A Violinist’s Tendonitis: “How do you treat it?”


Physical therapy.
Electric current.

The list goes on and on, and I’ve heard them one too many times.  Do they work? For some they do, but for others, like me, they only helped to a certain point, without actually curing the root of the problem.  I tried 7 out of the 8 listed treatments above. Ice helped me the most when my pain was acute (when I had just gotten tendonitis). I varied the icing:

1. Ice dipping: Filling the sink with water and ice, and dipping as much as my arm as possible for NO MORE than 10 seconds, every 15 minutes, for 2-3 hours, only for 2 days. My pain was so extreme that I couldn’t even put salt on my food, so this greatly relieved some of the inflammation so I could do daily activities once again.
2. Applying ice pack: It is important to put a cloth over the ice pack to prevent possibility of frostbite. Ice only 20 minutes at a time!
3. Ice massage: Place water in a small paper cup, and put in freezer. When frozen, rip off top inch of cup and massage wrist/ arm for a few seconds/ until your skin is lightly red.

Ice only helped me to a certain point. After 2 weeks, I recommend stopping; you don’t want your body to become dependent on the Ice.

Read my story on how I contracted violinists’ tendonitis at music school here

I do not recommend heat. It produced a short term “feel good moment” and did not produce long term positive effects. Electric therapy was the same for me as heat- only short term positive effects.

Splints– I recommend these only for sleeping. With splints, I learned to not sleep on top of my hands, and thus my hands stopped falling asleep at night.

Pills: We all want a “quick fix.” But maybe time and patience along with rest and nutrition is ultimately what we really need.

Ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve… They are all anti inflammatory, but did not give me any results. I don’t recommend using these for more than a week. Again, I feel that your body should not become dependent on these. But again, what may work for you may not work for me… All of this depends on how serious your injury is. Mine was pretty serious.

We all want a quick fix. I wanted a quick fix, and still do, but realize it is not possible.  Even surgery or cortisone injections, which seem to be a quick fix, in many cases are not useful as the tendonitis returns (and not to mention that for a musician like me, surgery is, like, the end of your career!!).

So what works in the long run?

Time. Whether you want to hear it or not, time is necessary for the healing process. Rest from whatever caused your injury is best- either reducing it, or completely stopping (Like I had to stop violin for months since my tendonitis is so serious).


Veggie “Green Smoothies” provide for a quick absorption of essential vitamins.

Green smoothies. (!!!) Eating healthy is crucial, and green vegetables have regenerative cell properties (Medicine actually comes from PLANTS, hint hint). Haven’t heard of green smoothies? They have helped me IMMENSELY. Check these sites out: HACRES green juice  AND http://www.rawmazing.com/smoothy-thursday/ I have found these smoothies to be crucial in my diet.

Exercise. Pilates. Dance. Jogging.  My wrists may hurt, but God gave me legs, too.

Positive mind. And… yes, PATIENCE. It’s hard, but thoughts are CRUCIAL! I’ve found that the more I get busy with other things, the less I think about my pain, the faster the pain goes away. Really. Your mind is sooo powerful.

Faith. Most important of all.

I hope this helps. Leave comments, suggestions, and what has helped YOU so I can learn more.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 thoughts on “A Violinist’s Tendonitis: “How do you treat it?”

  1. Sanctified Brother says:

    I don’t know when I developed my tendonitis…there was a terrible episode last year in my shoulder that required two months of physical therapy with heat and ultrasound treatment. I’m a recreational boxer and that may have aggravated the tendonitis. This time it’s beginning to creep in again, however in my hands. Faith and encouragement worked for me, as well as the PT. I’m going to try the green smoothies this time. Thanks!

    • MBF says:

      Sanctified Brother!! (I like your name by the way! haha)
      I completely understand how frustrating it is and I really do wish you all the best. I forgot to mention that I also had ultrasound treatment done; I had so many treatments done by now that I don’t know if it was just time and rest, all or one of the treatments, or just a combination of time/rest and treatments that has made it better. I’m still not 100%, but I have faith this happened for a reason and that we will soon be healed. For sure though, I wouldn’t have started eating very healthy if tendonitis hadn’t happened! There is always incredible positives to negative experiences if we choose to see them, and I’m so glad that this hard experience opened my eyes to eating a more balanced diet. Definitely try the green smoothies- they are loaded with vitamins- in addition to just eating a balanced, healthy diet. For me, balance was key- there was one point where I went to an extreme and it was like I was idolizing food. I realized that eating healthy was just part of a balanced lifestyle in addition to exercise, sleep, rest, etc.. and MOST importantly, FAITH/Jesus and a positive attitude! I wish you all the best my friend!! I’m so glad you have the faith you do and the right initiative!! God bless you; you’ll be in my prayers.

      • Sanctified Brother says:

        Many thanks. I’ve been a vegan for many years so food choice was fine. I just didn’t eat optimally, even as a vegan. I do agree that FAITH/Jesus and a positive attitude is crucial. I thank you for the prayers. I’ll pray for you, too!

  2. ames says:

    i am a young musician and i am going through this it really hurts when doing every day tasks such as writing and opening doors, i had nurofen from the doctor but it hasnt workes

    • MBF says:

      Hello “ames.” I know how difficult it is! I will definitely be praying for you! I completely understand how frustrating it is to experience pain doing the simplest of everyday tasks! The best advice I can give you is to try to rest as much as you can, eat healthy, and continue having faith in God. I learned this the hard way, but don’t forget that your health comes before music. It is much more important! Believe me, in the end this will in some way have helped you. I have learned (and continue learning) to be much more balanced and to always put God first. I will pray for you!!

      • ames says:

        Thank you very much 🙂 Does eating healthily help??

      • MBF says:

        Hello dear!! How have you been doing? Have you recuperated in the month since you last wrote? Your reply somehow got lost in my mess of emails that I have, and when I organized them I found your reply. Give me an update on how you are doing. Eating healthy is VERY important. It is one of the many facets of a healthy lifestyle, in addition to good sleep, rest, and faith in God while recuperating. I just prayed a prayer for you! I pray that God returns strength in your arms so that you can play for His glory, just like He allowed me!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: