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Author Topic: Lip Pain & Lip Irritation  (Read 16322 times)
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Pyrepapayabeast

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« on: Feb 11, 2008, 06:17AM »

I searched around a little and couldn't seem to find anything that pertained to my issue, so here you go.  About two weeks ago when I was playing, I felt an odd pain in my lip when I was playing.  The best way I could describe it is that it felt like I was being poked with a pin, except not QUITE so sharp.  It's in a very tiny place, but that instinct kicked in and said "you'd better stop playing right now."

I didn't play for a day and I didn't have problems the next few times I played.  Then a week ago it happened again, but once again ... after I took it easy for a while, it was fine until yesterday.

I've been playing for a long time, and this feels nothing like normal fatigue or too much mouthpiece pressure.  Something about it just doesn't feel right at all.  It's a really small spot where my mouthpiece rests on my lip.  I noticed my tooth is tilted a little bit out on that side, so perhaps it is pinching my lip even if I'm not putting too much pressure on the mouthpiece, but I made it all through my undergrad degree with my teeth the same way (I've had retainers all that time).

I have been slowly increasing my practice time since December.  I wasn't practicing much then, mostly just in ensembles, but I feel I've been building it up slowly.  I am working with an excellent teacher, and he says my embouchure looks fine and I'm not applying too much pressure from what he can see.  I'm trying to get to grad school for performance and I really can't take tons of time off playing now, although I am trying to take it as easy as possible. 

Has anyone had anything like this and have any advice?  This whole thing makes me really nervous.  I don't have the time/money to go to a whole bunch of doctors and dentists who are not well versed in problems of brass players, so any thoughts would be most appreciated.
« Last Edit: Feb 13, 2008, 10:21AM by Orestes » Logged
janettem
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« Reply #1 on: Feb 11, 2008, 12:18PM »

While hitting a very high note(during "Love For Sale") on Friday night playing downtown,I apparently hit the inside part of my mouth with the front teeth,and caused a bit of irritation. I didn't even notice it until the next day at work,when it stung very badly. And when I went to play Saturday night,I had major trouble articulating and adjusting on certain tones and tonguing.

I passed on playing downtown on Sunday,and don't plan to play for several days or so.

So far today,the inside of my mouth feels like it's healing,but I'm still very gunshy about playing again until it's healed.

Anyone have that same experience?

Besides rest(of course),what can I use to lessen the pain,and keep it from happening again!|
(This was the first time it's ever happened...in 14 months of playing again!)
« Last Edit: Feb 13, 2008, 10:20AM by Orestes » Logged

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BGuttman
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 11, 2008, 12:33PM »

AnbesolŪ often helps with problems in my gums.  It takes the pain away.

I would try practicing, but not pushing.  If your mouth starts to hurt, stop practicing.  You may find that you can play your middle and lower register fine and go back to the high notes after you have had a chance to heal.

My biggest problem is when I bite the inside of my mouth and then I can't keep my jaw closed enough to play.
« Last Edit: Feb 13, 2008, 10:20AM by Orestes » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: Feb 11, 2008, 04:43PM »

Had a similar experience recently. Did a 2 hour strenous gig on euph. with a smaller mpc. than usual. The next day, a sore, almost like a cut, on my bottom lip. So I took it easy the next day. Then it is still there the 3rd day. The beginning of the 4th I took a longer look at it (today). Probably a cold sore, so check that out and use the cold sore medicine that works for you (could be another topic in the health area).
« Last Edit: Feb 13, 2008, 10:19AM by Orestes » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: Feb 13, 2008, 10:11AM »

What you are describing, is something that I have experienced myself. It does represent a minor degree of facial muscle injury, I got it by playing too loud, not necessarily to high, during a practice performance. My recommendation is to practice softer, do long tones and gradually increase the pressure on your embouchure. I should go away in time. I think that I am going to try to combine the two lip pain/irritation threads that are now ongoing since they seem to address similar problems.
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Galen McQuarrie

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« Reply #5 on: Feb 13, 2008, 11:51AM »

Yeah, it seemed to me that the first time I felt the pain was shortly after I was playing something loud, and it was actually around the middle or lower ranges.
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janettem
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« Reply #6 on: Feb 13, 2008, 05:30PM »

I bought some Anbesol for the inner lip,and simply took a few days off from playing.

