Guitar Tendonitis and Multiple Surgeries

by Louis F Turse
(Hopatcong, Nj)

Hello, I am a 36 year old guitar player, who, sadly has spent most of his life getting surgery for carpel tunnel, thoracic outlet syndrome, arthritis exercises, and has tried everything from energy healing to visualization meditation relaxation techniques, but nothing, I mean nothing has worked to get rid of this pain when I play.

My question is how does hand stretching and things like the Alexander Technique of light finger pressure help in treating tendonitis? I have not fully tried this because I have always thought that it was nerve or something bigger than say tendonitis.

I have stopped playing for months at a time and the pain has made playing almost a no no.

Thanks so much for your site and information.
Lou T.


Joshua Answers:

Hi Lou.

Ouch. That sounds like a lot of surgery.

To answer your question, any light pressure technique (tissue work, not energy work) is targeted to release tight connective tissue.

It's sometimes amazing what no pressure can do.

Though, for you and everybody else, if it (or ANY treatment) isn't targeting the right targets, it's not going to help.

Moving on.

So you've had surgeries, and tried a lot of treatments. I'm guessing nobody targeted the right target, in the right way.

A fork and a spoon are both great at what they are designed to do. They can even be used on some of the same things. But a fork will NEVER do a good job of eating soup with. Same goes for all your other therapies.

They either didn't hit the target, or didn't affect it the right way if they did hit it.

So what do you do now? I don't know, let's investigate:

1. Send me two pictures. On from the side, one from the front.

2. Why did you get thoracic outlet surgery?

3. What exactly are your symptoms? Where do you hurt, how, why, when, for how long, what's the flavor of the pain/numbness/symptoms?

Let's start there.

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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May 09, 2010
PART 3 - Joshua responds - Guitar Tendonitis and Multiple Surgeries
by: The Tendonitis Expert

Joshua Comments:

Hi Louis. Sorry so long getting back to you.

Ok, so, various thoughts in no particular order.

1. You are having connective tissue issue all over, it sounds like. Foot and hand at the very least.

This points to an underlying dynamic that likely includes some amount of nutrient deficiency/insufficiency.

1a. You will want to make sure you have plenty of intake of Vit D, Magnesium, protein, vitamin C, and B6 and B12, to cover your bases.

If you arent eating enough protein, your connective tissue will be weak. Not enough magnesium, muscles too tight, constantly. B6 and b12 are players in carpal tunnel symptoms and nerve issues. Vit C is vital for connective tissue health.

I would definitely make Bone Broth a normal part of your diet.

2. I don't know if you have osteoarthritis or not. It makes sense if you are a hand intensive kind of person, with the above nutrient deficiency and decades of TOO TIGHT hand muscles compressing your finger and wrist joints that something like that could develop.

The thing to do is REVERSE all that tightness dynamic.

So yes, if you haven't already, I think you would get A LOT of value out of my Reversing Guitar Tendonitis ebook.

Chronic hand and forearm muscle tightness puts chronic compression on the joints, and that can lead to osteoarthritis in the fingers.

3. As far as the foot thing, that's weird your tendons just fell apart. That makes me REALLY curious about what you have going on.

4. I don't know any sources of Thoracic Outlet self help options out there.

But you definitely need to open the tissue/structures not only of your neck and shoulder/chest, but also your underarm area, your lats and teres major and minor, subscapuplaris, etc. All of that, when tight, compresses the shoulder.

If you can, lay on the bed/floor, reach your hand/arm straight up at the ceiling, and have somebody put a fist into your armpit, on the shelf made by your scapula and lats. Not hard to find.

With them leaning in with moderate pressure, SLOWLY back stroke your arm back over your head towards the floor. You'll feel that stretch for sure. Start gently and slowly.

Do that, and you'll get a sense for what I mean when I say that the underarm area gets tight and constricts everythign else in the shoulder girdle.

5. You definitely have some self-care work to do. It may not be a cure, but if you rehab the tissue of your forearms and hands (can do the same stuff for your feet and lower legs), and do the underarm stretch thing enough, that will go a LONG way to helping you feel better.

And then we can fine tune some more.

Mar 09, 2010
PART 2 - follow up to my issue - Guitar Tendonitis and Multiple Surgeries
by: Louis Turse


Thanks so kindly for taking the time to reply and care.

My pain is in my index finger of my left guitar fretting hand. I can't put pressure. no tingling just a sharp pain there only with pressure. mostly when i fret the guitar. does not go up the hand, only sometimes with a lot of pressure on the neck of the guitar. It seems to only happen when I am playing.

I had two carpel tunnel surgeries. both on that hand. the second one was cut upper on the hand to stop some pressure and tingling in the wrist and have had no pain in the wrist at all now.

The thoracic outlet syndrome surgery was because i had shooting pain down my arm and numbness and pain in chest and heaviness in chest and arm. I had my rib on that hand side removed. I am still getting tingling in my chest where the clavicle is. but not down the arm, that i can tell.

Some of my symptoms while playing guitar are extreme sluggishness and no control of my fretting hand with pressure. but when i play my piano it it fine for a long time, then i get the pain in the finger.

I do have osteoarthritic looking joints in each hand in the middle joints. I have not gone to a doctor about that. But when I take anti inflam meds the pain does not go away. I can't tell if I am feeing it in the joints or between the joints (because it only happens with use.) I am typing now and any time it is fine, no pain at all.

I was wondering if you have a osteoarthritis or thoracic outlet syndrome book/dvd or know where i can get one or a site. Or if by getting your guitar tendinitis dvd will help. I thank you so so much. i have been having pain for 22 years. You are the only one who has taken the time to care. Most dr's want money or surgery as you can tell. Thanks again so much.

Louis F Turse

I could not attach pictures like you said. But I did take three, and I think that they will help you very much with your help. I will give you my e-mail address so if you want to send me a link or an e-mail address where I can send you the pictures, I can attach them that way.....

Also, I just had surgery about 3 weeks ago on my left foot for flat feet and a tendon that was torn to shreds by walking so much at my job (security), and yes I know another surgery. But I know that this was a valid one because I could not walk at all.

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