if you have tendonitis that's getting worse, is it really smarter in the long run to stay away from the piano for a few months and let it heal? i've fixed my technique but the nagging pain is still there and it gets worse when i practice consistantly.  this is after years of sloppy playing. i'm 20.

no i haven't seen a doctor yet, although i'm planning to.  however, while i'm waiting i thought that i would see if anyone has had experience with the above treatment.
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here is a response of mine to a previous post:
(just a note--do not underestimate the healing power of therapuetic grade essential oils!!)
are you familiar with seymour fink's book, "mastering piano technique"? there are 10 primary movements in the book that are very simple and can be done away from the piano. i've just started doing these movements--but my piano teacher  swears by them. he had very bad tendonitis one time and started these simple movements and hasn't had trouble since.
also, essential oils are very healing when it comes to muscles and connective tissue--such as tendons and ligaments. wintergreen, spruce, lemongrass, lavender, cypress and peppermint are all very good for this type of injury. go to www.youngliving.com and check them out. i'd start with wintergreen or spruce--one or the other because their actions are very similiar-- lemongrass and cypress which will increase circulation to the area and therefore speed up the healing process. there is also a blend of oils called relieve it and pain away which are both very good, relieve it is alot cheaper though. you may also want to try ortho sport massage oil.
good luck
-j
pnowanabe : could you share some of those excersices with us? i have 4 i got from the doctor: it's like do a  closed fist, then like a claw and then  join the tips of all your fingers (like the italians do when the speak)..  
it helped me after i stoped going to the doc.  
please share some of your exercices ;)
where do you have your pain? i can feel some starting in my forearm and outside wrist. i'm gonna take some alexander classes at college but am getting a bit worried about how it might develop!
i've had rsi/tendonitis twice.  once from playing piano too much (general consistent forearm-wrist pain that was unbearable when playing - at age 25), once from juggling 7 balls too much (spasms of pain in right forearm that meant i occasionally couldn't hold even one sheet of paper - at age 40).

rest was the answer both times (and lighter balls in the latter case).
complete rest for two weeks did it for me both times.  i tried cutting down, almost stopping but it doesn't work.  resist the urge to practice and rest, then build up strength again slowly.
my piano rsi was caused by practising 2-3 hours/day, combination of burgmuller studies and art tatum (octaves/stretches and fast runs/arpeggios).

andy

andy

andy
lobito,  
one ex. is to hold the arms relxed at your side, in a very loose fist. then extend the arm downwards while turning the wrist toward the thumb (the rh will turn counter-clockwise and lh clockwise). he describes it as pressing and turning an imaginary thumbtack. another is called a shoulder pendulum swing. hold the arms relaxed at the sides again and slowly start to swing the arms back and forth from the shoulder. start with a small movement and gradually increase the movement until your arms are swinging as far as they can. always keeping in mind, relaxation. there are over 20 pages of comentary and illustrations on the primary movements alone. so i'm afraid if you want to learn all of em you are going to have to get the book which you can probably get used from amazon for around 15 bucks. they do loosen me up before playing i will say that. my teacher is a strong advocate for these exs. they helped him with tendonitis and he strongly believes in them. if they helped him, they can probably help you out to, its worth a try. if you don't like the book, resell it on amazon.  
good luck
-j
mine mostly centers around my elbow and goes all the way down the forearms and into my hand.  playing octaves and chords seems to irritate it more, as does consistant practice.  i'd probably be better if i could limit myself to 20 minutes at a time, but it's hard.
yes, i would recommend a break from playing. you need heeling.
no exercises!!! don't play, don't lift heavy objects, or turn stiff door knobs! soak in a warm bath...

in the mean time read mark levine's book and hal galper's forward motion. and eartrain (sing rhythmn phrases on a mono tone. example: sing the rhythm of confirmation on a monotone))
you can move your arms around but do not twist or move the wrists about. there are gentle stretces for the wrist but you need somebody to instruct you how to stretch and most teachers and doctors have no idea. a therapist might know...
for how long?
lay off until the pain is all gone. while you are laying off my advice would be to memorize chord changes to standards, organize your repetoire alphabetically in a binder in clear plastic sheet holders and listen to piano recordings that you have been meaning to but have been putting off. and try to practice rhythmic phrasing in your head by scat sing on a monotone while tapping your foot. scat sing the rhythms of charlie parker heads on a monotone without worrying about the pitches. also re-read levine and hal galper's books.
i think the total layoff may be the best bet, i wish i could bring my self to follow that advise.  a local guitar player had it bad and took 6 mo off with a lot of time spent doing things like hot/cold water soaks, stretches ect.  he's back on the road now with no apparent residual problem.  

i've been fighting it as a guitar player for about 10 yrs. it started when i combined a new guitar with a longer scale with heavier strings on on my guitars for better tone, with a lot of gigging.  it didn't take long to show up but going away is quite another thing.  if you are going to change your technique or gear my suggestion would be to do it gradually.  for me it manifests as pain in the elbow when it is really bad otherwise pain running down the inside of my forearms and wrists to varying degrees.  i never let it get too bad, i.e to the can't open doors or pick things up stage.  when it flares up it's time to lay off. when the pain is gone it usually reappears soon after i resume practicing.  as a preventative i work on getting my touch back to being light (albert king bends are immediately detrimental) use lots of stretching per some guidance by an occupational therapist and have anti inflamitories as my drug of choice.  no more all day practice sessions, a couple of hours max if i have to prepare for a gig otherwise probably less than an hour practice at a time.  definitely need recoup time after a gig and i'm glad there are no more 3 and 5 nighters. trying to learn piano has not helped. computers do not help. road bicycles do not help.
anacephalic -- i am in the same situation as you but with both f my wrists from piano. all of your advice is right on.
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