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El Salto

Tendonitis in the fretting hand

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Hi there,

Been playing now for two years, practicing daily usually around an hour at a time.

I`ve noticed of late that I am experiencing what I can only describe as "tendonitis" in my fretting hand

Its sometimes irritating, though not downright painful, and recently its affecting my ability to even fret some simple chords like "D"

for instance.

My hand seems to be tensing up and I am having problems with finger mobility.

The problem seems to be between my 2nd and 3rd fingers

I was wondering if this was common, and how I could rectify it.

Thanks in advance for any input.

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I would say it's not uncommon, My suggestions..

Do something now don't let it get chronic.

Cut back on time spent playing for a couple of weeks. Examine your playing position to ensure left arm and hand are as relaxed as possible, no tension anywhere, concentrate on using the lightest amount of pressure to fret chord, don't hold one chord for a long time, try to refrain as much as possible from using thumb to fret bass note. Hopefully you should notice an improvement.

Good luck with it

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Thanks for the input

I am tending to lean towards a period of rest. Is it possible to over use the fretting hand when continually playing the same chord progressions while practicing tunes ?

My tutor describes it as "red light fever", and maybe my problem comes from tensing the fretting hand or rushing into a chord change.

Its really pissing me off now, and it definitely wasn't an issue before.

If rest doesn't work, I guess I`ll have to seek medical advice, to see if it really is "Tendonitis"

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El Salto, do not try to 'play through' this problem I did that on the 'advice' of my guitar teacher at the time - it mostly affected my thumb from doing lots of barre chords for several hours a day. My thumb became stiff and was painful whenever I tried to grip anything. I was unable to bend it even when I tried to force it down with my other hand. It also affected the tendons in the palm of my hand so I ended up not being able to grip strongly enough to hold a coffee cup.

I stopped playing guitar completely for 3 years, because by then I had to. But even after 3 years I was getting sharp pains in my hand whenever I tried to play most chords. I finally decided to switch to playing left handed - starting over, right from the beginning, which was a very interesting experience, and great brain training.

I learned in passing that you can switch most guitars from right stinging to left, especially when starting out again (switch the bridge around as well). In the end I bought a new set of left handed guitars which wasn't ideal for the hip pocket - all were ebay specials but still good.

So, whatever else you do, do not try to 'play through' any hand discomfort. Do not be tempted into doing that, that's a really bad idea.

After about 6 years from the start, I don't have any symptoms in my left hand, and might be able to go back to right handed, but I haven't tested that out, and am sticking to being a lefty for now.

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I have been off forum for a while and this is just an update



The problem, while not having gone away completely, is still there, but I have tried to rest it as much as possible



Seems to be better, but just when I think all is ok, I do something innocuous with my hand, like wash dishes or even putting on a sock



And there it is again, its a real pisser



I don't think I could learn left handed (Carol), nor could I not play for six weeks (Dutchman) but many thanks for the advice.



Have to persevere with caution.


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I found that taking cod liver oil (about a tablespoonful daily) and glucosamine supplement tablets works for me as a maintenance. Rest is also needed during painful periods - which I don't get any more.

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What does your hand position look like? I start feeling pain when I hold the guitar low when standing.

When seated, I have my hand in a "classical guitar position" where my thumb is behind the neck and it looks like I'm holding up a golf ball on my fingertips. In this position, I feel no pain unless I've been at it for hours.

Lighter strings and low action help as well.

Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk

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JanVigne, on 14 Jun 2016 - 12:10 PM, said:

ES, does your finger ever "catch" when you are playing or working with your hands; http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00024

Cant say it does Jan

I have tried playing less regularly and resting for periods of time

But the tendon strain is still there though not as prevailant

It reoccurred recently when trying to play some barred jazz chords

Guess it will go away in time

In reply to lorsban, I rarely play standing up and almost always play while seated

I have recently adjusted the action of the guitar and tried a different guage string set up

Just have to hope for the best, still enjoying playing immensely

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Hi everyone, been a stranger of late

Jan, sorry to hear of your continual issues with your pain, and subsequent problems trying to play.

My tendon issues had disappeared as quickly as they appeared, with no warning, and no hint as to why I was even experiencing difficulty

Then after a period of time, they have returned.

