A Classical Guitarist with DeQuervains and Trigger Finger, Pain Relief and Playing Again

by Jay
(New York, NY)

Hey Joshua....a report and a few questions.

I'm a professional classical guitarist and a few months ago I developed wrist tendonitis (de quervain's to be exact ) and it interrupted my plans to record a new youtube video each week (which was partly what triggered it in the first place, that and a lot of bike riding.

Anyways, I finally ordered your dvd and even after 3 days of the serious icing + protocol, it's beginning to feel like a normal wrist and hand again, and my fingers are flying once more. Amazing.

So here are some questions for you.

I've been a type I diabetic for over 30 years, and last year I had to have an operation for trigger finger, a different finger on both hand. The doctors said it was a complication of the disease. But the surgery enabled me to begin playing full steam until the tendonitis kicked in.

Another finger on my plucking hand (the right) is developing the first signs of triggering, and I'm wondering if you have any advice for me to keep this from going any further.

The icing seems to help it , btw.

I'm going to try the bone marrow soup, but is there any other supplement you recommend, such as a good vit. D or etc?

I will be in SF in mid August, and if the triggering is getting worse and you think you might have some serious help to offer, I'd consider a consult.

Thanks, Jay


Joshua Answers:

Hi Jay.

I'm so glad (but unsurprised) that you've gotten amazing benefit from following The Carpal Tunnel Treatment That Works.

Keep at it, and you will continue to get results.

We will want to fine tune it some for your Trigger Finger.

Anyhoo, starting from the top.

1. It may be worth it to think about your wrist tendonitis like...it's been developing slowly for months and years, and it just recently started really hurting. There's a whole mechanism happening in there.

2. Diabetes may be a factor in the trigger finger development, depending on how 'bad' the diabetes is. Towards the bad end of the spectrum, diabetics can have circulatory problems.

Tendons already have enough problem getting enough circulation, so if you lessen it even more it makes sense that a Trigger Finger dynamic would have an easier time getting entrenched.

3. If you are developing more Trigger Finger Tendonitis, we need to train you how to nip that in the bud and keep it from advancing.

I woulds plan on having a session or two with me while you are in the Bay Area.

I don't really like surgery, but Trigger Finger surgery is pretty effective at getting one out of pain and back to activity...although it's not a cure and the mechanism is still in place and will start creating more trigger finger.

You're going to continue to play guitar a lot, and it's time to learn how to counter the effects of long term guitar playing, so you can play the next 50 years as much as you want to.

4. I would DEFINITELY make the Bone Broth a near-daily part of your nutritional intake.

Also, Vitamin D. You may or may not want to pay some money to find your levels (You can get a blood spot test kit from the Vit D pages at www.Easy-Immune-Health.com), but I would definitely start regularly taking good amounts of Vitamin D. It is vital on many levels of health.

And a good Calcium and Magnesium supplement won't hurt. I could say more about it, but just go with that having appropriate levels is important, and our diets don't provide it like we'd like it too for optimum health.


1. What fingers had it, what fingers are getting it?

2. How bad is your diabetes? What are you doing to manage it/get rid of it?

3. Overall health.

4. What does your general diet look like?

5. Any other arm/neck/shoulder pain or problem?

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Jul 21, 2009
more about the shoulders, wrist, diet and triggering
by: jay

Thanks, Joshua, for putting me up here and your detailed response and questions.

I'll just go through them all in order...

My diabetes is in good control relative to most type one (insulin-dependent) diabetics....actually, my average HBA1c levels are usually in the 5.9 range, better than Sonia Sotomayor, another type 1 diabetic, who's had it about 10 years longer than I have.

I know of diabetics who are not in good control who have started developing triggering after having the disease for 10 years---diabetes definitely tends to exacerbate the tendency if you already have triggering in your genes, as I understand it.

My circulation is good in all my extremities and I'm in good shape, but after 30 years there's sure to be deterioration beyond what many nondiabetics get who are equally as active with similar diets.

Diet wise, I try to do the low-carb + mucho salad thing, and sometimes end up eating a bit too much carb anyways and too little salad. Probably a bit too much caffiene and saturated fats. The low carb diet is one of the best ways to keep the blood sugars level, although a bit controversial, it does work.

I do supplement (fish oil, primrose oil, B-complex, other things that are supposed to be good for circulation) but a few months ago my doctor noticed that my Vit D levels were low so I added that in. Not sure about the levels, and I haven't been very consistent about it, yet.

I put off getting surgery on the trigger fingers, (left middle finger and right ring finger) and tried other modalities, until it got obvious they weren't working. My ring finger was so stuck that it was triggering in three different spots and I basically couldn't close it and then open it without causing severe pain and being in pain for the rest of the day. The surgeon didn't think he could give it full range of motion but he managed pretty well.

My middle finger on the right hand is now starting to trigger very slightly, showing some pain at the 2nd knuckle. I don't have any pain or tenderness at the spot in my palm where I know that the tendon catches.

I realize now also that although I've never had any trouble with back pain, I've been carrying a guitar gigbag on my back for more than a year with an attached backpack in which I very often take my laptop and even add 20 pounds of additional books and stuff.....I'm a strong guy and I lift weights as of 3 years to strengthen my upper body, but I noticed just today that carrying around the 50 pounds on my shoulder (which I used to shrug off) was bringing back the pain in my wrist that had started to disappear with the icing protocal. I now feel the direct connection between this and my wrist problem....hmmm. I guess I'm a bit slow:)

I'll be in SF for a workshop on the 17th and 18th, so there will probably be a window of time around then for me to meet you.


