As a bonus, the lower bout of the guitar (a jumbo) was now also lower so my right arm was much more comfortable too. What’s wrong with it: Resting does nothing to solve the problem, it simply postpones it – if you start playing again, your symptoms will most likely return. I've recently gotten much more diligent in my guitar practice, and with that comes... wrist pain. Probably best route to take. Tendonitis is common among tennis players, golfers, pitchers, swimmers, jumpers, and guitarists. With the help of this guide, you will be able to research further in this topic and create a routine for yourself. Some guitar players experience thumb pain when playing guitar. Wrist bending (or wrist flexion, in other words) is necessary with certain wider chords and stuff, but unnecessary most of the time. And about the timing (in general): movement drills before playing, stretches after playing. 1. not sure what to treat. So strive for verticality – you should be as close to a neutral, normal standing / sitting posture as possible. Don’t let your guitar distort your body. Many players (especially beginners) are either not aware of these problems or simply choose to ignore them. So in my 17 years worth of experience playing guitar, I’ve certainly enjoyed my fair share of things like wrist pain and … According to Dave Mustaine (Megadeath): Buckethead is probably twice as good a guitar player as me and Slash combined, and can stand having fried chicken rubbed up against his face all night for a couple of hours.’. If you have pain in your thumb, hand, or wrist when playing guitar there are a few things you can do. Ice, or more precisely cold, is a vasoconstrictor, in other words, it constricts the blood vessels. 3 Ways to Avoid Pain in the Left Hand While Playing the … As a “bonus” it also increases their chance of getting injured. Wrist bending was mentioned in this article earlier, and it’s very important indeed. Barre chords can be particularly difficult so it is important to find a guitar with a neck that can help you. It is actually very helpful for various parts of your body that usually are in pain when you play the guitar. So here’s a better idea: reduce the amount of guitar practice you do by about 50%, and depending on the severity of your symptoms, skip the more technical stuff that strains your hands the most. Develop better body awareness so you can notice if you hold tension anywhere in your body while playing guitar (and then relax them, obviously). Guitar Tricks Forum > Guitar Basics > Wrist pain playing. This might be necessary in sever cases and might help in the short-term, but still does nothing to solve the root issue. The answer lies in the wrist. You can always use the unsubscribe link included in the emails. Self-massage methods are the most practical as they can be done by ourselves. 3. So right now, we have a muscle imbalance that causes altered joint mechanics (leading to joint pain) and probably some irritated tendons. Great story, just recently have been getting wrist pain but unsure why. 2. First, let’s go over the usual recommendations that you can find on the internet (and whether they are reasonable). Now, add reduced mobility and micro-injuries to the mix, because tense, shortened muscles will resist movement, and that leads to micro-injuries deep in the tissues. Many people who enjoy playing guitar may experience pain or discomfort in the hands, wrist (and even back and shoulders) at some point. Very often the habit of tilting forward when playing guitar remains even as the times goes by. Here is how a typical beginner positions the fretting hand when playing barre chords: You can clearly see the angle between the wrist and the arm. Just thought I'd share a few techniques im using to help deal with a sore wrist from playing the guitar. This guitar tendonitis treatment is for both pain relief and better function These are techniques you can do yourself.. And then stretch AFTER guitar practice to get rid of the tension that may have accumulated during playing. Reduce the amount of guitar practice by about 50% to get some leeway. The good news is, you PROBABLY don't have any actual damage! Here is a quick recap of what parts of your body are in pain when you are holding the guitar “the cool way” just like the cool kids do. I think I m going to take a break from guitar … It’s a negative spiral, exacerbated by further guitar practice. scorpio007582. Pain is unnecessary, and it hurts. It would make sense to add it to the article. If you’ve ever dealt with wrist pain playing guitar or other aches that affect your playing then I urge you to consider what I share in this article. I had to give up guitar for a year when I had wrist problems, but now I can put in 3, 4, 5 (this is rare) hours a day without any issues. And a low-grade inflammatory process always accompanies scar tissue formation, causing even more trouble…. In a long run it can cause: Keep in mind that I am not an expert or a doctor and this article should be treated as a recommendation. Its symptoms include tingling, pain, numbness or discomfort in the index and middle fingers and thumb, which is hardly ideal when guitarists use all three most often to play. Don’t get me wrong, developing strength in the right places can indeed decrease pain and solve even more complex musculoskeletal issues. The good old icing can be very beneficial when our goal is to bring down inflammation (e.g. Splints and braces. This forces out excess fluids from the area