Hand and Wrist Pain from Weight Lifting, Playing Guitar, and Computer Use

by Joshua
(Wichita Falls TX, USA)


My pain started roughly 9 months ago, beginning with a sharp pain in my inner elbow. (I was weight lifting at the time and stopped after some time when I decided the pain wasn't going to go away.)

I also play the guitar and use the computer quite a great deal.

A few weeks after the pain in my elbow stopped and instead I had shooting pain in my hands and wrists. The pain specifically occurs in the palm part of my thumb and or shooting pain in my index finger.

Sometimes I experience shooting pain in my pinky finger as well. The pain usually only occurs in one hand at a time and lasts for roughly a week before switching to the other hand.

Once it occurred in both hands and at that time it was so unbearable I couldn't even hold things.

I have tried a few stretches but find it nearly impossible to stretch without causing pain. I start trying to stretch as lightly as possible but everytime my hands/wrists hurt 100% worse afterward.

This has got to the point in previous months that I simply stopped stretching and it seemed to go away but as soon as I began to slowly get back into my activities (guitar) I'd start all over again.

From reading your information I have come to the conclusion that I am stretching too far. But I can't seem to do it light enough. Is there a way I could isolate my tendons better (like straightening one finger at a time, as just that i feel some tension) or, can you please explain a little more in detail about lengthening.

Right now I cannot even bend my hand up about 30 degrees before theres a little pain (in the hand that currently hurts.) And in the hand that doesnt hurt I can move it up 45 degrees before I feel some tension but any mor ethan that and my wrists cracks.

Anti-inflamatory drugs seem to help a little bit. I have thought about ice dipping but am afraid it will make my symptoms worse. I have seen a Dr., however, she said she wasn't sure and said she wanted x-rays done, which I unfortunately cannot afford, or even the follow up visit.

From reading the site I am simply not sure if I have tendonitis or carpal tunnel as I don't have any tingling, numbness, or weakness in my fingers, just pain.

Any information you could give would be extremely helpful.

Thank you so much for your time


Joshua Answers:

Hi Joshua.

Thanks for all the details!

So regardless of what you want to call this, you're at the acute end of a Pain Causing Dynamic.

Muscles too tight, connective tissue too tight, pain enhancing chemical from a Process of Inflammation.

Ultimately, that's what we all call Tendonitis.

Why does your doctor want to do an xray? Because she has no idea what to do to help you.

Why do you think that ice dipping would hurt you??

Don't worry about stretching right now. Here's your first action plan.

1. Ice Dip for a week as described on the How To Reduce Inflammation page, but increase the number of dips to as many as you can do in a day.

The more you want your pain levels to drop, the more times you will Ice Dip.

2. Read about Magnesium for Tendonitis. Make sure to follow the Magnesium Dosage link at the bottom of that page.

Go get some magnesium (anything other than oxide) and start supplementing as described. Were I you I would also get some Magnesium Oil from the site that points to (best and cheapest I've seen) and start using that liberally.

First things first. Do those two things.

More questions, more answers.

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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Comments for Hand and Wrist Pain from Weight Lifting, Playing Guitar, and Computer Use

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Feb 09, 2010
by: Anonymous

Hi Joshua
Since your response I strictly ice dipped for 1 month, after just a few days my hand pain dropped to about 30%, then I bought a copy of your DVD The Carpal Tunnel Treatment that works. And have been doing those 3 excercises for 2 weeks so far as directed.

Currently my hand pain is still about that same 30% or so, my hands/wrists/forearms hurt maybe a total of 3 hours throughtout each day and it seems to jump between specific spots. On my hands its usually the thumb or 3rd finger, palm side, or the top of my hand. The wrist pain is more of an ache and my arm pain only occurs when touched (on the top of my forearm). My wife also tells me that my tendons on the underside of my arm are extremely tense.

I have slowly started doing some strength excercises when the pain is most minimal.

What else can I do?



Joshua Comments:

Hey Josh.

Use the contact form (bottom nav bar button to the left of the page) and send me your full name, email address, and a note pointing to this conversation, and I will send you an ebook copy of Reversing Guitar Tendonitis.

That will have some missing pieces, and then if you have more questions, let me know.

Feb 24, 2010
by: Anonymous

I have been following both the ebook and the dvd and attempting to keep off my hands / wrists as much as possible. (stopped guitar / weight lifting of course a while ago, but also been heavily limiting all computer work) my hands and arms still give me a little pain for short intermits a couple times for about 10 mins each, specifically the index finger on both hands and the space between the thumb and index finger palm side.

There are no spots on my arms that hurt at the touch however, my hands still feel real stiff.

Would you say I am out of the inflammation stage or close?


Joshua Comments:

Ok, so your forearms sound like they are in pretty good shape now, no pain great.

Focus your work now onto your hand structure, and now go even deeper into the forearms, both depth and angles. Now that the pain is gone, force that shortened tissue to stretch/open.

When you say your hands are stiff, is it like soft tissue stiff, or joint stiff?

Feb 25, 2010
by: Anonymous

Well its not no pain completely, like I said, I get a tiny bit of pain for a pretty small amount of time.
My hands are tissue tight I think, meaning when I try to open my hand even a little bit feels like a stretch, I can't open them very far without feeling discomfort.

