You play through your body – it needs your care!
Playing the cello is very physical and it can be tiring as well. We play through our body, so it follows that we need to take care of the whole body, to eat well, drink enough water, stretch, rest and understand your playing techniques.
Injury often comes from a mixture of over-use and misuse. You do need to let a teacher know if you have old injuries or a historical breakage. These events leave a literal trail in your musculature and your being.
I have had injuries of different kinds as well as the natural issues that come from playing the cello for decades. I regularly go to a Sports & Injuries Massage Therapist. I got back to Alexander Technique lessons and many people do Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates. We get physically compressed sitting so much, so try to establish new awareness habits every six months or so. At your desk, at your cello, in your car, make yourself stop, stretch and rest!
Don’t over-practice! When I came back to playing after surgery, I was at my cello for five minutes a day for some time. You can do a lot in a little time when you have to and when you plan.
Do plan your work. Athletes don’t train every day in the relentless way we musicians do. They know the body is not a machine. If injured, they do as doctors and therapists tell them so they can heal. We all need to behave in this manner!
If you have carpal tunnel, it originates in the neck like so many issues. I have got it sorted out with a massage and a huge focus on the neck. The Alexander Technique teaches us that tension originates and manifests in the neck and then emanates outwards.
If you have had a baby, you may have a wonky pelvis and spine and possibly ribs out of line. Do take your body seriously and help and support it, to help and support you! We are hugely adaptive and get used to being physically unbalanced and tense. See an osteopath or similar because, as soon as you have brought your little one into the world, you whirl around for years, lifting, and going more asymmetrical than you were before. Your body needs your attention too.
If you have had major surgery, you may well have trauma too, at least for some time. The effects of trauma can cause tensions that may continue well after the surgery, causing you to shorten muscles and soft tissue too. Lengthening and softening is what we need. We also need to give ourselves a lot of time to readjust to the body being redefined and to come to terms with it all and any possible limits put on your body.