Tendonitis

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Ray Gianelli, Mar 26, 2005.

  1. Ray Gianelli

    Ray Gianelli Member

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    I've been having what I believe is tendonitis from playing guitar; it may be something else, like carpal tunnel syndrome or simply age ( I just received an application from AARP... like I need the reminder that I'm turning 50 this year). I ice my wrist 20 minutes on, 10 off and wear a wrist brace while I sleep when it flares up. I've found that if I raise up the strap on my guitar it helps to keep my wrist straighter, and I tend to have less trouble, but it still occurs.
    Anyone have this trouble or have any tips?

    Thanks, Ray
     
  2. DigitalTube

    DigitalTube Member

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    I don't have any of those problems but one thing that might help if you also use you computer for many hours a day too, is one of those pads like the IGESTURE, It replaces the mouse on a MAC or PC, and in my case I feel my right hand gets less tired.
    I friend of mine got me into it, because he had most of the problems you describe and he told me it helped him alot, but they are expensive, about $145.00.
    E.B.
     
  3. landru64

    landru64 Member

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    clinically speaking, there are a ton of things that could be going wrong (CTS, dequervain, etc.), so ice and/or wrist braces may or may not be the right thing...may actually be counter productive! i found a brilliant CERTIFIED hand therapist out here in LA who literally saved my life and career. i'd suggest you find a) an enlightened doctor, preferably someone who 'gets' musicians (travel if you have to), and b) dig really deep to find a therapist who gets it too. The right doctor will know the right therapist. too many don't!!! it may be a long, drawn out effort, but i think it will be worth it to get the right answer... i think it said you were in south florida... maybe try mining the univ. of miami music dept.

    whatever you do, don't take some of the quack advice i've seen here and on other boards... see a professional.
     
  4. spencerbk

    spencerbk Member

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    For me - tendonitis was much more in the forearms than the wrist (which to me could signify carpal tunnel - but obviously I'm in no position to judge). But I'm sure in either case the best solution is to correct your posture/technique, warm up and stretch before you play, and take breaks!

    I've also had very good luck with acupuncture and massage.
     
  5. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Ray,

    What exactly are your symptoms? It wasn't clear to me why you think you might have tendonitis or CTS.

    I'm having some discomfort in my right shoulder after playing some but I am 99% sure it's from me being completely out of shape and not in the habit of regular stretching and exercise at 36 y/o.

    Anyway, I'd be interested to hear your symptoms.

    Cheers,

    Dave
     
  6. Ray Gianelli

    Ray Gianelli Member

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    Hey Dave;

    Well, I've got pain and a burning sensation (no, not when I urinate) in my wrist after playing. I'm guessing tendonitis as it feels like it runs up the tendon into my forearm. I'm 49, turn 50 this July but have kept myself in shape through diet and exercise, although I fall off the exercise wagon fairly frequently.
    It seems to come and go, and I think it's due to poor technique and/or posture, as spencerbk pointed out in his post. There are times that I can practice and play for long periods without issues, but other times I can't. Could be age; I'm finding out all sorts of unpleasent ramifications to the aging process :mad:

    Ray
     
  7. gregc

    gregc Member

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    Ive been getting it bad in the left forearm for at least 4-6 months now. I've tried a lot of anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, and rest. They all help but when I get back at it things flare right back up. I'm trying a\ forearm brace now. That seems to let me work without so much inflammation. We;ll see. Steroid injection perhaps next, though I'm not looknig forward to it. I'll tell ya this
    : it sucks! Maybe it's par for the course @ 47-48. I sure hope not~
    gregc
     
  8. Ray Gianelli

    Ray Gianelli Member

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    If it were muscle related, I would suspect it could be tension. I've found that I have had muscle discomfort from being too tense when attempting to play faster than comfortable. I remember reading an interview with Eric Johnson, where he mentioned breathing normally while playing. Now, at the time I thought that was a bit "out there", but after becoming conscious about it I realized that if you're not relaxed you'll hold your breath during difficult passages.
    What I'm dealing with seems to be tendon or ligament issues. Position of my fretting arm and wrist seem to alleviate the effects. Raising the guitar helps as well.
    Great... I'm pushing 50 and not only are the pants creeping up the guitar is too :eek:

    Ray
     
  9. duffyguitarman

    duffyguitarman Member

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    I went through a major thing a few years ago with hand, forarm pain and numbness. Tried all kinds of stuff, chiropractic, various holistic energy work things. Then I read an article in my friends Modern Drummer Mag. and it described the exact stuff. Usually is misdiagnosed as carple tunnel. Tendon and nerve "entrapments" were basicaly what was the issue. Intense massage thereapy, (facia release and rolfing). It is not a picnic I will tell you that, but it has worked wonders for me. Streaching and warming up properly were also very much stressed. Also read an article about a guy in Guitar Player, pretty much the same thing and did the rolfing thing along with lowering string gauge. I went down to .009's on my strats. I only on occasion have little flare ups now. It actually stems from the back, just inside the shoulder blade of the affected hand, if you press on it there, you can feel it go all the way down to your fingers. You need to do a weekly massage/therapy session every week for 8-10 weeks, then scale back to one every couple. Now I go in about once a month to help keep it in check. Find a massage therepist that can do facia release and rolfing.
    Hope this helps.

