Nyckelharpa injury

I recently found myself with an injury from nyckelharpa practice in which I felt severe stabbing pain under my left shoulder blade. It hurt so much I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t find a comfortable position for reading or using the computer either. And playing nyckelharpa made it noticeably worse. I could still walk and play tennis. A doctor visit was useless, they shrugged and prescribed a muscle relaxer, but I have gotten good relief from a chiropractor over the course of about 8 visits. He found some ribs were displaced and the area under my shoulder blade very tight. He relaxed and manipulated my neck and upper spine and ribs and the area under my shoulder blade. I have also used ice and heat (my hot tub) and naproxen and done a lot of gentle stretching.

I needed to find a better solution for playing nyckelharpa at home. We had had wonderful chairs at the Eric Sahlström Institute that had gotten me through a year of playing many hours a day. Here’s a photo of our classroom there with the chairs:

Music classroom for our 2014-2015 year.

Music classroom for our 2014-2015 year.


But after I got home to the USA I had not been able to find a comfortable sitting position. So I had been practicing standing up, with some intervals perched on the arm of an armchair, or on a stool.

It is called a harpcello chair on the website.

It is called a harpcello chair on the website.


I was able to find a chair online at that was similar to the chairs at the Eric Sahlström Institute. It was more money than I wanted to spend, but after I developed the problems described above I went ahead and bought one and it is doing what I needed. It has great adjustability and wonderful lumbar support. The people at the small company in Canada were very helpful. I Skyped with ‘Sal’ and he showed me how to assemble and adjust the chair before he packed it up to FedEx it to me.

I have since taken an additional step, which is to learn and practice the Alexander technique. From their website they describe it this way:

“The Alexander Technique is a way to feel better, and move in a more relaxed and comfortable way… the way nature intended.

An Alexander Technique teacher helps you to identify and lose the harmful habits you have built up over a lifetime of stress and learn to move more freely.”

I found a private teacher in Kensington, MD and have had about 8 weeks of instruction. I think it is really helping, and also find it helpful when walking, moving, dancing, and living.

All the reading I have done about change has suggested that multiple changes are important when trying to create a new habit. So I have made a number of changes and am finding a better way.

Leave a Reply

* required fields