Wrist Problems

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by y2stevo, Aug 4, 2004.


  1. y2stevo

    y2stevo Member

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    Hey guys, A few weeks ago i started actually practising properly for about 5-10 hours a day, but about the past week ive been getting pains in my wrist..The pain first comes up after streching it, and at night its quiet irritating,like now..The pain seems to be all around my wrist but i think thats more phycological as it seem to be only present about 1 inch below the line of my thumb on the inside of my arm (if wrist is lying palm down on a desk)..i get the feeling that i want to "crack" it but the pain isnt coming from a place that can be "cracked" (or is it?) so help or advice would really help.. thats all i can think of decribing at the moment.. Really appreciate any comments..


    Thanks.

    y2stevo
     
  2. Genghis

    Genghis Member

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    I'm not exactly an expert on this type of thing, but I have experienced similar types of pain in the past. One thing is for sure: you're pushing yourself too hard. Not so much the lenth of time you are practicing, but it sounds like you arey trying to push either the speed or the stretches when playing. That's what it was for me when I was having hand problems. If it's tendons becoming enflamed you might try easing up a bit and using ice packs for a few days. If it's really bad, go to a doctor or a chiropractor. (I'd go chiropractor because they are less likely to try to solve problems with a knife.)

    A few years ago I had one teacher expain to me that I should spend several days (or longer) simply practicing with just the picking hand, touching the pick against the strings and plucking it slowly and with complete relaxation. You gradually build up to a point where you are picking the string at your normal speed but with the muscles of the hand much more relaxed. I didn't have the patience to do it quite like it was recommended, but what time I spent on that technique was very helpful. After you train the picking hand to play completely relaxed without thinking about, you start in with something similar on the fretting hand, just fingering one note slowly and very relaxed. It takes a lot of patience, but it's a good way to learn to relax the muscles of the hands when playing. If it's your fretting hand that is bothering you now, you might try this method and just focus on picking with complete relaxation for a few days and ice the fretting hand. Then ease back in. That's pretty much what I did when I was having some issues with the left hand.
     
  3. markp

    markp Member

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    Dont mess with the wrist problems!
    The old saying,no pain no gain does not aply to guitar related inguries.
    For about three years I couldnt play bar chords because of a wrist thing.

    Pull that strap up higher and play relaxed,would be my advise.
    Give it a break if it hurts,yo dont want to get to the having to take big breaks for months at a time.
     
  4. drjojo42

    drjojo42 Member

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    if it hurts stop playing,you could permently damage your hand,go to the doctor and get him to give you advise,theres many things it could be, good luck
     
  5. y2stevo

    y2stevo Member

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    Thanks guys, That pretty much sounds like it, I think i am mabye pushing myself too hard , Oh and yes it is my frettign hand,..My sheets os sound arrived today so ambye i could brush up on a little theory and relaxed guitar instead for a few days..

    Thanks alot...

    y2stevo
     
  6. Joe

    Joe Senior Member

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    How do you think your knees and ankles would feel if you decided to start walking 5~10 hours a day all of a sudden, day after day?

    Your body is not use to this type of routine and as such you have to start out with baby steps and build yourself up to those type of hours.

    I know people that run 10+ miles a day, everyday regardless of weather. I know I'd be dead by the end of the first day and that if I wanted to be a "runner" it would take me a year to get to that level where my body could get use to it.

    While in college, I had a few days off between exams so I had to stay to take my last test. SO, I decided to practice a lot, about 10 hours a day. Well I woke up with my left arm being swollen and purple. I could not use my arm for the exam, so I had to bring a stapler to hold the paper from moving so I could write. I did not finish on time because of the sling issues and feel it cost me getting an "A" in the class.
     
  7. Genghis

    Genghis Member

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    Yeah, there's always plenty of brainwork to do. I saw a thread where someone mentioned that his ear training was always way behind his hand training, so that's another thing you could do while you let your hand get some rest.

    I just started with Sheets of Sound a few weeks ago, and I'm going through the exercises slowly with a metronome instead of simply playing them and trying to bring it up to speed. I'm still playing the exercises fairly slowly, but that's the key to keeping your hands relaxed and developing greater speed and control in the long run. It's straining to push your hands to do more faster than they are ready for that causes the repetitive motion injuries.
     
  8. y2stevo

    y2stevo Member

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    Yeah i have been using a metronome but i think ive definitly being pushing it way too hard...Cheers..
     
  9. KLB

    KLB Member

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    There are several constructive comments in this thread.

    Playing guitar uses the entire body!

    Too much force from one hand can cause the other hand to overreact.

    My personal challenge is that I am so much stronger with my right arm and hand, that when I play I often use too much force, causing my left hand to overcompensate, tense up, and grip too hard. Then it gets tired and my tendons get sore. Plus, I simply can't excecute musical ideas as easily.

    The key is to play with the least effort, and that takes enormous willpower, discipline and conditioning. This idea extends to how you hold the guitar, how you sit/stand, the muscles around your lower back, shoulders, and so forth. Think of your entire body as your instrument. The same advice is true when you do any physical thing, really.

    Caffeine and other drugs are a mixed bag. They may relax and/or charge up your mind, but they may interfere with your body's response.

    Being in the best physical shape you can is a worthwhile goal.
    When I (slowly!) took up weight training, my playing improved. A strong, agile body with much endurance is a positive musical asset.

    How is your guitar setup? Strings too big? Action too high for the playing style you seek?

    Then there is the mental angle. Someone mentioned taking baby steps before running a marathon. Good advice.

    It is fun to watch kids and young animals play because their bodies are so uninhibited, so FREE.

    Cheers,
    Ken
     
  10. Genghis

    Genghis Member

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    That's some great advice KLB. General nutrition and healthy lifestyle go a long way. I've been working a sedentary job for the past six years and not eating nearly as healthy as I once did. I realized a few months ago that I'd better make some changes.

    In the past 2-3 months I've made more of an effort to eat better and start getting some exercise. I was drinking several cups of coffee a day and I quit for a few weeks. It was painful, much more painful than I expected. But since I got the caffeine out of my system and got a few weeks in I realized I'm feeling a lot better and haven't had any of the joint pains I was occasionally getting (not just the hands, but the knees and hip; aging sucks).
     
  11. y2stevo

    y2stevo Member

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    Oh my guitar it grand, perfectly setup , i just bought a US carved top Peavey Wolfgang and action is about 1.14mm at 12th fret so pretty low..
    I took your advice and started playing much more relaxed and not really attempting to build up alot of speed, I found after a day of doing this my playing seemed to improve much more than 2 or 3 days pushing really hard as even learning a song seemed to go in easier and technique improving...
    So my problem was that i was pushing my hand wayyyyyy tooo hard and now i dont have any pains while playing unless i stress it too much, but i think my writs wont be back to normal for a week or 2 though..

    This thread was great and theres some great advice to be had from this..

    I always though that when people said the key is relaxation that that was only to keep yourself into it kinda mentally but i never knew that trying to play much faster than you presently can without being relazed would cause serious injury..



    Cheers Guys



    y2stevo
     

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