    Peace,
    Duffy King
     
  10. ripoffriffs

    ripoffriffs Supporting Member

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    I'm 41. Been playing since I was in high school. For the past 5 or 6 years I have experienced pain in my left (fretting) hand from playing way too much. I have concluded that it is repetitive motion injury or carpal tunnel. And it isn't from operating a computer either since I have absolutely no pain in the right (picking) hand.

    After consulting with a Chet Atkins virtuouso type teacher he recommended this:
    - use shorter scale guitars like Gibsons: 24.75"

    From experience, it works! It does not totally eliminate the pain after hours pf playing but it does help significantly. It isn't a fluke. Once in a while I would try Fenders (or G&L's) with the long scale of 25.5". The pain in my left hand would be intense after a few minutes.

    The decreased tension of a short scale guitar makes a world of difference. I ended up selling my Fenders & G&L's. I now would not even touch one when I am at a music store. Hell even looking at one I start to feel something in my left hand. (Pavlov's Dog effect I think) In order to get a Fender type sound I use PRS guitars instead (25.0" scale). Nobody told me this until recently but I learned that PRS Santana's are 24.5" scale! Had I known this earler I wouldn't have bought a Gibson SG with vibrola.

    The 2nd advice I got from a general music teacher at my local Univ. Off the shelf supplements for arthritis patients: Glucosimine Chondroitin. Go to your local drug store. They are everywhere on the shelevs. I take 2 everyday. Without it I think my left-hand would fall off.

    I am telling you this from hard experience. I was all skeptical at first. I didn't want to have to sell my Fenders, I loved them. But switching to PRS and Gibsons alleviated a lot of the pain. Not all, but a lot enough to keep playing.

    Years ago, I read in Guitar Player mag that Ywingvie Malmsteen (sorry for the spelling) has the same problem. It is not a secret that he and anyone else with a technique like his would have to spend hours upon hours everyday playing guitar. That's a recipe for repetitive motion injury.
     
  11. dazco

    dazco Member

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    How many have had much success by going down a gauge? I'm curious because i was thinking of doing this due to a problem i've had for a decade. Mine is not a pain thing, but a huge loss of control in my left hand. I recently got a 24.75 scale LP of sorts and it helps quite a bit. problem is, i'm a strat guy thru and thru and really don't enjoy the LP aside from occasional jaunts for a change of pace. So ive been thinking about putting 9's on my strat even tho i've always felt 10's are the minimum i'd ever use. Anyone had much luck improving problems in thier fretting hand by lowering string gauge?
     
  12. ripoffriffs

    ripoffriffs Supporting Member

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    I use D'Addario 9.5's - 44. They are the only ones who sell that guage, they call it 120+. The 9's sound too thiny, and the 10's will aggravate the pain too much. Also years ago, I discovered the discontinued line of US made PRS called EG. They are a knock off of Fender Strats but at a shorter scale of 25" instead of 25.5". Of course now there is the PRS EG SE from Korea which I won't buy. But you can find these US made PRS at eBay.
     
  13. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Does that small amount really help much? Might have to try them.
     
  14. cold_fusion

    cold_fusion Suspended

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    I'm 47 and have off and on bouts with what I've dubbed as NIntendo thumb...If you've ever played a nintendo or sega or playstation type games then you prolly know the stress it puts on the left thumb which controls the direction button. This can completely blow your left thumb out which takes a lot of stress supporting the left fretting hand on the neck....mines pretty much toast...if you're young and you want to have a long life playing guitar ..then I'd stay away from gamepads....
     
  15. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Has anyone found any exercizes that have really helped a lot for the fret hand especially?
     
  16. cold_fusion

    cold_fusion Suspended

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    The best exercize I've found is just play more guitar...the act of playing will strengthen the right muscle/tendons that need to be strengthened. I find that if I lay off for a few days, then any pain problems are worse after the hiatus than if I play some every night or on a more often basis...
     
  17. dazco

    dazco Member

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    I've thought about a chiro, but i hear stories that go both ways so i'm unsure whether it would be worth trying. Can i ask what he charged you in total?
     
  18. duffyguitarman

    duffyguitarman Member

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    Yes, henceforth my previous post. I too would get the loss of conrtol, acutally locking up along with a cramp type pain. If I get too balistic and dig in too much sometimes still get a little bit of it. The string gauge change and aformentiond thereapy and a little chiro adjustment here and there, have helpled immensly.


    Best of luck in this,
    Duffy
     
  19. TheAmpNerd

    TheAmpNerd Member

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    Funny I worked my way up to 11s on my strat , then my fret hand went all to ****. So I went back down to 10s. And it helped. I also don't practice as much. At one point I had to stop for a couple/three weeks so my fret hand could rest.

    POSTURE POSTURE POSTURE POSTURE

    After much reading about this and talking with ergonomic
    people, you never want to put your thumb over the guitar neck. Also keep your guitar high (same place sitting
    and standing). Your fretboard should also be higher
    than the body of the guitar. Take a look at some of the
    classic postures!

    Your wrist should be straight and not bent. Stretch and
    warm up, do other exercises too.

    Quit smoking, smoking really screws with your circulation.

    Exercise, jog, walk, calistenics etc.

    NOTE: I'm 48 and you have to do everything in your
    power to keep playing and keep injury free if possible.

    Good luck.
     
  20. AJ Love

    AJ Love Senior Member

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    Shiatsu (Japanese accu-pressure massage therapy) has helped me greatly over the years, as has using lighter strings, as has raising the neck, as has stretching, as well as using ice right before bed
     

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