Jul 22, 2009
PART 3 - A Classical Guitarist with DeQuervains and Trigger Finger, Pain Relief and Playing Again
by: The Tendonitis Expert

Hey Jay.

You're welcome. No worries.

Working in reverse...

1. I think it would be very valuable to have a session with me while you're in town.

2. Pain in your wrist and carrying weight on your shoulder. Carrying weight on the shoulder causes your neck muscles to tighten up to support your shoulder. Combine that with an assumably 'bad' neck posture when playing guitar and working on the laptop, the scalenes are too short and too tight anyway, add weight which makes them tighten even more, and they step on the hose of the nerve, which can cause pain and numbness in the hand/wrist.

3. I'm curious....and tell me more...is the pain in your finger joints joint pain, actual build up on the tendon that catches the tendon sheath, just inflammation of the tendon sheath, or some combination of the three?

When the surgeon did his thing, what -exactly- did he do that allowed you to play guitar again?

This is an important clue. Did he just slice the tendon sheath? Did he shave down the tendon?

Immportant. Say more.

4. Re: Supplements. Great.

Vitamin D! It's VITAL you get your levels up. Kerri will back me up here, There isa strong link between Vitamin D levels and Diabetes (complications).

I'm going to have Kerri jump in on this conversation keep an eye on this thread for her to show up in the next couple of days. You may find what she has to say about Diabetes, etc, to be very very interesting for you.

5. Low carb diet for keeping blood sugar levels even. Great. I'm a big fan of high protein/high fat/clean carb diets. Works for me as long as I stay active.

Hmmm, did I miss anything?

Jul 26, 2009
PART 4 - Trigger Finger and Diabetes
by: Kerri Knox, RN-The Immune Health Queen!

Hi Jay,

This is Kerri. Joshua asked me to pipe in a little bit to see if there was anything that I could add.

First of all, there is an interesting bit about Magnesium in the book 'The Magnesium Miracle'. In fact, she Specifically talks about musicians using magnesium oil on their painful hands and wrists. She says taking it before going on stage can really help with those stage jitters too.

Unfortunately, I don't have a good source of magnesium oil to point you to, but I definitely recommend extra magnesium in the form of citrate or glycinate- like a LOT extra. You'll get loose stools when you take too much, so you can just back off when that happens. It can also really help with blood sugar control as well.

You said that your Vit D was low too. It would DEFINITELY be worth your while to find out what your level was and start Aggressively treating it to get it up. Even mild vit d deficiencies can cause pain- and helps with blood sugar control, prevents cancer and all kinds of other good things.

Next, have you ever tried a gluten free diet?

LOTS of evidence to show that it helps with Diabetes and is likely even the Cause of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes!!! Check out the extensive Research on Celiac Disease and Diabetes.

Hope this might be of some help.

Kerri Knox RN Immune Health Queen

Kerri Knox, RN- The Immune Health Queen
Functional Medicine Practitioner
Easy Immune Health.com

Jul 30, 2009
PART 5 - Update
by: Anonymous

Sorry it took so long to answer the thread

I'm doing this on an iPhone so I just have to remember what points I want to try to respond to

thanks forcall the detailed reappnses and recommendations

I upped the vit d and will loo. For ways to up the magnesium as well

when the doctor operated on my trigger finger he shaved away the tendon sheath (in my palm just below the base knuckle ) so the tendoncould pass thru but I'm pretty sure he never cut into the tendon; if he did he never mentioned that to me

the pain I'm having now is in the first knuckle and it hurts especially when I do a claw----keeping the base knuckle straight while trying to bend the finger tip to touch my palm

it's tender on the outside of the knuckle and it cathes very slightly when I close and open the finger especially in the morning

No pain in the palm at all

I've had my eye on this for a year but recently it seems to be getti g worse

My left wrist, btw is so much better thAt I said yes without hesitation to a recordng gig this Sunday

Gotta run!


Hey Jay. Looks like typing on that iphone is tough work...

I'm glad your wrist is better.

When I see you when you are here in August I'll show you how to work on your hands and keep the problem down and under control.

Then it's a matter of keeping an eye on it, seeing what it does, and doing some self care to counter the factors that cause the trigger finger tendonitis in the first place.

Feb 06, 2010
For what's worth
by: Anonymous

Hi there,
I suffered from DeQuervain's Syndrome for about 6 months. I was in agony. Picking up a pen was sheer torture, much less trying to write my name to sign a check. I tried splints, physical therapy, saw various doctors, all to no avail.

Then a friend suggested I try a gluten free diet. Forty eight hours after going off gluten, my hands and wrists were completely pain free! It seemed like a miracle. (And I was pissed off that none of the MANY doctors I had seen ever suggested this as a possible remedy.)

Cathy B.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Cathy B.

Thanks for sharing that.

Gluten Intolerance is a huge invisible cause of a VAST amount of pain, problem, and disease. And as such it can totally mimic severe tendonitis symptoms.

Good for you for taking the advice and trying it out!

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