I am beginning to think it may be related to joint pain that I suffer from in my knees, pelvis etc

My wrist seems to be playing up in conjunction with the tendon problem

I think I may relent and go and see a doctor

The massage thing may help, and I will start to give it a try

I`m still playing regularly and still enjoying it, but the twinges and tenderness off the tendon is a real pain in the ass

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Certainly not good where pain in your hands prevents playing. I do hope you get better.

I've had a similar issue recently but it was my own fault I feel. Have been on my knees sanding a deck for a number of days - it's a big deck - and using my left (fretting) hand as support. Now I have lost some feeling in my both ring and little fingers plus a degree of soreness in the wrist. I'm guessing it's a form of nerve compression. I suppose for me, rest will be the only answer but it is very frustrating indeed.

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Hello troops, long time inactive on here

 

My woes continue

Just when Ive almost forgotten about the tendonitis, now I have real issues with pain in my thumb

Seemed to start occurring recently and has now been aggravated by my use of a 12 string acoustic of late

Its a real bummer, and my doctor seems to think that its early stage arthritis

The painkillers are just crap and I`m confined to rest again

So frustrating, just as I`ve managed to find some like minded intermediate learners to jam with, this occurs

Just have to hope I can get over it.

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On 2018-01-08 at 8:35 PM, El Salto said:

 

The painkillers are just crap....

 

I wonder, if the doctors got a cut of the sales would they be more apt to match patients up with the ideal product?

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Thanks Jan, I do appreciate the input

 

Trying to play in an open tuning method would present a challenge for me, almost like learning all over again

 

I`m just frustrated, tomorrow I have a planned Jam with likeminded players at our local rehearsal space

 

I absolutely live for these nights because they indulge me and help me to play my own songs

 

But when I`m incapacitated like this it just gets me down, I`m sorry if I seemed dismissive.

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Hope it all goes well, El Salto.

 

I did the nerve compression thing while using power tools and it wasn't funny for a while but fortunately for me it turned out not to be permanent damage.

 

Best of luck to you.

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After a three hour jam on Friday past, my thumb was in agony

Bizarrely, it seems better now, still uncomfortable, but better

Weird

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"My wrist seems to be playing up in conjunction with the tendon problem."

 

Amazing you pinged me cause I just happened to look at the forum.

 

Like you, my tendonitis issues come & go, and, like you, I also sometimes have wrist pain which seems to be a totally different issue.  The former thing is aching in the entire top of my forearm which translates into stiffness and numbness in the fingers.

 

Things I have been doing:

 

- Playing only 15-20 minutes at a time, 1-2 sessions day.

- Icing after playing, with a 5-gal bucket.  

- Seeing an OT.  She has me doing various forearm and hand stretches and also shoulder/back exercises.  She thinks the root cause is in my shoulders/neck.

- Seeing a chiro.  I am not sure of any real benefits there.

- Using DMSO.  Just started today, actually.  It's cheap and according to many can make a big difference.

- Using dictation instead of typing to a large degree at work.  At home, though - such as now - I type.  Typing never caused tendonitis for me, but when I have it, it makes it worse.

 

Let's keep each other posted on our methods & progress.  I started playing less than six months ago, and this issue started after less than three months.  I have not made much progress since then because of it.

 

 

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Ive kinda just accepted the pain that goes with playing now

 

It seems to have settled full time on my thumb, comes and goes, but mostly its always there

 

Its a pain in the ass, I think maybe I started playing and picked up bad habits that are hard to shake

 

The way I fret a chord, posture etc, I just try and get on with it now.

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You can do some hand stretches. I had some pain that was a precursor to tendonitis, so I was told. After doing hand stretches before I play more intensive sessions, it has helped massively, in that I don't feel that pain anymore. That and measuring how much I play and how long for, and how difficult/ demanding the material I'm practising is, and how much I've done recently.

 

Basiclally, pace yourself when practising a lot. 

 

 

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That's a very good video for stretching exercises

 

Ive tried it a couple of times, it was absolute agony on the thumb of my fretting hand, where I experience constant discomfort

 

Perseverance

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