Guitar player that misses playing
(El Dorado Hills, CA)
Guitar playing wrist pain picture - Yellow: where the pain started. Red: where dull pains are felt now. Orange:dull pains after writing for long periods of time
I have just discovered this site after fighting what my doctor diagnosed as tendinitis for about 2 months now.
The originally started as a very sharp constant pain in my wrist directly behind my pinky that hurt every time I tried to pick up an object of moved in a way that was similar to picking. I was given a wrist splint and told to rest for a few weeks and see what happens.
Didn't get any better so I was then told to wear the splint 24/7 for 4 weeks, stop guitar and gym, and given anti-inflammatory medication. Still nothing, actually I think it's worse now than when it started.
I now get dull pains in the center of my wrist and occasional tingling in my pointer finger and thumb near the joints. I didn't get the tingling until I started icing and wearing the brace.
Can icing cause damage (if done for too long)?
I'm also worried about not being able to go to the gym because I've dropped about 6 pounds since I stopped going.
If I continue playing guitar will it make the damage worse?
I ended up playing guitar for about 45 minutes or so last night and because I was under the influence of alcohol at the time I did not notice any pain but now my whole hand feels a bit numb at times (though I did spend a lot of time icing it after I played guitar).
I also write a lot for college and I work a job that requires me to be on a computer for a few hours a day. Will these things make my problem worse? Should I stop if I want to heal faster?
I'm worried about this being carpal tunnel because it just won't go away. I want to be able to play guitar and work out like I could back in August.
I'm only 20 years old and having something this debilitating is depressing. I've honestly lost all motivation to get stuff done because doing school work cause me pain and when I'm done with work I can't enjoy my hobbies because of the pain.
PS: how come ice works for inflammation but anti-inflammatory drugs don't?
Thanks for all the details, that saved some back and forth and gives me a clear picture of what's going on.
Gotta love Doctors and Tendonitis. "Two weeks of splinting and rest didn't help at all? Well then obviously the next step is to do that more for another 4 weeks."
Doctors work under a 'standard of care' which basically means they only treat how they treat. Whether it works of not.
So you think you have Tendonitis. Possibly CarpalTunnel Syndrome.
Good news/bad news, I'd say you do.
But, you may or may not have any actual -damage-.
The main problem, and the major cause of your symptoms, is the that muscles and deep structures of your forearm and wrist are SO INCREDIBLY TIGHT.
And they've been tight for a long time.
Imagine a kitchen sponge. Soft and squishy. Now squeeze it as much as you can and tightly wrap it in saran wrap. That's your situation now.
Plus that tissue is packed with pain enhancing chemical from your chronic Process of Inflammation.
Plus you're probably deficient in Magnesium, and possibly B6 and/or B12.
The places you have circled are pretty specific for guitar players, especially the red circle.
1. If you continue to play guitar -without doing anything to reverse this process-, then yes, your symptoms will get worse. Again, damage may or may not be an issue, but tightness -IS- an issue.
2. You can hurt yourself if you ice to -long-. You can't hurt yourself with Ice Dipping for 10-20 seconds a pop as long as you leave some time between dips. Ice packs generally don't stay cold long enough to cause frost bite. A block of ice would.
Don't give yourself frostbite.
3. I know why icing reduces inflammation, but I don't know exactly why Anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen don't. They work to some degree, but they are not truly effective at stopping the inflammation process.
I imagine it has something to do with that anti-inflammatories -may- temporarily deal with stopping the body from feeling the effects of inflammation's pain enhancing chemical, but they don't create circulation, get irritant like waste product and p.e.c.'s out, they don't relax too tight muscle, heal damage, etc.
Inflammation has several factors to it. If you don't deal with them all, pain will come right back.
1. Check out that magnesium link, and go to the Magnesium Dosage page that is linked at the bottom.
2. Go to the How To Reduce Inflammation page.
3. Ice Dip INTENSELY for 3 days. 40+ dips a day. The more you dip, the faster you will get results.
4. After that 3 days keep ice dipping, but start to Ice Massage in and around those circled areas.
Also, dig into the palm-side forearm muscles. And anywhere that hurts, really.
Again, the more the merrier. Push the edge of good pain/bad pain, but don't hurt yourself by massaging too much/deeply. Find the balance.
Also, increase your protein intake. By a lot more than you think you should. It will help heal any damage faster, and it is part of the reason that you are losing your hard-earned muscle mass.
More questions, more answers.
Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert