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Enforced Break from Banjo

Posted by skoobee on Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Who knew?

I've recently developed Tendinitis in my frailing arm; commonly known as tennis elbow, although surely it should be known as 'Frailers Elbow' now?

I went and saw the physio yesterday and they gave me some exercises to do, and some remedial therapies and told me to stop playing Banjo for a month.  I initially assumed they were talking to some other unfortunate, but no, it was me who has been given a 1 month frailing embargo.

Now much as my wife and neighbours may enjoy the peace for the next month, surely I need to contact the UN to get this embargo lifted?

But in all seriousness, when you think of what your forearm and wrist go through whilst frailing banjo, I'm only more surprised that our hospitals aren't crammed with novices such as myself, who have become lame, through lack of muscle and tendon development in the appropriate areas.  Not that I'm some 7 stone weed - I played Prop forward for 12 years and have, as my Doctor pointed out, 'popeye' style forearms.

So the conclusion is then, that playing Banjo is more dangerous for your health, than playing Prop forward in Rugby.

I'm sure my mental health will suffer as a result of not playing, and I shall develop other physical symptoms I'm sure.  I shall miss it.  But if anyone has ever had articular steroid injections, and given that this is the only other option, you'll understand


4 comments on “Enforced Break from Banjo”

tom robarts Says:
Wednesday, May 5, 2010 @10:30:41 PM

You have my sympathy.....BUT , speaking as a gardener who has had the same and simelar in both wrists and had to keep on working, which made the days pretty long and uncomfortable, I would personally be saying " I will do just as you say doctor" and go home and play , maybe gently , but play. I declined the offer of the injections, I was put of by someone who had had one !
The one that did stop me playing was having the tendon that does your thumb sewn together after cutting through it, my wrist/hand was in plaster for 6 weeks
If you would like any more bad advice just ask !

sharakeet Says:
Wednesday, May 5, 2010 @10:39:42 PM

Yes, I have dealt with Tendinitis for over thirty years, as a result of having been primarily a pottery maker for my living. It flares up frequently, sometimes limits how long I can "pick" before dropping my arms and wiggling them around. I do not like it at all. I have found no relief with any of the over the counter remedies sold here in the U.S. known as 'nutritional' remedies in 'health food stores'. I am able to find some relief from using wrist braces while I sleep. That seems to keep the stinging and numbing sensations away which used to awaken me all night long in the middle of the night. My fear, for you, is that your doctor will soon get around to recommending surgery to cut the tendon, thereby relieving the pressure against the nerve. DO NOT LET THEM OPERATE ON YOU. I know of too many people here who have lost the ability to play music, or function at any work, PERMANENTLY. I have also found relief by soaking in hot water bath with at LEAST a quart of epsom salts in the bath. (sorry, I am not British, you will have to translate into litres). Also, there's the red beam of a laser pointer, aimed at the wrist juncture right over the tendon, and in the center of the palm of the hand...trigger points for accupuncture. Hold the beam there for twenty minutes or longer, daily, for a week and see if you find relief. I did. Best wishes....and by the way, I recently was unable to play banjo for a month due to having sliced off the tip of my index finger (left hand) with a grass clipper. It was not a long delay after all. When I came back to the banjo, two days ago, I was amazed that the time off really did not affect me in any negative sense at all. I am picking like a champion now, after just two days back! Good luck to you, man.

pluckyfingers Says:
Wednesday, May 5, 2010 @11:37:45 PM

That's funny. I got a bout of tennis elbow playing golf about two and half years ago. Took over nine months to go away. I had to do something so I got out the banjo after a ten year hiatus and as I could sit down with this and develop a simple frailing strum I was away. Haven't played golf since. Only injury I've had from banjo was when I whacked my nose on the rim when putting the strap over my shoulder.

skoobee Says:
Thursday, May 6, 2010 @8:37:35 AM

Tom, I'm not sure that your advice is bad, just your aim with the tools you're using!

Sharakeet, I'll certainly give some of that a go - I'm personally (as a fully qualified eco-terrorist) fully in favour of prescription drugs to heal my injuries. But I'm open to any helpful suggestions, and yours seem to fit the bill - I'll let you know.

Pluckyfingers - Golf? Isn't that where you chase a little white ball around the countryside trying to beat it to death with a metal 'club' I believe they're called? I totally get the one about smacking your nose, but I find it's my mouth - with the electronic tuner stuck on the headstock, trying to get comfortable!

The Banjo embargo is to rule it out (as it surely will be) as an aggravating factor, and I don't think it'll do me any harm - more time to do the essential maintenance required (change strings, re-tension the calf-skin etc.)

As for the injections - having had one in the knee (possibly the most unpleasant thing I've ever done) I certainly won't be rushing back for more of that in the elbow. The good news is that even after just a day of exercises, the aching, burning has eased somewhat (that could be drugs too, though!)

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