Hand pain and finger fatigue: is it common as we get older?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by kingsxman, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. kingsxman

    kingsxman Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,616
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Curious if this is a common problem with guitar players as they get older. I’m finding that I’m having more and more “hand” pain doing things like playing "repetitious" barre chords. Its not all the time but certain songs where I’m playing a lot of them my hand will hurt so much I have to resort to just playing the “root/5” on the bottom 2 or 3 strings. This is kind of a new occurrence for me. Also, I’m also finding that when soloing my fingers tend to tighten up and I lose speed. This seems to be something that has just gotten a bit worse over time. The fingers just seem to get “fatigued”. Not on everything but when I'm trying to do fast runs or "trills" it happens.

    Normal or is there maybe an issue? Curious if there are finger or hand exercises one can do to help with these sorts of things.
     
  2. Bob Longo

    Bob Longo Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,801
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    Location:
    New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and a jet plane
    It's happening to me and I'll include knee, hip, back, etc......
     
    84superchamp likes this.
  3. Nurk2

    Nurk2 "Ignore Everybody" ~Hugh MacLeod

    Messages:
    8,086
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    Hahahahaha.

    sorry....

    Think about it this way...even the greatest athletes slow down and stiffen up eventually. Keep playing, stay loose, and it will slow the inevitable - but it is inevitable.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  4. straightblues

    straightblues Member

    Messages:
    9,060
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Location:
    The LBC
    I get it for sure. I try to take care of my hands. I massage it with different creams and such. I ice it when it is bad. I try to warm up before I play hard.
     
    juh_sepp likes this.
  5. CubanB

    CubanB Member

    Messages:
    2,155
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    Location:
    Australia
    Yeah warming up helps..
     
    nsureit likes this.
  6. cadduc

    cadduc Member

    Messages:
    5,161
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    then there is the hand cramp and trigger finger
     
    MrLahey and nsureit like this.
  7. Stratonator

    Stratonator Member

    Messages:
    2,963
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    I hadn't played in a loooong time and got back into playing. Whereas I could perform acrobatics I can no longer do, my main concern is hand fatigue.

    Should I instead just plow through it and play more and more to get my hands used to playing again? Reminds me of the kind of feeling I had when I first started playing.
     
  8. kcprogguitar

    kcprogguitar Member

    Messages:
    2,276
    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Location:
    Kansas City
    With age the need to warm up increases. Start slow and be methodical.

    I can't do the acrobatics I could do in the eighties. On the guitar or the bedroom...lol.
     
    MrLahey likes this.
  9. Stratonator

    Stratonator Member

    Messages:
    2,963
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    I won't ask for proof of either. ;)

    Thanks for that. My instinct was to plow through. For instance, what I used to do in the 90s is warm up by playing Stevie Ray Vaughan's Testify over and over. Now, I don't think I could get through the first 20 seconds before developing hand fatigue.
     
  10. cadduc

    cadduc Member

    Messages:
    5,161
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    i start to get cramping in my forearms as well
     
  11. Matt Jones

    Matt Jones Member

    Messages:
    7,455
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Yes and be careful. I noticed a few years ago after learning some new tunes for a temporary street band a couple joints in my fingers got a nasty strain injury and took a LONG time to heal.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  12. amstrtatnut

    amstrtatnut Member

    Messages:
    10,416
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2013
    Location:
    Northern CA
    Lighter strings and lighter touch.

    Practice being relaxed by practicing and warming up super slowly.

    Im 52 and my hands would tighten up when I tried to play fast. They also tighten up when I dont warm up. But practicing scales slowly and staying relaxed has helped. Also switched to 9s on electric.
     
  13. RoryGfan

    RoryGfan Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,452
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2015
    amstrtatnut is right on target. I'm older, but ended up with both trigger finger and a fractured wrist.

    I tried to keep playing, using one good finger. Actually learned some stuff.

    When a second finger came online, I began playing intervals. I could not yet bend them, so I looked for a song with intervals but no string bending.

    I discovered a song by Colin Hay called "Overkill" and learned it. Intervals are fun.

    After six months, my wrist was manageable and so were my fingers, but I take it very easy.....008's tuned down to a D.

    Believe me, you don't realize how much you depend on your fingers until you lose that ability, especially as you get older.
     
  14. 84superchamp

    84superchamp Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    29,691
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Location:
    Okie Dokie, Indiana
    i share the pain. starting by running thru lead progressions helps me ease into it but like you, i have stared the inevitable square in the face.:(
     
  15. nsureit

    nsureit Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,544
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Yes. Try to treat the symptoms with ibuprofen, heat, ice and stretching. That's all you can do. Then, suck it up and play.
     
  16. jcs

    jcs Member

    Messages:
    7,536
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2002
    Location:
    on a hill
    Hey Jeff, I've had arthritis for years and its tough to manage.

    I use a scrip similar to Ibuprofen in a low dose called Meloxicam that lasts 24 hours.

    For me its not only pain but mobility....I use my hands in my occupation where they can take a beating but I am a contractor so I can actually not work on really bad days which are usually during the winter.

    Light and slow warmups will help along with some kind of NSAID but I prefer the long lasting ones like Meloxicam.....and occasionally Tramadol for severe pain

    Wear gloves before you play.....I LOVE washing the dishes these days in the sink because 15 minutes of warm water helps my hands.

    Otherwise I drop stuff left and right in the mornings because of the lack of mobility and stiffness.

    If you notice and kind of cramps or muscle spasms, make sure you are getting enough potassium, magnesium, salt....but don't overdo it...I take blood tests 2 times a year as I have to ADD these minerals frequently or the cramps & muscle spasms start in.

    Too much alcohol & caffeine can worsen arthritis ....along with many foods.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  17. sacakl

    sacakl Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,023
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2010
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    I went to physical therapy and brought my guitar. It was mostly due to how I held the guitar, which was way too low standing up. Also helped when sitting putting it classical-style between the legs. PT actually helped a lot at the time, which was 5 years ago. No problems (knock on wood) since.
     
  18. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Member

    Messages:
    13,777
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2016
    Location:
    14 Megameters from Groong Tehp
    Meloxicam is my answer.
    I keep a bottle here at home always.

    If that doesn't help, move to Tramadol.

    Also, take a gram of Fish Oil per day.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  19. Scrapperz

    Scrapperz Member

    Messages:
    10,417
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2013
    Location:
    Lizard Land
    I've been treated with a bunch of different drugs for author and nothing they gave me worked. Interesting how people are effected differently.
     
  20. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Member

    Messages:
    13,777
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2016
    Location:
    14 Megameters from Groong Tehp
    Actually, Fish Oil might solve the problem. I was having a pain in my knee joints that Fish Oil took care of.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice