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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2012, 02:23 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Let's talk injury prevention

I hear about guitar players saying that they get tendonitis sometimes.

I'm a bit concerned about this. In the last year I have developed tendonitis in both quads (which took about 3 months to heal with physical therapy) and in my left rotator cuff and biceps tendon (which is going on 7 months of recovery now and is about 98% healed and is frustrating because I've been out of the gym for 7 months as a result).

I have been a weight lifter off and on (mostly on) for the last 10 years and I've never had anything like this happen until the last year. If anything I do pretty low volume, so it's hard for me to believe I overdid it or overtrained or anything.

So what does this have to do with guitar playing?

Well apparently my body has decided that it likes to get tendonitis now despite me not overtraining. Since I've started playing guitar again after an 8-10 year hiatus, I'm worried that I'm going to end up with some tendon issues in my hands/fingers which I definitely do not want.

To try and combat this I've been doing wrist stretches (prayer pose, reverse prayer pose), forearm extensor exercises (make a "beak" with your hand, now grab it with your other hand and resist as you slowly "open" the beak), and I have been doing ice massages on both hands any time after I play for more than 30 minutes.

An ice massage is this: take a paper Dixie cup and fill it with water and put it in the freezer until it's frozen. Now tear off the top half or 2/3 of the cup and, using the bottom 1/3 of the cup as a handle, use the ice to massage the affected body part. The ice will melt, so do this over the sink. I do my wrists, palm, back of my hand, and my fingers. I spend a few minutes on each hand.

Ice massages have helped with my shoulder tendonitis recovery so I am thinking that by the same method they may help prevent hand tendonitis.

I read some research suggesting that NSAIDs (Ibuprofen) are actually not effective in healing tendonitis and may actually cause the tendon to heal weaker than if the NSAIDs were not used. Plus they can mess with your stomach and I already have some gastrointestinal issues so I don't want to go there if I don't have to.

Have you had any sort of hand or tendon injuries from playing guitar? How did you heal? Do you do any sort of preventative stuff to help keep the repetitive stress injuries at bay? Let's discuss this. As tendonitis is notoriously difficult to fully heal from, it's in all our best interests to not develop it in the first place. I think I read on another forum about a guy who had it and couldn't play guitar for 2 years while he healed. And I've also heard that if it isn't allowed to heal it can become chronic.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-12-2012, 06:32 PM
 
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Re: Let's talk injury prevention

I have never met, nor heard of anyone personally who has developed tendonitis from guitar playing. As someone who lifts weights, you should understand that muscles and tendons don't just grow over night. You won't ever just develop it out of nowhere. Just take a short break from playing, shake your hand every once in a while when playing for long periods, and boom there's your prevention.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-12-2012, 07:03 PM
 
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Re: Let's talk injury prevention

Actually, a reason to get tendinitis is by overstressing your tendons, in the case around your wrist, leading to carpal tunnel problems. I had the problem after months of heavy work while building my house. Causing numbness in fingers when I played the guitar. So when you mention weight lifting... to me that sounds much more like a suspect than guitar playing. I started doing wrist stretching (you can find plenty of these on youtube) to handle the irritated and swollen tendons, stuck in the carpal tunnels, and the problem disappeared. Good luck,
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 03:47 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
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Re: Let's talk injury prevention

Quote:
Originally Posted by ironfistx View Post
I hear about guitar players saying that they get tendonitis sometimes.

I'm a bit concerned about this. In the last year I have developed tendonitis in both quads (which took about 3 months to heal with physical therapy) and in my left rotator cuff and biceps tendon (which is going on 7 months of recovery now and is about 98% healed and is frustrating because I've been out of the gym for 7 months as a result).

I have been a weight lifter off and on (mostly on) for the last 10 years and I've never had anything like this happen until the last year. If anything I do pretty low volume, so it's hard for me to believe I overdid it or overtrained or anything.

So what does this have to do with guitar playing?

