Joined: 07 Feb 2005 Posts: 2 Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 3:29 pm Post subject: Wrist problems
I've been lurking around this board for a while, and have picked up a lot of great information, especially regarding gear. Thanks to all of you for sharing your knowledge so willingly and graciously.
I've been playing for 10 years now, and play everyday if I have my way, focusing lately on learning more chord voicings. This has led me to have a recurring case of tendonitis in my left wrist, which can be treated by wearing a brace and not playing for a week or so. Obviously, this makes for a bad week (I've gone as long as 3 weeks in hopes of really kicking it), and I was wondering what you more experienced (or wiser) players do to prevent injuries from playing guitar. Posture? Exercises?
I've been working on not straining too hard (i.e. not pressing harder than I need to in order to fret the string), with some success, and try to stretch my hands and wrists before playing, but maybe I'm not doing it right. Any advice?
Joined: 29 Jun 2004 Posts: 714 Location: Durham, NC
Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 3:40 pm Post subject:
Hopefully Steve will have a minute post on this, because I know he has some very specific thoughts about this topic. Speaking very generally about "overuse" injuries, the usual rules apply, rest and anti-inflammatory meds can help (eg ibuprofen) short term. But the long term picture requires that you rethink your positioning, tension in the hands, etc. I know Steve also has some acupressure-ish things that he does. _________________ Mike Babyak
Joined: 28 Aug 2004 Posts: 120 Location: Central Massachusetts
Posted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 9:29 pm Post subject: guitar ergonomics
I'd really like to get some help with this issue. I'm approaching middle age (where approaching=not willing to admit that I'm really there) and a novice player. I'm taking glucosamine to try to keep arthritis at bay. But, joint pain in fingers and elbow continues to be a problem.
So, any advice on position, exercises, etc. would be extremely useful.
I find that after about 45 minutes of playing, I start to develop some pain. And, I believe that working through pain will produce longer term problems.
Last edited by Lee on Fri Apr 01, 2005 2:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
Joined: 31 Mar 2005 Posts: 2 Location: Portland, OR
Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2005 1:27 am Post subject:
I suffer from a lot of wrist pain, one of the things I've found that really helps is a gyroflex. These balls spin at something like 9,000 RPM and are great at alleviating stress and carpal tunnel in addition to building strength.
having not played on a regular basis for some time, I have been trying to 'at least' an hour in everyday. Physical therapy for tendonitis and bersitis [sic] has left me w/knowledge of some good wrist stretching... yoga helps over all too. poses? dunno the names but they help.
mainly my pain as of lately is cramping in palm and fore-arm from holding my stephens slide bar on my lap steel acoustik too hard (40-50's oahu seen as my ikon)... let the bar do the work and relax the grip as steve told me... [my relax mantra]
[meester, that ax has brought me great joy and inspiration... ]
and of course getting back to bar chords after no playing gives me cramps... posture and ergonomics is important too.
Joined: 20 Aug 2004 Posts: 441 Location: Lehigh Valley
Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 6:55 pm Post subject:
The one thing that I found that helped the most was self-administered accupressure. Go to the library or search around online, and see what you find. I had a spell about 15 years ago of tendonitis that was so bad, that I couldn't even move my right thumb. After almost a year of doctors, cortisone shots and anxiety, and being told by the very best surgeon on the West Coast "son, get a Casio, your playing days are over", I fixed it myself with self-administered accupressure, diet and sleeping flat on my back.
There are lots of great exercises, stretches, etc. that can help hand and arm, shoulder and neck pain related to guitar playing. The good news is they're all easy, they all feel good, and when you feel that you're in control of your own pain management, your stress goes down dramatically and you'll be happier with your progress. Do a little research and just throw the kitchen sink at it, you'll probably be fine.
Carpal Tunnel, that's something else. Quick story: Banana had the surgery on both wrists at the same time and was back gigging in one week. He said he never felt better. If I were suffering from Carpal Tunnel, I would just go for the surgery and get it over with.
Gammalyte, nice to see you on the list. Maybe try a lighter bar. Don't worry about gripping it too tight, just kinda trap it under your hand and relax. You might wanna try a bullet bar too. The Stevens bar might make you want to hold it tighter for fear that it will fall down. Bullet bars don't fall down!
Joined: 20 Aug 2004 Posts: 441 Location: Lehigh Valley
Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 11:41 pm Post subject:
Does anyone have any tips on how to avoid getting wrist problems in the future? I have heard a number of things about correct arm posture & wrist and finger placement...
I don't know of anything specific technique-wise on the guitar that would put you in danger in the long run. It's a lot more likely that you would injure your hand, fingers, wrists, neck, back, etc. humping gear in and out of the gig, or falling prey to some repetitive motion injury in some other activity (typing maybe, pounding nails). Just being conscious of not overdoing it if you feel like you might be hitting a wall, might be the best advice I could give you, but I never followed that advice. Better ask somebody else!
Joined: 25 Aug 2008 Posts: 1 Location: Nederland, CO
Posted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:36 pm Post subject: Try acupuncture
I do a bit of acupuncture work on musicians and it seem to help quite a bit.
I also agree with Steve. Doing self acupressure can be very helpful.
Look for tender spots on the forearm as well as above the elbow and dig in for a few moments and then move on to find other local tender areas. Another good area to work on is the area between the thumb and 1st finger. Apply deep pressure.
I would also suggest using topicals such as traumeel and zeel while working in the area.
If you gig alot beware of your driving posture. This can also be a factor.
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