Since my routine now requires as much PT as actual practice, I will be keeping track of both aspects here. (Feel free to NOT read if this does not interest you. As a reminder, this is really a blog for my students, and other percussion students, to be able to see how I practice on a daily basis to work towards my long term performance goals. I think it is also beneficial for them to see, now, how I cope both physically and mentally with an injury due to the excesses of repetitive motion required during the process.)
The PT/exercises below are all things I have been doing over the past two weeks, in addition to lots of icing, in order to reduce inflammation and to equalize strength in arm/neck/shoulder, and knees. I should also say that the neck/shoulder issues I am currently having are not new. (The knees are a new thing, though…I suppose because I am old-ish, and I run and cycle a lot, so they have gotten quite a bit of abuse too.) Anyway, I have struggled with the shoulder/neck issues since my undergrad years, but the inflammation in my elbow two weeks ago was a first, so kinda scary. Over the years I have done many things to rehabilitate (PT, acupuncture, chiropractic work, massage, Alexander Technique, etc.), many of them incorporated again now.
The most frustrating part of all of this is that these issues probably wouldn’t come back if I had/made the time to continue doing all the appropriate PT on a daily basis (every day of my entire life). I always stretch and exercise, but not always with the correct intentions or knowledge or focus that would protect my body from repetitive motion injuries. The other issue is that it is not easy to maintain focus on neck tension while playing/practicing intently.
30 minutes – knee focused yoga (I also have knee problems, that sometimes flare up without regular focused exercise. A few months ago I started doing this because I felt my knees getting strained when I bent them to reach the high end of the marimba in the first line of Surface Drifts…the knees are much better now, but these focused knee exercises must continue to keep it that way!) Here is the video I am using for knee yoga.
30 minutes – shoulder/neck/wrist focused yoga. Here is the video I am using for shoulder/neck/wrist yoga.
15 minutes lay on back with knees up, moving arms (wrist, elbow and shoulder joints in isolation, and together) while focusing on minimal tension in the neck (taken from Alexander Technique)
1.5 mile walk, focus on stride, shoulders down back, and maintaining minimal tension in neck
Getting on the instruments
Pad work – 8-on a hand; 8th-notes (RLRL) alternating with double bounces maintaining arm motion tempo, focus on minimal tension in neck.
Marimba work – working from center, playing RH, then LH up and down keyboard, again with focus on minimal tension in neck – this get difficult (to maintain lack of tension, at times I am cupping the back of my neck with one hand while I am playing with the other.