Well apparently my body has decided that it likes to get tendonitis now despite me not overtraining. Since I've started playing guitar again after an 8-10 year hiatus, I'm worried that I'm going to end up with some tendon issues in my hands/fingers which I definitely do not want.

To try and combat this I've been doing wrist stretches (prayer pose, reverse prayer pose), forearm extensor exercises (make a "beak" with your hand, now grab it with your other hand and resist as you slowly "open" the beak), and I have been doing ice massages on both hands any time after I play for more than 30 minutes.

An ice massage is this: take a paper Dixie cup and fill it with water and put it in the freezer until it's frozen. Now tear off the top half or 2/3 of the cup and, using the bottom 1/3 of the cup as a handle, use the ice to massage the affected body part. The ice will melt, so do this over the sink. I do my wrists, palm, back of my hand, and my fingers. I spend a few minutes on each hand.

Ice massages have helped with my shoulder tendonitis recovery so I am thinking that by the same method they may help prevent hand tendonitis.

I read some research suggesting that NSAIDs (Ibuprofen) are actually not effective in healing tendonitis and may actually cause the tendon to heal weaker than if the NSAIDs were not used. Plus they can mess with your stomach and I already have some gastrointestinal issues so I don't want to go there if I don't have to.

Have you had any sort of hand or tendon injuries from playing guitar? How did you heal? Do you do any sort of preventative stuff to help keep the repetitive stress injuries at bay? Let's discuss this. As tendonitis is notoriously difficult to fully heal from, it's in all our best interests to not develop it in the first place. I think I read on another forum about a guy who had it and couldn't play guitar for 2 years while he healed. And I've also heard that if it isn't allowed to heal it can become chronic.
If your lifting weights then going home and then doing hard out scales practice this could be the reason for cramps ,..see your tendens are trying to heal from your training and all of a sudden they are working like hell playing scales da da de da da da,.
Mate dont worry all you have to do is find a happy medium,..if you love to play you will do this ,..once again dont worry,.its the worrying that will get you in the end ,..seriously just play dont worry ,..do your weights the body will get used to it ,..it will tell you in its own way when you have struct the happy medium
hope that helps ,..now its a time thing dude.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 09:51 AM
 
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Re: Let's talk injury prevention

ironfistx, I think the stretching and ice applications are a really good start to managing this. I'd add that maybe a warm-up before playing, something simple like wrist rotations/ flexions, clenching a fist then extending the fingers, etc. would be good.

Any beyond that and I'm past my limit of knowledge as an EMT.

Peace

Mike
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 11:29 AM
 
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Re: Let's talk injury prevention

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hikey Mikey View Post
ironfistx, I think the stretching and ice applications are a really good start to managing this. I'd add that maybe a warm-up before playing, something simple like wrist rotations/ flexions, clenching a fist then extending the fingers, etc. would be good.

Any beyond that and I'm past my limit of knowledge as an EMT.

Peace

Mike
Hey I'm an emt too almost a medic! 1 year left
Bryancap77 is offline  
post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 04:34 PM
 
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Re: Let's talk injury prevention

It's absolutely horrible to see a guitar player stop playing because of an injury. It's times like these that really help you get your priorities right!

I'm gonna soon start out a few articles on injuries relating to guitar players in my website Guitargreed
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 06:11 PM
 
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Re: Let's talk injury prevention

Im currently having some very odd health issues while I play.....every time I play, my ears are full of delightful and beautiful music... Any advice? :P
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 07:51 PM
 
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Re: Let's talk injury prevention

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryancap77 View Post
Im currently having some very odd health issues while I play.....every time I play, my ears are full of delightful and beautiful music... Any advice? :P
continue as normal..if swelling persists for more than 4 hrs,, see a Dr.
GUITARMAGEDDON is offline  
post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 08:03 PM
 
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Re: Let's talk injury prevention

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryancap77 View Post
Hey I'm an emt too almost a medic! 1 year left
Nice, man, good luck on getting the EMT-P.

