CG Related Injuries - How long to resolve?

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
FHC
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Re: CG Related Injuries - How long to resolve?

Post by FHC » Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:08 pm

kat wrote:I hurt my right hand shortly after starting to play classical guitar. I had been playing electric guitar for years so was trying to play at my left hand's level and my right hand just couldn't keep up. At the time I resorted to extreme use of painkillers so I could keep going instead of taking time off. After university I stopped playing guitar for 4 years, mostly due to burnout and being interested in other things. When I picked it back up the pain came right back. Then a flamenco guitarist in town started to teach yoga and ran a yoga classes for musicians. That was the best thing I ever tried. Stretching my shoulders really helped alleviate problems in my wrist. I learned a whole set of stretches that work from the fingertips right up to my neck and back down my back and hips. It undoes everything that my practicing does.
So really time did nothing to resolve it, even with 4 years completely off. Yoga fixed it though. I teach for about 6 hours each day and practice for another 4, so I play a lot with no problems at all now.
Kat what stretches specifically do you do?

guitarama

Re: CG Related Injuries - How long to resolve?

Post by guitarama » Thu Jan 08, 2015 11:01 am

tateharmann wrote:I wanted to update this in case it could be of benefit to anyone. My issue is 95% resolved. It turns out that it's not tendinitis - it's actually carpal tunnel syndrome. That was, in fact, the first diagnosis of the hand doctor I went to, but he wasn't sure. And what fixed it for me was not another visit to the doctor, or a cortisone shot, or sleeping with a brace, or icing haha...it was STRETCHING. I would never believe it if it didn't happen to me personally. I re-discovered a stretch that I used to do when I was younger (why I did it then I don't know) and starting doing it on a regular basis. And I found that when I did the stretch right, for about 15 seconds right after, my pain was completely gone! It would then slowly come back. But for about a month now I have been doing this stretch and a couple of other ones on a regular basis. Right in the morning, before going to bed and before/after doing anything that might hurt (like playing guitar.) I now have zero pain while playing guitar - and throughout the day only small twinges of pain doing certain wrist intensive activities. If it gets worse I would consider surgery - but right now it's better than it has been in over a year! It's hard to explain the stretch but I think this guy does a pretty good job: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-hI-Nnv5cA

I hope this can help someone else too :-)

The stretch in this video is great. I have been getting some mild pain in my left forearm recently. Doing this stretch has immediately resolved it. I'll be adding it to my regular stretches. Thanks for posting.

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Michael.N.
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Re: CG Related Injuries - How long to resolve?

Post by Michael.N. » Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:56 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yc2OetFqR6E

Harder than it looks but very good for upper back problems. Check out his other videos for further posture exercises.
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D.Cass
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Re: CG Related Injuries - How long to resolve?

Post by D.Cass » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:08 pm

I have had a few injuries in my time. Well, generally if it a muscle problem it takes a few months to recover. If it is a nerve problem then it takes about a year to recover. In my complete and unprofessional opinion it sounds like a tendon issue. Probably more of tendon fatigue. Your job doesn't help your recovery process. There are many stretches and recovery things you can do. My first thought is consider how you are playing. Even how are you typing. Notice how you are using your hands and back and neck and other parts. Exercise does go along ways. Reducing tension in the whole body is what we aim for. I myself have a very static job so I go for walks often. And there is a mental part as well. The more we worry the more we tense up. Good luck

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Evocacion
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Re: CG Related Injuries - How long to resolve?

Post by Evocacion » Fri Jun 05, 2015 2:44 pm

My wife bought me a subscription to Classical Guitar for Christmas. I have to say that overall I have not been very impressed, but the Summer issue has an article with five stretch exercises for guitarists.

I'd noticed that my left thumb was getting 'pins and needles' after practising for a while, and I'd stopped playing for a couple of days. Then this issue arrived on the door mat, with appropriate advice and exercises. A very pleasant coincidence. Now I do these exercises before each practice session, and take a break every 15 minutes. So far, that seems to be working.

So I probably won't be renewing the CG subscription, but I'll definitely be keeping this issue!

Nice to hear that you are playing without pain, Tate.

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tateharmann
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Re: CG Related Injuries - How long to resolve?

Post by tateharmann » Tue Jun 09, 2015 5:42 pm

Thanks for the tips and comments everyone :)
Evocacion wrote:My wife bought me a subscription to Classical Guitar for Christmas. I have to say that overall I have not been very impressed, but the Summer issue has an article with five stretch exercises for guitarists.
Care to elaborate on the stretches? It could be beneficial for many here on the forum that deal with thumb issues. I think of rojarosguitar and this thread: viewtopic.php?f=43&t=95552&start=30

After dealing with these issues for 2 years now and seeing improvement, I'd like to share what I've done so far to cope:

1.) Had Mr. Joseph Redman build me a smaller bodied Torres style guitar in 640mm scale length and 50mm nut.
2.) I built my own saddle to lower the action to 3.5mm at the 6th string 12th fret and 2.75mm at the 1st string 12th fret. (no buzzing unless I play REALLY hard.)
3.) Recently have been using only La Bella 2001 light tension strings
4.) I stretch every morning and evening...even if I'm not playing that day
5.) I never play right away in the morning as that's when I'm the most stiff and it will ruin my day if I do haha
6.) If I play for a long time (up to 3 hours) I take a lot of breaks and stretch
7.) Started re-learning left hand technique as I had come from steel string background and I don't think I ever learned it properly. Two videos that have changed my playing are Scott Morris' lesson on barring and Kevin Gallagher on 3 left hand positions (both available on YouTube).

It seems like a lot, but it's what I had to do. Giving up playing just wasn't an option...I'd sooner quit my job and live in a box! lol

Hope this can help others :)
"Speed is the enemy of emotion." - Emilio Pujol Vilarrubi

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tateharmann
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Re: CG Related Injuries - How long to resolve?

Post by tateharmann » Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:01 pm

Oops I forgot to add that I will ice my wrist as well if it's feeling particularly nasty. This helps keep the tendinitis in check :)
"Speed is the enemy of emotion." - Emilio Pujol Vilarrubi

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alfonso
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Re: CG Related Injuries - How long to resolve?

Post by alfonso » Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:38 pm

tateharmann wrote:Hi All,

My question is - for anyone with these types of serious tendinitis/tenosynovitis injuries: how long did it take to resolve? Was some kind of surgery needed in the end?

Thanks for the feedback!
Tate
While I have never experienced this sort of injury (for which I'm grateful) my flautist daughter had issues of this sort some years ago.
The advice given her was:
1. Get the problem properly diagnosed - any number of things can cause hand/wrist/forearm pain and discomfort.
2. Once diagnosed follow the recommended remedies (which might include surgery) carefully and without impatience.
3. Realise that progress is often slow and long and don't be tempted to get back to your instrument before your are ready.
4. Try not to be overly anxious about time away from the instrument - its a little bit like learning to ride a bike - you won't forget it all.
By the way she was able to play again after 4 months and has had no trouble since!
I hope things work out for you in the same way.
Last edited by alfonso on Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
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robin loops
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Re: CG Related Injuries - How long to resolve?

Post by robin loops » Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:04 pm

I have lots of stories about various injuries but in summation, I've always adapted the situation. For example, when I broke my arm and could not play classical anymore I returned to rock on electric guitars becuase they were much easier to play. Then when my back was injured and I had to basically sit and play without a lot of movement and energy I focussed on learning to sing while playing. After it healed some I starting working on classical again. Then recently I injured my ulnar nerve (causing numbness in half of my 3rd and all of the 4th finger on left hand) so I dug out my electrics again to keep occupied until it got well enough that I could feel the strings again (about a month).

Depending on the injury it may be best to just keep away from the guitar altogether, in which case you could use the time to learn some keyboard skills or some percussion (even the tambourine). Some injuries would require not using the hands at all but you could work on singing. Sometimes you can even still play the guitar but maybe should stay away from barre chords, etc. Every case is different and you just need to find what is best for your situation but my advice is to adapt if possible. If not, take some time to go fishing, hiking, etc.
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robin loops
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Re: CG Related Injuries - How long to resolve?

Post by robin loops » Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:07 pm

alfonso wrote:1. Get the problem properly diagnosed - any number of things can cause hand/wrist/forearm pain and discomfort.
2. Once diagnosed follow the recommended remedies (which might include surgery) carefully and without impatience
3. Realise that progress is often slow and long and don't be tempted to get back to your instrument before your are ready
4. Try not to be overly anxious about time away from the instrument - its a little bit like learning to ride a bike - you won't forget it all
By the way she was able to play again after 4 months and has had no trouble since!
I hope things work out for you in the same way.
And definitely follow this advice as well... Especially no. 1 and 2! But if surgery is required also definitely consult a second opinion before proceeding forward (and also when they say nothing can be done for it).
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
-James-

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Evocacion
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Re: CG Related Injuries - How long to resolve?

Post by Evocacion » Thu Jun 11, 2015 11:01 pm

Sorry, Tate, but I think there would be copyright issues if I expanded on what I said about the exercises in CG. It's a one page article by October Crifasi. CG sometimes reprint articles on their website, though, and if it shows up there I'll let you know.

Also, there's a similar set of exercises - the first one is identical to one of Crifasi's - here: http://alturl.com/oiac9

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tateharmann
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Re: CG Related Injuries - How long to resolve?

Post by tateharmann » Fri Jun 12, 2015 1:34 pm

That's good enough :)

Thanks!
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OCrifasi

Re: CG Related Injuries - How long to resolve?

Post by OCrifasi » Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:35 pm

Hello Everyone,
Evocacion, I am so glad that the stretches article was helpful! Those stretches are the ones I was given from my physical therapist five years ago as I had lost complete feeling in my thumb, first and middle fingers on both hands. It was a terrifying experience as no specialist could figure out what the problem was and I didn't know if I'd get the feeling back. For me the problem was progressed arthritis of the cervical spine which placed pressure on the nerves running through the area. Stretching, exercise, and traction of my cervical spine are what helped to gain back sensation and I am ever so grateful. Always make sure to get any tingling, numbness or should pain checked out and do not get discouraged should an actual diagnosis be difficult to pinpoint. I was told many things through my journey and many unnecessarily. Please let me know what other info might be helpful in the future. The original article was run in Acoustic Guitar (CG's sister publication) last year with incorrect photos. So should you decide to look up the article somewhere - make sure to go with the CG version as the photos were corrected. If video versions would be helpful please let me know and I will be happy to vid them and post them to my blog with link here. Cheers!

October

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Re: CG Related Injuries - How long to resolve?

Post by GeoffB » Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:16 pm

Hi October, welcome to the forum. Could I invite you to introduce yourself here?

Geoff
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Evocacion
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Re: CG Related Injuries - How long to resolve?

Post by Evocacion » Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:53 pm

Hi October.

Thanks for your reply - I hadn't expected to hear from you on this forum, but it's a nice surprise!

My problem (which seems to have gone now) was obviously pretty minor compared to yours. I'm glad to hear you've recovered.

Yes, I think video versions of those exercises would also be helpful. I look forward to seeing them, and I'm sure they would be useful to many others, too.

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