Erosive arthritis in fretting hand

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
Lyn
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:53 am

Erosive arthritis in fretting hand

Post by Lyn » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:42 am

Hi,
Looking for some advice from members. I have erosive arthritis, very aggressive, in my fretting hand. Found lots of info about the condition online, but nothing about how to manage it. Do I play, or not play? I find that pain and stiffness are greatly reduced if I play a lot, but they return when I stop - am I aggravating the condition?
Any advice gratefully received!
Lynda

DaveLloyd
Posts: 193
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:24 am
Location: UK

Re: Erosive arthritis in fretting hand

Post by DaveLloyd » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:23 am

Hi Lynda,

No advice, I'm afraid.

I have the beginnings of arthritis in my left hand index finger, so you have all of my sympathy.

Dave

Lyn
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:53 am

Re: Erosive arthritis in fretting hand

Post by Lyn » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:07 am

DaveLloyd wrote: ↑
Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:23 am
Hi Lynda,

No advice, I'm afraid.

I have the beginnings of arthritis in my left hand index finger, so you have all of my sympathy.

Dave
Thanks for the good wishes, Dave!
Lynda

BrunoB
Posts: 49
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:19 am
Location: Cumbria

Re: Erosive arthritis in fretting hand

Post by BrunoB » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:14 pm

Hi Lynda,
that's tough! and you are right, there isn't a lot of information online. I expect you have followed most lines of enquiry for professional advice and help such as seeing a Rheumatologist and a Physiotherapist with specific experience with rheumatoid conditions . Drug therapy is always possible but not necessarily very effective. Paracetamol is too weak but Non-steroidals may help and possibly used by local gel application may be worth trying. Chloroquine is also mentioned. What about physical therapy (Physio - lead?)
The question of playing is a big one. If the pain gets worse after playing perhaps the playing time should be reduced and the intervals between playing lengthened with gentle warm up exercises before playing and then after playing cool the hands down gently.

It might be also worth looking at playing with lower tension strings and reducing the tuning pitch. A shorter string-length guitar would also bring the tension down. You could also think of an alternative instrument such as a lute-guitar which would also have a lower tension.

I found that when I started playing the guitar again after only playing the lute that the first six months were quite painful with the extra tension strings(my lutes were strung at 2.5 - 3.1 kg and my guitar at 6 -7 kg) and that is with otherwise normal hands, so tension reduction may help.
I wish you the very best in your search
BrunoB

Lyn
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:53 am

Re: Erosive arthritis in fretting hand

Post by Lyn » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:57 pm

Thank you so much for the advice, Bruno. I have my first appointment at Rheumatology on Tuesday this week, and I'm hoping I get some direction. I've had physio, acupuncture, anti inflammatories (didn't work, neither do gels!) and am now managing to keep the inflammation and pain to a minimum with a combination of turmeric, ginger, sour cherry concentrate and Apple Cider Vinegar! I can usually get by with an occasional dose of Aspirin, which actually does work. Nothing I can do about the destruction of the joints, unfortunately! I've also tried a 630 mm scale instrument. I've got large hands though, so the narrow neck doesn't really suit me. Low tension strings, and lowering the action helps, though. My problem is, as you've guessed, knowing whether to keep playing or stop! If I get any helpful advice from the rheumatologist, I'll post it here for other people in a similar position.
Thanks again.
Lynda

Lyn
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:53 am

Erosive arthritis in fretting hand - update

Post by Lyn » Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:23 am

Hi. Having been to rheumatologist this week I am much more hopeful! I have been prescribed a medication that will hopefully prevent my condition from getting any worse - and I can keep playing as much as I want.
I was told that, although it is a form of osteoarthritis, which is managed only by treating the symptoms, the fact that my arthritis is inflammatory means that it will respond to a drug called Hydroxychloroquine, used to treat RA and Lupus.
So, for others in a similar situation - don't give up: go see a rheumatologist ASAP!

User avatar
Michael Lazar
Luthier
Posts: 330
Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 10:26 pm
Location: St. Albert, Alberta

Re: Erosive arthritis in fretting hand - update

Post by Michael Lazar » Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:04 pm

Hey Lyn. I too have osteoarthritis which was quite advanced by the time I got to a rheumatologist. The doctor put me on Hydroxychloroquine which can slow and/or halt the progress of the arthritis. This drug can, on rare occasions, cause problems with the retinas in our eyes so I had to see an ophthalmologist bi-annually for a thorough retinal examination. No doubt you have been instructed to do likewise.

After about 7 years I did develop a deterioration in the retina of my left eye and I was instructed to stop taking the drug. The deterioration in my vision was significant but it has not progressed in the 4 years since. I'm told that I am one of the rare ones. This is not meant to alarm you Lyn but is rather a caution to ensure that you get your eyes checked professionally twice a year.

Lyn
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:53 am

Re: Erosive arthritis in fretting hand

Post by Lyn » Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:10 pm

Thanks Michael. I was warned about it. I have glaucoma (well controlled, no loss of peripheral vision so far) so I have check ups every 4-6 months. I'll keep an eye on it! Forgive the pun!
😜

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