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 Post subject: Shoulder blade pain?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:12 pm
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Playing for more than 10 minutes creates an uncomfortable ache in my bellows (right) shoulder blade area. It's not enough to "hurt", maybe just enough to question the longevity of that shoulder for future piping. I have a hunch that my connector hose is too long... or perhaps I just have an uncomfortable hunch in my back. Either way, might someone with some similar experience or knowledge give me some advice before I go snipping away at the connector hose?
Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Shoulder blade pain?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:13 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2005 12:23 pm
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Location: Baychimo
Connector hoses are usually made of cheap tubing, available in any hardware store. Buy yourself a length of the appropriate inner diameter and check different lengths. Reduce by 1/2" increments. If you cut the hose too short, it will start popping out of the bellows (or bag), but then just start again with a longer piece of connector hose.

How long have you been piping and how new/old are you pipes? Did you buy second-hand or new?

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 Post subject: Re: Shoulder blade pain?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:19 am
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Location: Portland, OR
Like PJ mentioned, testing connector tube lengths might help you. I've adjusted the length of tubing a couple times on each set I've owned. Most hardware stores will have a PVC or radiator hose that could work. I've tested a bunch, and my favorites have been from McMaster, as my local hardware stores had super thick walled and rigid PVC tubing. From McMaster, I first read about it here, and people recommended 5234K88 (https://www.mcmaster.com/#5234K88). I also tried a couple of their clear PVC tubes, and they worked nicely too. The 5234K88 is tough to disconnect from threaded wood, as it sticks, so it depends on how your connector tube is connected. For my set that is tube on threaded wood, I prefer clear PVC.

I personally haven't encountered bellows shoulder pain, so I don't have any specific advice there. You might consider changing the connector pipe length and trying to find a bellows placement that doesn't strain your shoulder.

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 Post subject: Re: Shoulder blade pain?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:49 pm 
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Location: North Eastern Palaearctic
Perhaps you could also check the air tightness of things. The entire wind pathway. Its not uncommon that leaks build up slowly, and one compensates - until the struggle causes problems; of tone, or aches and pains.

These leaks may lead to a bad posture too, also leading to strains in previously unstressed muscles.

Worth checking, starting at the beginning of the pressure cycle, and checking pressure as you add further elements. So, bellows with corks in inlet and outlet points, etc. Add one thing at a time thereafter, until a leak has been isolated.


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 Post subject: Re: Shoulder blade pain?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:03 pm 
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Hi I was getting all sorts of posture problems So Think about how you are approaching the pipes. Is the bag neck to long. Is your right arm comfortable. I put a tube in the neck to keep it aligned and avoid kinks. Plug the bellows and check inlet. I have the bellows strap
right up on the chest. Make sure the clacker (that leather piece in the bag)valve is not to thick and is aligned vertically. I used every method to check for leaks and bar non the best is a cheap BBQ lighter, If you have a leak it will blow it out. I hate to blame reeds but is
it a soft or hard one

My biggest problem is finger fatigue after maybe 20min I cant really feel my fingers over the sound holes. Always something.......

Oh yeah if you use the lighter make sure there is a canary in the room :lol: :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Shoulder blade pain?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 11:31 pm
Posts: 69
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Having just had shoulder surgery on my right shoulder a couple of months ago, possibly bellows related - be careful of your shoulder!!! Shoulders are horrible things - there's barely anything holding them together except tendons and sinew. You don't want anything to tear or become inflamed. You need to watch out for bursitis and your rotator cuff, and your shoulder can freeze up and develop internal adhesions if you end up subconsciously protecting it from movement. The best thing you can do is go to a physiotherapist and get a set of exercises and stretches to strengthen and keep your shoulder limber. Even if you don't go to a physio, look up some good exercises and stretches online and do them regularly. Protect your shoulder and make sure it doesn't get worse, trust me!!!

I had a set of bellows that were too small, which meant I had to pump way too much. I've recently got a set of bellows from Michael Dow which are really amazing. Make sure your bellows are airtight and make sure they pump enough air so you're not overworking your shoulder.


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 Post subject: Re: Shoulder blade pain?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:41 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2003 4:04 pm
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Location: Belfast Ireland
You didn't say if you play -

1: Practice Set (bag, bellows and chanter).
2: ½ Half Set "(bag, bellows, chanter plus drones)
3: ¾ Three Quarter Set (bag, bellows, chanter, drones plus tenor regulator & baritone regulator)
4: Full Set (bag, bellows, chanter, drones , tenor regulator, baritone regulator & bass regulator)


Who made the pipes and hope not the cheap Pakistan Uilleann Pipes sold on Ebay.

What type of bellows do you use with brass tube or just a hole
What I use 1st Thomson bellows and 2nd Rogge Bellows.
Image wooden adapter connector with Rubber Bellows tube
Image Lawrence Thomson Bellows.

Image plastic adapter connector with Rubber Bellows tube
Image Andreas Rogge Bellows

All the best


Ferg

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 Post subject: Re: Shoulder blade pain?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:12 pm
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Thanks for all the good advice. I play a practice set with Kelleher bag and bellows and it's all pretty airtight. The connector is just some rubber tubing. Looks like I'll be hitting the hardware store soon!


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 Post subject: Re: Shoulder blade pain?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:52 am 
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Location: Belfast Ireland
The flexible rubber connector tubing with the concertina bend you use with the Kelleher bellows is the same
I have been using with my Thomson bellows

For my Rogge bellows rubber connector I use car heating hose that I cover with leather.

Cheers

Ferg

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 Post subject: Re: Shoulder blade pain?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:37 am 
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Besides looking at the mechanics of your pipes, look at how other pipers sit. I had terrible shoulder problems that limited my playing time quite a bit until I started to take note of how I was sitting. Try to keep both shoulders back and try not to stick your head out too far to watch your hands. Try especially to keep the bellows shoulder back and not rotated forward. Check out video of Michael Cooney and Seamus Ennis, for examples. I know that some pipers can play in any position, but each person's body is different. I also found that if I am in a chair that is too high I start having fatigue problems as well. Hope this helps!

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 Post subject: Re: Shoulder blade pain?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 11:31 pm
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Location: Adelaide, Australia
jack london wrote:
Try especially to keep the bellows shoulder back and not rotated forward.



Good advice IMO


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 Post subject: Re: Shoulder blade pain?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:07 pm 
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Location: Portland, OR
I agree that the advice about posture is good. Especially since I'm relatively new to piping, I tend to slouch when I play. Lately I've been more conscious of my posture and have tried to keep a straight, comfortable sitting position. Sitting more straight has also helped bring the regulator keys into a more playable position.

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 Post subject: Re: Shoulder blade pain?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:38 pm 
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It seems I've finally figured out the issue. While it was in fact the connector hose length, it was actually too short. My bag arm was coming forward too far because of the shortness and that must have pushed my right shoulder the wrong way. With a longer connector hose, the bag is a little further back and the arm in a better position.

I hope this helps anyone with a similar problem!


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 Post subject: Re: Shoulder blade pain?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:57 am 
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Location: Germany, half an hour west of "Old Brunswick" (Braunschweig < Brunswieck)
Recently found that a fairly small, non-stretchable bag and a fairly large bellows is the best combination. Even a fulset is thus to be played much, much easier. The air can´t be compressed that much, you can "make" the pressure with the bag-arm and are not "led into temptation" to "make" the pressure with the bellows, which really should only be used for the air-supply and not for the pressure.


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 Post subject: Re: Shoulder blade pain?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:00 am 
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I have to confess that I think I still haven't found the correct posture for me..
I have yet to feel really comfortable on my practice set..
I can still get fatigued fingers, and I find myself doing just what is said above, where I will
catch myself using the bellows to sound a note..ugh

I sometimes wonder if my bag neck is too long, as it seems to need a lot of bend to
have it in a comfortable spot.
I think I need to perhaps just start poring over some photos/videos & see what folk look
like compared to me.


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