and can improve circulation to a degree. But excess fluids are only present when the area is inflamed! Reduce tension and increase circulation by massaging the affected area. A light touch, just enough to make a note sound clean, is preferred. Learn how you can become a better musician by taking the guitarstrength course. Posts: 1. As a guitarist, are you experiencing pain due to consistent guitar playing? (Or even if they are, other methods would offer much more reliable and faster results.). It must be weak, let’s strengthen it”. Playing guitar should be an enjoyable, minimally stressful activity, however, strain from overuse and awkward positioning can cause a number of issues in the hands and wrist. In guitarists, the main cause leading to this injury is over-practicing and putting extra pressure on fret board than necessary. when lying flat on back get pins & needles in entire lower arm (like when sleeping on it). You are not alone. there’s no need to completely put down the guitar. Wrist flexing exercises with a dumbbell. "Also, seek medical help if there is any tingling in the extremity [t he fingertips, for example ] or a change in sensation." tendonitis), but people recommend it without even mentioning what is it good for…. Is there any guitar health problem you would add to the list? Keep your practising to about 20-30 minutes when you are on your own. One of the biggest cause of wrist pain is to do with tension in the rest of your body. It’s like it’s due to compressing my hand (bringing left fret hand thumb and pad in towards the centre of my hand and opening up again). #1. Most likely you are bending your left wrist rather than maintaining a straight wrist. Guitar players have been using Powerball for decades. Hi David, are you using “classical” position (guitar on the left leg if you are right-handed)? But since it’s a repetitive workload done in a narrow, restricted range of movement, the adaptation will cause imbalances between the muscles, instead of strengthening them all around. Learn how to hold a guitar, sit or stand properly to prevent finger pain, wrist pain, & others injuries. The repetitive motion of playing the guitar tightens certain muscle groups. I do some wide vibratos, so it’s a lot of tugging on the wrist. It is a rehabilitation device and a strengthening product combined. So there’s no point in icing if all you have is joint or muscle pain, or a nerve-related problem like tingling, or numbness, and so on (without inflammation). This is a very unnatural position for human’s hand and obviously maintaining that fretting hand position angle will cause pain and discomfort even when playing guitar for a short period of time. Does this happen to all beginners or am i doing something wrong? Plus it teaches the body that it can rely on something external for stability, instead of having to build internal stability with well-functioning muscles and joints. This is a long story, but in a nutshell, the “root of all evil” is the repetitive, monotonous load inherent in guitar … I ve been playing guitar quite a lot lately. Whether it’s Guitar Elbow, or a Tendonitis of the wrist, thumb or fingers, you can all too easily develop one of these painful injuries from playing guitar or any other stringed instrument. If you are a beginner guitar player, it is normal to have a level of pain in your wrist while your muscles develop and your hand gets stronger. Keeping any joint in a ‘far-from-neutral’ position for too long will cause muscle imbalances and joint problems down the road. Stop pushing down on the strings too hard. This can be much easier when you hold the guitar in a classical position. I’m not going to pretend I know a solution to it because I haven’t had it myself and I’m not a lisenced doctor (I definitely don’t want to give you a bad advice). Guitar Wrist pain – Repair & Strengthen. If you are getting shooting pain, then definitely stop. With the guitar held that way, my left wrist was much straighter . Maybe 4-5 hours straight a day. In conclusion, all of the above have their place, but recommending them to everyone without understanding the root causes is irresponsible. And a lot more have wrist pain from playing guitar. I think left hand just needs constant attention. • To get a clean note, the place where you are fretting your notes can play an important role. Pain or burning that radiates from the outside of your elbow to your forearm or wrist Inflammation or tenderness on the bone on the outside of the elbow This can be prevented by ensuring correct arm, wrist and hand postures mentioned earlier, such as keeping your forearm and wrist parallel to the body of the guitar on your … Guitar wrist pain is a serious issue – learn the dos and don’ts from a movement specialist before looking for a cure. Over time minor inconveniences may turn to neck pain, shoulder pain and injuries, back pain, a nerd neck, scoliosis or even a hump. Like banging into my chest almost. Hi Alan. My tip for you is to hold a guitar the way classical guitar players do. What you should do instead: warm up with movement, doing wrist circles while making a fist and then with straightened fingers, or basically any form of movement that moves the fingers, wrist, elbow and even the shoulder through their full range of motion. But if you want a professional and effective solution to guitar wrist pain and most other playing-related injuries, then look no further. Posture. This site uses cookies to personalize your experience and track behavior. This is a small lesson on how to get rid of your fretting's hand wrist pain if you have any, hope it works for you. times, played for Guns N’ Roses in the period of 2000-2004, released over 300 solo albums and is admitted to be a master of guitar by such rock and metal icons as Slash, Dave Mustaine, Ozzy Ozbourne and many more. Build resilience and strength the proper way to resist the negative effects of guitar playing outlined in the previous section. On the contrary… They restrict movement and thus decrease blood flow and lymph circulation, slowing down regeneration. We just need to back off a bit so that our body has a chance to regenerate (to make that happen you will need to do something, so read on). Most of the time a full stop is recommended for at least 1-2 weeks until the pain goes away. That said, the bridge on Strat style guitars is more rearward than a LP! Today we are taking a look at common problems many guitarists have and how you can prevent your body from serious injuries in a long run. And let’s not forget about tendons: they connect muscles to bones. Pain is a signal that something is not as it should be. Another professional musician who suffered from bad posture is Buckethead. 5. Instead I’d recommend you to see a physician or an experienced guitarist that you know and trust – who would be able to take a closer look and give you very specific recommendations on what you should and should not do to avoid pain. The problem of maintaining proper posture when playing guitar is especially important for children and beginners (or both). is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by advertising and linking to The closer your finger is to the fret, the less pressure will be required. Increased circulation brings faster regeneration, which is critical for the healing process! On longer days I will do some pro-active icing though and use shorter practice sessions once past the 3 … Having to work your wrist and fingers a great deal around a guitar neck can increase the onset of Carpal Tunnel. The reason for this is that static stretching – when you simply hold a stretch for 15-30 seconds or longer – actually turns off muscles, decreasing their performance. While being one of the fastest and the most inspiring guitar players EVER, Buckethead doesn’t have a single social media account. I just started playing and i am getting pain in my hand and left wrist trying to get my fingers in the proper position for guitar. My Experience With Wrist Pain and Tendinitis. Good luck. After unusually excessive use of my pinky especially, my wrist is slowing me down. While it can affect both fretting and picking/strumming hands, most often it becomes a serious issue for the fretting hand. I'm trying to play faster, so I've been using a metronome to run through chromatic exercises, scale shapes, etc. 2. Rest. Many people who enjoy playing guitar may experience pain or discomfort in the hands, wrist (and even back and shoulders) at some point. (let me know if you are also a fan of Buckethead and wish him well). Wrist stretches before playing guitar. If anything, you should do the opposite, strenghtening the extensor muscles on the “outside” of the forearm. Might be from going from 9-42 to 9-46 gauge strings. Guitar playing overloads these muscles, called the “flexors” of the forearm because playing is mostly just finger curling with wrist bending. First of all, we have to understand how playing the guitar causes wrist pain. 3. Playing guitar should be an enjoyable, minimally stressful activity, however, strain from overuse and awkward positioning can cause a number of issues in the hands and wrist.. While it can affect both fretting and picking/strumming hands, most often it becomes a serious issue for the fretting hand. Just being aware of this problem made me pay attention to how I position my wrist when playing and this is what you should do as well. “That said, I also want to give credit where credit’s due – the guitar players that played on Chinese Democracy, Buckethead being one of the main ones – are fucking amazing guitar players. But I don t think it s carpal tunnel syndrome because my hand isn t feeling any pain. Specifically, it was a pain across the back of the wrist that got worse when I would bend my wrist inwards (as though trying to touch the inside of … If you are experiencing prolonged pain from playing guitar … Increase mobility, coordination and movement quality by doing exercises that move your joints in their full range of motion, and challenge your brain. A great majority of guitarists are slouching while playing guitar and that doing that for prolonged periods of time impacts our posture. 