I played for about 20 minutes today,and the mouth felt okay,though I sounded kinda weak in the upper range.
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Pyrepapayabeast

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« Reply #7 on: Feb 13, 2008, 06:52PM »

In my own case, I definitely think Anbesol would be the worst thing I could do, since this is definitely inside the lip and not a bump or a cut to the inside of my lip.  I tried playing a little today and it was ok ... my only question is, at what point do I start worrying and look for some sort of specialist?  I have an audition this Saturday and one in two weeks, so I can't stop playing entirely although I will limit it and be as careful as possible.  I don't want to do lasting damage, but I want to go to grad school too!!  :(
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 14, 2008, 10:09AM »

In my own case, I definitely think Anbesol would be the worst thing I could do, since this is definitely inside the lip and not a bump or a cut to the inside of my lip.  I tried playing a little today and it was ok ... my only question is, at what point do I start worrying and look for some sort of specialist?  I have an audition this Saturday and one in two weeks, so I can't stop playing entirely although I will limit it and be as careful as possible.  I don't want to do lasting damage, but I want to go to grad school too!!  :(

I would not stop playing altogether, but I would do excersices that vary the dynamics, never getting excessively loud. I don't think I would worry about any perminant damage at this point. I think that if you noted discoloration/bruising of the lip or marked swelling or if you couldn't play at all without pain, then I would be concerned. I would take frequent(e.g. 30-45min) periods of about 15min of rest during the practice routine.
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Galen McQuarrie

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« Reply #9 on: Feb 14, 2008, 02:39PM »

Galen:
This may be slightly off topic, but I've had two friends now who developed cysts on their upper lip, more exactly the space between the upper lip and the nose. I've only heard about these among brass players. Am I correct in thinking there is a causal link here?
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« Reply #10 on: Feb 15, 2008, 03:11PM »

Galen:
This may be slightly off topic, but I've had two friends now who developed cysts on their upper lip, more exactly the space between the upper lip and the nose. I've only heard about these among brass players. Am I correct in thinking there is a causal link here?

There could be a causal link. Whether is is due to exposed brass/metal irritation, pressure from the mouthpiece or occlusion of apocrine glands, I couldn't say. I am not aware of any definitive studies that would say one way or the other. Interesting thought though.
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Galen McQuarrie

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« Reply #11 on: Feb 15, 2008, 04:44PM »

I think I may have had this at one point before, and I do believe it was because I played too loud with bad technique (ie: forced).

One thing I find really soothing is to first of all warm down by playing down low and doing lip bends, but also to move the mouthpiece on my face and play outside of the usual ring if I have been playing "hard".  Do a little on the right side, a little on the left, let yourself focus a tone like that.  I find offsetting the mouthpiece to either side when warming down helps to relax my facial tissues, so they feel less brutalized the next time I have to play.
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« Reply #12 on: Feb 15, 2008, 09:32PM »

Galen:
This may be slightly off topic, but I've had two friends now who developed cysts on their upper lip, more exactly the space between the upper lip and the nose. I've only heard about these among brass players. Am I correct in thinking there is a causal link here?
I also know a couple of players who have had cysts removed.  I think if a non-brass player developed a cyst, they would not even notice it, and it might go away by itself without the constant irritation of playing on it.
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« Reply #13 on: Feb 16, 2008, 04:24PM »

I think I may have had this at one point before, and I do believe it was because I played too loud with bad technique (ie: forced).

One thing I find really soothing is to first of all warm down by playing down low and doing lip bends, but also to move the mouthpiece on my face and play outside of the usual ring if I have been playing "hard".  Do a little on the right side, a little on the left, let yourself focus a tone like that.  I find offsetting the mouthpiece to either side when warming down helps to relax my facial tissues, so they feel less brutalized the next time I have to play.

Great idea! Idea!

I'll try that tonight...after I've played my downtown street gig!

(It's about 40 degrees outside as I type this!)
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janettem
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« Reply #14 on: Mar 18, 2008, 04:13PM »

While hitting a very high note(during "Love For Sale") on Friday night playing downtown,I apparently hit the inside part of my mouth with the front teeth,and caused a bit of irritation. I didn't even notice it until the next day at work,when it stung very badly. And when I went to play Saturday night,I had major trouble articulating and adjusting on certain tones and tonguing.

I passed on playing downtown on Sunday,and don't plan to play for several days or so.

So far today,the inside of my mouth feels like it's healing,but I'm still very gunshy about playing again until it's healed.

Anyone have that same experience?

Besides rest(of course),what can I use to lessen the pain,and keep it from happening again!|
(This was the first time it's ever happened...in 14 months of playing again!)

Unfortunately,I fell hard on the pavement yesterday while trying to catch the bus,severely cutting my inner lip and having some pretty bad swelling on the outer lip,with a lot of bleeding issues. Thankfully,no stitches were needed,but I do look like someone who just got KO'd by Sugar Shane Moseley.  :-P

Should I stop playing for a week,or should I just go and wait a full two weeks until both the inner and upper lip heals completely? Confused

(I just got a Yamaha 354 this week,and was eagerly looking forward to playing this weekend...this sucks!)
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« Reply #15 on: Mar 18, 2008, 05:20PM »

Both of you! Take it easy for a few days. Nothing's worth a buck if you can't ever play again and enjoy it.

You know when it'll be right to play again...just don't feel like you "just have to" any time within the next week or so.
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« Reply #16 on: Mar 20, 2008, 02:09PM »

Both of you! Take it easy for a few days. Nothing's worth a buck if you can't ever play again and enjoy it.

You know when it'll be right to play again...just don't feel like you "just have to" any time within the next week or so.

Yeah,I'm giving it a rest for about a week or so,as the inner cut is healing,albeit slowly.

The swelling on the outer lip is just about gone,so I no longer look like a hockey player.

But it's hard to even try to pucker up the lip and work on lip exercises because the inner cut still stings!

(I'm washing it out 3 times a day with water/peroxide,so that's helping to an extent.)

The dry air here in New Mexico isn't helping things heal well either!

At least the two neighbors who don't like trombone playing-especially jazz-don't have anything to b***h about! :-P
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« Reply #17 on: Mar 21, 2008, 05:02AM »

Water/peroxide? Don't you think water with salt might be a more healing solution?
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« Reply #18 on: Mar 21, 2008, 06:15AM »

What you are describing, is something that I have experienced myself. It does represent a minor degree of facial muscle injury, I got it by playing too loud, not necessarily to high, during a practice performance. My recommendation is to practice softer, do long tones and gradually increase the pressure on your embouchure. I should go away in time.

That sounds like what I did many years ago in high school.  Early in the marching season, before my chops had gotten thoroughly toughened up, a bunch of us stayed after one of our "three-a-day" rehearsals and had a long, loud jamb session (dare I say "young and stupid"?).  The next day I could not even touch the mouthpiece to my lips without severe pain, although I could eat and talk with absolutely no pain.  I laid off for a couple of days then came back gradually.  Within a week I was fine (the young heal quickly.)

I've never had this problem again, in part because I learned to "listen" to my lips.  When they start feeling like jello, it's time to take a break.
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« Reply #19 on: Mar 22, 2008, 12:41PM »

Water/peroxide? Don't you think water with salt might be a more healing solution?

Hmmm...never heard that one before.

I knew about the water/peroxide solution from all the dental work I've had over the years.

The lip has healed enough for me to play,though not at my normal level.

But I'll try the water/salt solution tonight. Good!

Thanks.
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