurance if I can get my doc to sign off.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yet another example of the importance of practicing safe sax.

But seriously, the harness will take all the pressure off your neck. Then just make sure you don't have to crane to reach the mouthpiece. This will at least keep from making it worse. Still need to see a doc to fix it if it still won't go away on its own.
Sorry I didn't give enough info. This is definitely a blowing injury, from blowing too hard or strainging my embouchure muscles in my neck, not sure, but it feels like my adams apple is crooked.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Can you give us more details? Where on the neck? What's it feel like? If you play does it hurt immediately? Does it continue to hurt for awhile after you play or does it stop the minute you stop playing? You say it started when you were playing too long, were you playing too hard and overblowing or just a long time? When you play in general is there any tension anywhere? Neck? Face? Throat? Does the type of neck strap matter? If you play with no strap with the sax resting on a desk does it still hurt? etc.......
I tends to start hurting after I play. I will feel it especially when I wake up the next day, like a sharp pulling pain near my adam's apple, which feels crooked or dislocated, and pain which my be radiated pain in the base of the front of my neck near my collar bone and under my chin too. The injury happened when I was playing alto, blowing on too stiff of a reed for about 8 hours consecutive. My body told me to stop after 6 but I pushed myself and paid the price in an injury that won't heal. It's definitely related to blowing, as it is sometimes aggravated with a sharp stabbing pain while I am playing, but it's a different feeling than the pain I get the next day. I'm certain it has nothing to do with the neck strap or the weight of the horn. it's an embouchure and blowing issue. Thanks for your help.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
It would also be helpful to know your age, and whether you are otherwise in good health.
Depends on what you consider good health. I am 44 years old, my only serious health problem is sever Crohn's and other autoimmune issues for which I take Humira and have had 51 cm of intestine removed in an ileocolectomy 4 years ago. And I do have some back and neck issues. But like I said I am certain it's related to blowing and embouchure strain, not weight strain on my neck.
 
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