1. It certainly is fun and offers a lot of awesome benefits. • Make sure that you are playing the guitar with a straight wrist. Understanding guitar wrist pain. Tendons allow your fingers to move fluidly over the fretboard on your guitar. Not only my wrist feels totally comfortable this way, but also I have a stronger grip and can keep my hand in such a position for much longer without feeling tiredness. Again, I am not an expert of any kind, I can only recommend what works for me and what I learn from professional guitarists that I know personally or through the internet. He had to do workout exercises until he finally felt better. But the problem is that exercising the wrist in this way only works the muscles that are already too tense: the inner forearm muscles. And in guitar, working through pain can lead to much more severe problems very quickly. But when you look at someone playing guitar from a side or behind – you will clearly notice that often times he or she will be slouching and tilting forward. He is bringing his forearm downwards, which makes him arch his wrist in order reach the notes. Cheers Alan. Biggest Cause Of Wrist Pain. 2. On the flip side, splints and braces are perfect for relearning to play without excessive wrist bending. The guitarstrength course is the best self-care method available to guitarists. This step is the most important and in some cases, it might be enough on its own. It’s hands-down the best investment for any musician, so check it out here: Sign up to enroll in the 8-part Intro Class for free! Symptoms may include a dull ache, tenderness, or mild … Because if you developed wrist pain playing guitar, there’s a chance your wrist is bent too much when you play. Either way is not good and can potentially cause health issues in a long term. Hi Tom, I’m glad that my article if not helped – at least brought your attention to the topic of body form while playing the guitar. We get used to the way guitarists look from the front. It is characterized by a burning pain, sometimes only when the affected part is moved in a certain way, or in more severe cases, continuous. So how do you prevent guitar posture problems? I changed to it many years ago so that I could comfortably reach the three notes per string type runs. It contains a well thought out system of techniques and exercises, along with countless tips about how to increase your playing performance. The pain should be an ache, not shooting. Probably the latter. Let me know if you find a solution to your thumb pain. No spam, only useful info. Just in case you don’t know about him – he is top 10 fastest guitarist of ALL (!) Except for serious acute cases (like active tendonitis with swelling, or anything that causes strong, sharp pain), there’s no need to completely put down the guitar. These are recommended all the time to wear at night or even during the day to “compress and support the area and to minimize movement”. Guitar Tendonitis Playing Without Guitar Wrist Pain. This forms scar tissue over time, which is more pain sensitive and more inflexible, than regular tissue. Playing-related injuries appear to be just as “infectious” as COVID-19… Almost everyone gets them sooner or later. No need for a complete stop unless your symptoms are severe. Given that the chief cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is excess pressure on the wrist, it’s no surprise that guitarists are particularly at risk of getting it. I will pay attention to body form! 4. more ergonomic. guitar wrist pain. Fingering difficult chords became much easier and my wrist pain went away over a period of a couple of weeks. Musicians often first experience tendonitis as a sharp pain located in one spot in the wrist, elbow, or base of the thumb. Besides obviously causing pain and cramps in your hand, this position offers very little strength for your grab, making it very hard to play barre or any other chords properly. And Alan, the picture of your avatar, with your LP resting on your right leg… my left hand feels squished playing like that! This is especially common among beginner guitarists since at this stage they haven’t yet found comfortable positions for holding the guitar and … Yes I am. Many people find that by choosing a guitar with a ‘fatter’ neck it alleviates a lot of the discomfort. First of all, we have to understand how playing the guitar causes wrist pain. I for sure know what you mean when you talk about left hand and wrist pain. 1. And you will be wondering about whether you won 2 weeks, or lost 2 weeks. Straight wrist. In truth, pain is unnecessary. Anyone who studied anatomy, physiology or physical therapy knows that static stretching before exercise (read: playing guitar) rarely makes sense. A year ago I had surgery for a trigger finger. . Sometimes even professional guitarists suffer from bad posture caused by spending too much time of their life holding a heavy electric guitar. Guitar Neck Profile. Strengthening damaged muscles and tendons is a key element in your recovery. You can play for hours and you would be fine. And hello: it hurts. Have you had any of the health problems mentioned in this article? To help you remember these tips, download this free Guitar Playing Injury Prevention Checklist (you don’t have to enter an email address). In one of his interviews Paul Gilbert admitted that his tilted posture is caused by a heavy electric guitar (I promise to link to the interview once I find it). This is especially common among beginner guitarists since at this stage they haven’t yet found comfortable positions for holding the guitar and positioning their body. So here are some tips on preventing finger pain on guitar, and changes you can make should you encounter any discomfort. I find your picture of the Classical pose to be the most comfortable with electric guitars. Still using a strap, the back of the guitar rests on your right inner thigh. Also get it from change back and forth from chords to scale runs and back again. And now that we know the basics, let’s see the action plan. Besides, this hand position allows you to play guitar much faster. This type of workload strains the muscles, tendons, joints, and fascia in one exact way over and over, and in time these tissues will begin to adapt to it. The result is even more instability and weakness that leads to even more problems in the long-term. The logic here is as simple as “wrist hurts when playing guitar? That is how guitar tendonitis is made. What is guitarstrength exactly? Of course, there is more to it, but this approach (that is, by the way, the guitarstrength approach) will provide superior gains compared to the general recommendations you can find elsewhere on the internet. I help musicians get rid of playing-related injuries like wrist pain, tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome since 2017 with my 7 years of experience in the field of movement and health. You will recover from RSI from guitar play, however, another benefit is … some hand and wrist pain. (These kinds of injuries are actually notorious among stringed instrument players – including both professional and amateur / hobbyist … Sharp nerve twinges/pain up the fret hand thumb during Dorian fingerings also through playing runs and rhythm around and on the low E and A strings. While fretting notes on the guitar, your fretting wrist should only bend moderately as you curve your fingers to reach for strings. Wrist pain is a very common problem among guitar players. Exercises helped his back problems and (according to the interview) now he feels much better and doesn’t hunch forward as much as he would in the past. This one might be because of too high action on the guitar or simply bad playing habits, but this is 100% true. I used to get that a lot when I was learning to play. The no-pain posture guide to playing guitar. This is another useless recommendation made by many guitarists. This step should come only when you are 95% free from pain, but it’s no less important, as it will “conserve” the progress you made and will make you pain-free for years. Raise the height of your guitar to reduce bending, if necessary. Those tight muscles are most likely the cause of your pain, so they need to be released. What I do notice is that I tend to grip quite a bit with the thumb and my thumb does tend to move from side to side as I go up and down the strings -which is when the pain comes. In this student spotlight video, I will try to help Kyle figure out why he has cramping and pain in his fret-hand and wrist when playing 3 note power chord shapes. Joined: 09/15/20. I have been playing the guitar for over 9 years and I have never had a problem with wrist pain mainly because I was warned about this issue just when I started. slouching while playing guitar and that doing that for prolonged periods of time impacts our posture. The main symptoms include pain on the outside edge of the elbow, pain when gripping especially while extending the hand at the wrist. For more info check our Affiliate Disclosure page. If you have a great guitar teacher, making sure your technique is correct. This is a long story, but in a nutshell, the “root of all evil” is the repetitive, monotonous load inherent in guitar playing (and most other instruments). 3. Body pain in general from repetitive stress -- in my field, primarily from typing and mousing -- presages impending injury, but in the case of carpal tunnel, the pain shows up after the injury. And the fact that let’s say, a few stretches are beneficial for one person, does not mean that they are beneficial to everyone else. Ice. His website looks like it’s from 1998 ( Here is my way of positioning the fretting hand: Pay attention to how my wrist extends my arm in a straight line instead of being bent to the right. I think so too – the problem seems to be the times when you are shaping your fretting hand in a certain way – either moving up and down the scale or shifting chord/scale positions. Full Access. I m worried that this might lead to another trouble. Most of this pain and discomfort can be avoided and prevented relatively quickly. This imbalance changes the way muscles pull on the bones. Wrist pain is a very common problem among guitar players. Braces restrict wrist motion, forcing you to play with a straight wrist (this is not always feasible, though!). Guitarists – or musicians in general – rarely think about their health, and that’s a problem. If you have Guitar Tendonitis then you know the ache, pain, and fatigue that comes from playing with hand, wrist, and forearm pain. Guitar Tendonitis may occur if you play a guitar professionally or strictly for leisure purposes. Slouching, hunching over the guitar puts extreme stress on the spine, back and neck muscles overwork, nerves can become compressed which may lead to problems locally, or down the arm in the wrist or hand area. Another excellent point, I teach this all the time. Sore finger joints and carpal tunnel by: Suffering I have been suffering with the above problems for over three months, prior I had flare ups. By clicking "Got it", you consent to the use of cookies. Some will pull too hard, some will pull too little, which will change the way bones move relative to each other, creating joint issues. However, in 2017 he actually gave a real interview, which was a talk with his therapist, where he admitted that he suffered from bad posture and back problems for a long time. . The latter is especially important since a smarter brain controls the muscles better, which leads to safer and more efficient movement not only in guitar playing but in everything else, too. During this beginner stage, if you are at home practising on your own and suffering from wrist pain.
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