Peace

Mike
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 09:00 AM
 
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Re: Let's talk injury prevention

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryancap77 View Post
Im currently having some very odd health issues while I play.....every time I play, my ears are full of delightful and beautiful music... Any advice? :P
Keep playing or youll die.
RyansJem is offline  
post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 08:18 AM
 
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Re: Let's talk injury prevention

[FONT=Helv][FONT=Helv]Hi,
In response to your question - Yes I have both had tendon issues caused from playing guitar previously and currently have an issue which is ongoing.

Like yourself I seem to develop tendon issues from repetitive motion. Also of recent I am returning to form with playing guitar after taking some time out.

I use my hands and arms both at work all day as a draughtsman, my evening roll takes on the form of a martial arts instructor and obviously I am playing guitar at some point on an evening once the kids have been taken to their bedrooms. So my arms/hands are in constant use while in my waking hours.

With regards to your warm up I would keep doing this, I do something similar now which I wish I had done before as I have developed a tendon issue with my 1st finger on my fretting hand from over playing the guitar which was very painful & has caused quite a few issues at work, training and obviously guitar. It has slowed me down noticeably & have had to change my playing style and what I play.

I am not sure that your cool down routing is the best method, where as ice to major muscle groups works I have been advised not to do this to small joint areas (fingers etc). Only when first treating impact injuries (which happens often whilst training).

To combat this most recent injury I have had to cut back time on the guitar, sometimes not playing at all on an evening, change my string gauge from 10's to 9's and use pain-killers in conjunction with anti inflammatory. The best treatment to date has been massaging the area regular which has helped a lot.

To be honest this came about as I was not doing any sort of warm-up to get the blood flowing beforehand which obviously knowing what I know is not advised.

To give an idea of things effected by this small tendon problem, eating as I cant put pressure on fork, playing with kids and picking them up, work, typing and training (obviously the only place you don't want an injury gets injured - like a hit me magnet) so pretty much everything I do.

RG BARGIE
[/FONT]
[/FONT]
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-04-2012, 06:09 AM
 
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Re: Let's talk injury prevention

Just take plenty of breaks while you're practicing. Slowly build up your playing time. Like weight training, your body needs rest. Going 8 hours straight doesn't work well for a guy coming out of a 8-10 year hiatus. Work your playing time up over months.

Good technique (light fretting touch, relaxed arms and shoulders, sitting straight) can extend your playing time. Don't practicing like most jazzers play, we are AWFUL with our postures, scrunching up into a ball. Do warmup exercises, but don't over do it. I've known a couple upright bass players that has tendinitis and carpel tunnel. They've got it more in control with using lighter gauge strings, and a lower action on their basses.

If it starts to feel funny, slow down and rest for a bit before continuing. From what I've heard, carpel tunnel is a pain in the ass to manage. I think TheLittleOne, Starcraft 2 pro-gamer, had to take a whole year off just to get his hands to start working properly again. Rest. Rest. Rest. Rest. Rest. Rest. Rest. Rest. Rest. Rest.
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-14-2012, 08:01 AM
 
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Re: Let's talk injury prevention

The warm up and rest stuff is essential. have just taken a rest period of 10+ days or so .... not long enough but could not stand it any longer.

Problem is the issue (with finger/personally) there are no tell tale signs before hand, bed one night = damage done next morning upon waking.

And Voila' - Duff Tendon/finger

Having said that I am making small but important improvments.

RG BARGIE
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-14-2012, 08:16 AM
 
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Re: Let's talk injury prevention

I am just around 17 and playing guitar for approx 2 or more years. Now for several months, i suddenly started to have some pain in my left arm. İt is still only low, and doesnt hurt much really if i dont play guitar for a while. But i know another reason for that pain, which in case i use my left hand totally in a different angle. Since i have any probably cause for carpal tunnel problems, i start to beat the pain before it becomes a problem. İnterestingly my classical guitar and othet heavier neck guitars i tried meanwhile didnt cause the same problems as my ibanez prestige, with a slight thin and flat neck. May i go to a doctor quickly? Also i want to fix my left hand tecnic, these problems came with my essay to play standing, any schemes showing right angle?
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