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drabbag

Still having joint pain in Index Finger...grrrr

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Well Ive been playing for about 3 months maybe 4 now. When I started I was practicing very much 3-4 hours a days sometimes even more when I could. After a while I started to notice every morning that my fret hand index finger joint would be sore and didnt want to bend all the way down like my opposite hand.

Im only 25 yrs old so didnt think it could be anything health related. I definitely think its just from over use and my general doctor agreed. So I took a week off last week with the exception of a couple minutes messing around. And the pain went away but the stiffness was still there to an extent. I started thinking I might be fretting too hard? WHo knows but its mainly just the index finger.

Any suggestions?> At this point I feel i need to quit until my finger resumes to normal, then start slowly. Sorry for the long rant. I want to be able to play a LOT but cant.

And the pain isnt horrible just annoying. Im more upset about the actual stiffness of the joint and lack of flexibility.

CHris

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Chris, My experience has been that over use of the finger's joint/muscle can cause inflamation, with the accompanying stiffness. Giving it a rest for awhile has been my remedy. Actually, it seems to me that the fretting index (pointing) finger is flexed much more often and over greater distance spans during guitar play. Poor thing gets overworked. :(

Gene

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Yeah it definitely gets more work and flex than the others on the fret hand. I have a hard time not playing though, lol. I had to take both of my guitars and put them at friends houses so that I wouldnt play. Guess I'll just take some more time off. Would it help to start using a hand excersizer? I saw a few that allow you to bend each finger individually to build strength. I dont think that is a good idea though until my hand begins to act normal again

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I'm not certain but my impression is that it's the repetitiveness of use that causes problems rather than lack of strength. Also I believe that we all press down on the strings with much more force than necessary early in the process of learning to play any stringed instrument. It's overkill until we get all the finger positions figured out. Then we start to relax the pressure some.

Gene

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and after u stop trying to push so hard on the strings, its much easier to change cords, i was doing the same thing and had a hard time changing from one cord to another, im still prob pushing a little to hard, but im able to change cords much better now

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Sorry to hear of your problem, drabbag. Not being able to play is a terrible thing!

The index finger is also the barring finger ... do you play a lot of barre chords?

Whenever my hand tightens up and starts to hurt, which happens often, I really consciously relax everything ... but that's probably more muscle related. I had an awful thumb joint problem for a while, years ago, which I brought on myself by curling it over the fretboard to grab bass notes. I had to stop doing that to cure it.

Why not do a bit of slide practicing when your finger hurts?

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I also get this finger pain in the forefinger joint.

I wasn't sure about finger weights either. But since I started getting knee and back joint pains and my physio reccommended using muscle strengthening exercises to protect the joints, I am now of the opinion that strengthening muscles around joints does indeed protect them.

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It depends a bit on the cause of the pain/stiffness in your finger. If it's been caused by over-use (probably not a joint problem initially), using it with weights as well might not be a good idea. Doing whatever seems to help, and not doing what makes it worse is a pretty safe way to go.

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Resting it will help, but only as long as you're resting it. As soon as you go back to doing what you were doing it will hurt again, unless you examine what is causing the problem and rectify it. I'm no expert (in fact I'm very much a beginner), but having begun to get thumb joint pain I realised tension was a problem in my whole body and this was most likely the result of poor technique, and trying to get my fingers to do things they had not been fully prepared for. So, back to basics and focussing on exercises to get my fingers into shape before attempting any more chords has been my plan....and without tension. It's amazing how much tension we build up and we're not aware of it until we focus on what our body is doing when we play. I have noticed my hands are better and my fingers are gradually able to stretch more than before, albeit slight, but at least it's in the right direction. There are exercises on the guitar you can do that don't involve weights, and they will build muscle strength and stretch in your fingers. I hope you get your problem sorted - it's no fun trying to play in pain.

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