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The gift of pain   You are logged in as Guest
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ToddK

 

Posts: 2961
Joined: Dec. 6 2004
 

The gift of pain 

So this year for Christmas, i got pretty major right hand issues.

Soreness and pain throughout forarm, wrist, and knuckles.
Occasionally, a strange feeling of weakness in my whole arm.
The scariest thing i felt was my third finger cramping at the base knuckle.

So as of today, my hand and wrist are in a brace. No playing, no nothing
for at least one month, along with some anti-inflammatory meds..
I'll let you know what happens.

What i need from you guys, is to tell me i'll be able to play again, and not
to jump off a tall building just yet. I am so depressed, its like a nightmare
that i cant wake up from.

Thanks for any words of wisdom and encouragement.
TK

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 25 2011 19:36:46
 
Grisha

 

Posts: 1263
Joined: Mar. 17 2005
 

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

Hang in there, Todd! Do not stress your arm and hand, let it rest. I have injuries similar to this quite often, just not as severe. I am just coming back from one, where my finger knuckles were hurting all the time, I had a constant forearm pain, feeling of muscle fatigue just starting to play in the morning, and tingling and numbness in the fingers. Usually it's from overplaying, spending too much time on one technique, or just playing too hard of a repertoire. One month from now or sooner you will know what's going on with your hand, so for now just let it rest.

What led up to it in your case?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 25 2011 19:55:55
 
orsonw

Posts: 1929
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

Good luck Todd. I will share my experience if only for solidarity.

I have had issues with my right hand- tendonosis 8 years ago and focal dystonia 18 months ago.
The tendonosis took several months to go and now I only very, very rarely feel it. Occasionally after too many shows with dancers and bad sound and me not relaxed and playing too hard I'm reminded by a mild discomfort. However a few days of treatment and it goes completely. Really the tendonosis is no longer a problem.
The focal dystonia I am gradually recovering from, it's taken a year so far but is improving. I am still playing, performing and enjoying guitar and I feel confident I can completely recover as others have done before.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 25 2011 20:01:20
 
changue

 

Posts: 187
Joined: Aug. 31 2010
From: London

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

Very sorry to hear about your injury. Around 2000 I had terrible problems - mainly caused by bad posture at the PC, stress and bad practice habits. I tried a load of therapeutic approaches but thte best help came from yoga.

The worst mistake I made was not to rest the injury properly. I kept thinking, 'hmm... maybe it's better now...'. It wasn't. If I had rested properly I'm sure I would have got better sooner. I still have to watch out for, in effect, practicing the injury back in to place, but my awareness has, through neccessity, been transformed.

The good news is that I'm now - at the age of 48 - playing better than ever and, more importantly, getting more satisfaction from the guitar than I ever did. Every aspect of my techniques is in better shape.

Don't panic. Don't zoom straight back to the guitar and start shredding 'just to see if you still can'. Rest. Try and work out how it got to this point (bearing in mind that 'you do what you do and you get what you get'). Did I mention rest?

Getting an injury of this kind is a real drag I'm sure everybody on here will be wishing you a speedy recovery.

Very best of luck

Changue
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 25 2011 20:01:50

ToddK

 

Posts: 2961
Joined: Dec. 6 2004
 

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to Grisha

quote:

What led up to it in your case?


Hi Grisha,
Im not quite sure really. I have not had much time to practice lately actually,
so when i do have the time, i suppose i may have tended to go pretty hard
since i have less time.

I wouldnt say its too severe at this point. Im just hyper sensative to it i think, cause ive never had a hint of any pain before. So it really scares the crap out of me.
Thanks for your words! Makes me feel better to see guys like you have
worked through it, and are playing to full potential.

Thanks so much G! Seriously..
TK

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 25 2011 20:23:02
 
KMMI77

Posts: 1821
Joined: Jul. 26 2009
From: The land down under

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to Grisha

quote:

and tingling and numbness in the fingers.


Grisha, I have noticed a connection between lifting weights and tingling and numbness in my left hand and fingers.

Whenever i am feeling a bit out of shape, I try to spend a month or so doing some light weights and exercise to gradually build up strength again. This has always worked well for me in the past.

But The last three times I have started daily exercise, within 2 weeks i develop numbness in the left hand. If i just practice guitar I have no trouble. But as soon as i combine the weights the numbness occurs.

I don't understand why this occurs? Unless increased blood flow and increased muscle size causes something to press against something else. I don't get it?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 25 2011 21:59:40
 
Florian

Posts: 9282
Joined: Jul. 14 2003
From: Adelaide/Australia

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to orsonw

I am sorry for your troubles ...i dont have much experience with this...my left palm used to hurt when i would perform and get excited and grip too hard ...after a month of taking it easy and checking myself and reminding myself to check how hard i am griping during playing... it went away..

I am sure you will be ok too after a little while of rest... try to figure out how u got here and be aware of it, to try and avoid it in the future

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 25 2011 22:15:22
 
Tomrocker

Posts: 404
Joined: Apr. 18 2010
From: Italy

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

Toddk.. take your time, relax, practice with listening and watching shows then when you come back to your guitar, your hands then will know what to do. You are a marvelous player amigo so don't feel down. Take care of your hand and let us know you are cool.

Wael

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 25 2011 22:29:57
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2970
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

Hi Todd. I have had a lot of this in the past but it no longer worries me so there is a strong chance of full recovery.

When I first had trouble I went trough periods of rest but that was not such a great idea. Treat it a sports injury, better to get into a habit of graduated warm up and consistency rather than letting the muscles weaken through too much rest and then put all the strain on the other soft tissues when you start back. You will start back too quickly it is almost impossible not to.

Just warm up slowly avoid anything which will mask sensitivity to pain. Pay more attention to your whole body and in particular your neck and head. Play in front of a mirror and observe your whole body posture.

And don't worry about it too much. Sometimes when we worry we avoid listening to our bodies, we fear the pain. Not because the pain is so bad but because music is so important to us that we fear what the pain might mean. This might sound super weird but try and really listen to the pain. It is trying to tell you something about the way you are misusing your body and when you work out what that is then your music making will flow more easily and the pain will fade.

You will be fine,

All the best
D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 25 2011 22:50:32
 
rombsix

Posts: 7778
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

quote:

So as of today, my hand and wrist are in a brace. No playing, no nothing
for at least one month, along with some anti-inflammatory meds..


Did you see someone for this problem, or are you self-medicating?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 25 2011 23:00:41
 
Sean

Posts: 672
Joined: Jan. 20 2011
From: Canada

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

A lot of times hand problems are really shoulder problems, you just feel all the discomfort in the hand, this can be brought on by postural imbalance issues, playing posture, working long hours at a desk, studying a lot, or typically with men working to much on their pecs at the gym(tight pec minor for all the above). You need a good physio or athletic therapist to figure out if it is the hand or the shoulder and educate you on your habits so this problem won't keep popping up. Chronic tendinitis is not something anyone wants so get it diagnosed properly and taken care of, self diagnosis is a bad idea.
Good luck

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 26 2011 0:20:20
 
aloysius

Posts: 233
Joined: Apr. 7 2005
From: Adelaide, Australia

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

Sorry to hear that Todd - I'd also recommend yoga, even though a lot of it won't seem relevant at first, the way the body is so interconnected it all helps. My wife teaches yoga now as well as flamenco dancing, and it's helped her a lot with typical flamenco dancer problems, for me it's loosened up parts of my technique that were too constricted.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 26 2011 0:22:28
 
Rmn

Posts: 308
Joined: May 14 2011
 

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

Hi Todd,

I had exactly this problem two years ago and I slowly recovered from it, but I recovered good.
The cause of it was bumping my elbow. There is a nerve running there that goes very superficial. Don't know, maybe you bumped your elbow (when you were drunk or anything)?
Anyway, I recovered just fine.

But seriously guys, mind your elbows.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 26 2011 0:51:41
 
Pgh_flamenco

 

Posts: 1506
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

You played with your usual intensity, but without the usual amount of daily preparation. People have offered a lot of great insights and ideas in this thread. Give it a month and if it doesn't clear up or happens again consultation with a health care professional might be a good idea. Instead of meds try hot or cold packs for the pain. Walmart has pads for a reasonable price. I hate to say it but some types of injuries are associated with the aging process.

Have you contacted John? IIRC he had some issues with pain this year.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 26 2011 2:43:37
 
hamia

 

Posts: 402
Joined: Jun. 25 2004
 

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to Rmn

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rmn

Hi Todd,

I had exactly this problem two years ago and I slowly recovered from it, but I recovered good.
The cause of it was bumping my elbow. There is a nerve running there that goes very superficial. Don't know, maybe you bumped your elbow (when you were drunk or anything)?
Anyway, I recovered just fine.

But seriously guys, mind your elbows.



Resting your elbow on something for long periods can also cause problems. I used to rest my left elbow on an adjacent desk using my computer and it caused tingling and numbness in my left hand.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 26 2011 6:02:23
 
machopicasso

 

Posts: 970
Joined: Nov. 27 2010
 

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

Man, Todd, I'm really sorry to hear that. I'm assuming your hand and wrist are in a brace because you got it checked-out by a qualified professional.

And if you did that, then it sounds like you've taken the first step to getting it back in shape so that you can play again. There are no guarantees, but it sounds like others here have dealt with similar issues and have recovered; so I'd bet money you'll recover, as well.

In the meantime, I suspect guitar isn't the only form of music you love. Maybe this is a good time to engage some of your non-guitar musical interests. And what you learn from those you can bring back to guitar once you start playing again.

Hang in there.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 26 2011 7:47:58
 
Pimientito

Posts: 2481
Joined: Jul. 30 2007
From: Marbella

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

Wow...it seems from this thread that everyone has had hand/wrist/ arm problem at some time or another from playing. I'm just getting over a right shoulder problem from over playing and that was helped by a combination of rest, physiotherapy, steroid injections and acupuncture.
I'd also agree with Aloysius that yoga could be helpful. Im going to start swimming a bit more. Stretching and exercise (not weights) are good preventative measures.

Todd- it will get better but sometimes rest on its own is not enough. You really got to tackle the issue with things like ultrasound, physical therapy, acupuncture etc. as well. Rest and anti-inflamamtories will tend to make it feel better when you are not playing but the problem could come back again quite quickly once you start again. It should be treated as well like Errol suggested.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 26 2011 9:57:41
 
XXX

Posts: 4400
Joined: Apr. 14 2005
 

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

The guitar took another one of us. (im laghing about myself because i cannot decide whether to put a happy or sad smiley after that comment. i think ill just leave it as that)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 26 2011 11:43:07
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 26 2011 13:11:23
 
terry70

 

Posts: 26
Joined: Mar. 28 2005
 

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

ToddK,
Don't worry too much about it....Bodies/cells/tissues know how to heal, they do that automatically. - worry and stress keeps us from healing. Books by Dr. John Sarno MD have saved my playing and completely revolutionized the way I think about repetitive stress injuries and all physical illness. Be open to his ideas. they really saved my playing quickly after months of distress.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 26 2011 13:41:24
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3782
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

Hi Todd,

I´m sorry to hear that, and hope that you´ll recover soon.

Provided the problem being primarily one of overstrain ( not originally inflammatory), as has been mentioned above, don´t let your arm rest for too long ( ~ 2 weeks ).

Yoga, as suggested above is always a good thing to do.
If you want to tackle on the spot specific issues typical for shoulder / arm / wrist / hand, you might want to take a look at exercises I recommended not so long ago here on the forum.

They have been of great help ( cure and prohylaxis) to people of whome some had already appointments for surgery.

All the best!

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 26 2011 20:19:09

ToddK

 

Posts: 2961
Joined: Dec. 6 2004
 

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

Thanks all! I learned alot from this thread!

The brace is self prescribed, and im just taking otc Motrin.

I will be seeing an orthopedist this week. Hopefully i'll be back in the saddle
very soon.
I will do whatever i have to, to get back to full potential.

Thanks so much for the great posts! I'm feeling better just from reading.
TK

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 26 2011 21:24:44
 
rombsix

Posts: 7778
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

quote:

I will be seeing an orthopedist this week.




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Ramzi

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 27 2011 2:21:46
 
mrMagenta

Posts: 942
Joined: Oct. 25 2006
From: Sweden

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

I'm suffering from tendonitis in the left wrist. I'm slowly going through different therapies to find what works for me. Your right hand problem is probably quite different from what I'm suffering from, but you might want to look into anti-inflammatory foods.

Since I started using tumeric in my food my left wrist has felt better. It could be pure coincidence, but I'm quite sure it doesn't hurt me. It has had the positive side effect of improving my digestion.

Tumeric, Ginger, Cinnamon, Pineapple, Papaya.. I like these even without their 'health food' factor. How much effect you get out of adding them to your diet is probably very individual. Still.. I prefer this route over NSAIDs, which cause havoc to my stomache.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 27 2011 20:46:58
 
Mark2

Posts: 1855
Joined: Jul. 12 2004
From: San Francisco

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

When I was playing a lot for dance, I developed some pretty bad left hand pain(I play left handed)
I took a couple weeks off and had an acupuncture treatment. Kinda freaky having all those needles stuck in me. It worked.
Best of luck to you Toddk.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 27 2011 22:43:23
 
davidheis_24

 

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 28 2011 0:01:54
 
felipe

 

Posts: 39
Joined: Jul. 1 2010
From: Poland

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

I also had this kind of problem, but it was mainly my spines' problem (shift of cervical vertebrae due to bad playing position), but it affected my hands - I also felt numbness in my e and a fingers, pain in both hands from elbows to fingers. I didn't play for about six months at all. The problem disappeared completly after about 5 years.

But for sure you will recover. Go to orthopedist. As I remember, the most helpful thing was physical work.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 28 2011 7:27:13
 
Turner

 

Posts: 81
Joined: Nov. 5 2011
 

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

Hopefully you'll find that you've strained something and a bit of rest and a few meds will put it right.
Maybe just a warning not to go at it too hard too often.
Let us know how you get on and best of luck.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 28 2011 16:43:53
 
John O.

Posts: 1723
Joined: Dec. 16 2005
From: Seeheim-Jugenheim, Germany

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to Turner

Best of luck to you, Todd. Do take anything like this seriously. Reacting quickly will increase your chances of getting through it quickly by a lot.

I've had chronic epicondylitis in both arms with additional chronic inflammation in the shoulders for about 9 months now. The combination of weight training for my bad back and the playing was too much for my weaker, very flexible joints. For the past 9 months I've done nothing but what is absolutely necessary to play gigs. Just now I'm on another 4 week break from playing and starting a shock wave therapy. It's getting better, very, very slowly.

My body isn't ready for physical therapy yet, it just causes bouts of pain that can last for weeks. I did take lessons in Alexander technique though, which helped me learn to play much more precisely with much less strain, I've since then changed the way I practice and my playing has actually improved in some aspects although I hardly practice anymore on a daily basis:
Here's a link for anyone interested

In some cases you should do strengthening exercizes, in others you should let your body rest and not do anything, so let the doc check everything out and tell you what to do. In any case once it turns chronic it's a major bitch, I can tell you - but from the sound of it you'll be back playing in no time.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 28 2011 17:41:02

ToddK

 

Posts: 2961
Joined: Dec. 6 2004
 

RE: The gift of pain (in reply to ToddK

Thanks all!

I really appreciate all the great advice! Sincerely...

Im seeing the orthopedist tomorrow, so thats good. And as of today, (i havent played the guitar for 6 days) my hand does not hurt.

I feel a tinge of pain in my wrist when i turn it a certain way, or lift something, but its not bad. No more pain in the knuckles or forearm.

It was the cramp in the base knuckle of my A finger 7 days ago that really scared me.
Hopefully it was just an inflamed nerve or tendon due to overuse. I was harping way too hard on picado that day. Too much, for too long with no break.
I cant let myself do that stuff anymore.

BTW, i need to start stretching and warming up! Ive never even done that
before! LOL

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 28 2011 23:25:26
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