I have read strengthening excercises make a real difference in rehabilitation, but I am afraid to start too soon.


Joshua Comments;

Your intuition is right. First, rehab the structure. Then, strengthen.

So your job now is to open whatever it is that is causing restriction.

It could be thumb/palm area causing the restriction, like saran wrap tightly constricted around the structures. It could be shortened/immobile forearm muscles. Could be both.

Get into the palm/thumbpad area. Get into the forearm area. Press down, engage the tissue, and push/stretch it in a variety of directions. You can wiggle your fingers/open your hand as you do that too, you'll feel why.

Mar 04, 2010
by: Anonymous


Its been 2 weeks since I started basically resting my arms + doing the excercises. Out of the last 3 days I have only experienced a dull stinging yesterday in my index finger.

Other than that just irritation and some burning in my thumb. I know you have written that rest does not cure tendonitis and can do more harm than good.

But just about every daily activity seems to aggravate my symptoms (ie dishes, holding my baby, walking the dog, feeding the baby, typing this letter). I have been to this point in my pain dynamic a few times I believe and it seems everytime I get to this point I start doing a bit of activities, over do it, and end up with major pain again, starting from scratch.

right now, with limiting all daily activities as much as possible, I am ice dipping for 10 seconds, 15-20 times a day, before bed.

I want to get over this pain asap, and have my hands heal. Should I keep resting or risk some daily actiivites?


Joshua Comments:

You make a very good point.

To clarify, It's not that rest is necessarily bad, it's just not a cure, and people think that it will help them.

For you, it's not about rest per se, it's about 'irritation'. Right now, you are EASILY irritated, and that sets your system off into more pain etc.

So it's totally valid for you to AVOID irritation while you do the self care. And/or INCREASE the self care to counter the new irritation.

It sounds like you're getting results. Good. Keep at it. Sometimes it really is an ongoing effort to overcome years of Downward Spiral.

And, I think you should double the dips, increase the B12 and Magnesium, and more slow, patient, exploring with Activity 3.

Mar 22, 2010
by: Anonymous

Its been a couple more weeks, I started doing a little bit of activities but trying to stay away from certain key ones that always irritate my hands the most (the 3 that are the title of this entire Weight Lifting, Playing Guitar, and Computer) At this point Ive been trying to do double the dips but manage only 25-30 most days. Today I decided to split the day into two sessions (though I am contimplating somehow doing 3 to make it easier as its very time consuming) I have really been trying to be slow and focused on activity 3. The last couple weeks it seems my pain has been comming in waves. 2 days Ill have virtually no pain and then for the next 4-5 days it gets gradually worse. Then poof back to virtually none. When its at its worst though, its 99% gone from my fingers. Now the back of my hands, at the webbing of my thumb/first finger, and wrist are what is bothering me now.

I am starting a new job on May 1st, where I'll be needing to heavily use the computer, do you think I'll be ready for that? What more can I do to make sure I am.

Thank you


Joshua Comments:

It sounds like it's coming along, but not enough.

Were I you I would focus more on the Specific Massage and open up all the tightly bound fascia in the area.

Less Ice Dipping, more manual opening.

It's a short answer, but some people's problem is more inflammation, some is more connective tissue shrink wrapping. It sounds like you're more the latter.

You HAVE to open it up.


You have a month. It's doable for sure.

Apr 05, 2010
Question about massaging
by: Anonymous

I usually tend to overdo things and I was just wondering how many massage sessions / how long per session is a safe amount. Currently I am doing 4-5 20 minute sessions. 5 mins for each forearm, 5 for wrists and then 5 for hands.

But I also do specific massage whenever I think about it which can be often. Sometimes I think I go overboard. (like today, I had experienced about 5 seconds of sharp pain in my right wrist (twice) So I did extra massaging on my wrists. Then later tonight The 10 seconds of pain became an hour.
Thank you for your continued support in my ongoing battle.

BTW: it seems the pain I do experience has changed due to massage which I do believe seems to be postive. Instead of 4-5 days of pain and a couple days of no pain I experienced nearly 2 weeks of no pain, just some tightness and sometimes a very dull ache, then progressively over a few days it got worse.

But the pain has almost completely been in my wrist/forearms now instead of my fingers/palm.


Joshua Comments:

Here's a not-very-specific rule: You can do as much self massage as you want...as long as you aren't hurting/damaging yourself.

You can overdo it, like tenderizing meat. But if you're doing a little bit, all over, regularly, it's unlikely you're hurting yourself.

Pay attention and listen to your body. It's a skill you're learning.

And note that the 'healing' process consists of ups and downs, just like the 'injury' process consists of downs and ups. -Just- because there's a return of pain doesn't necessarily mean there's a problem, as all those adjustments happen in the tissue and chemistry.

I suspect that you're just now accurately feeling what's happening in the forearms now, whereas before your nervous system wasn't translating it to your conscious brain.

Make sense?

May 10, 2010
Update - Hand and Wrist Pain from Weight Lifting, Playing Guitar, and Computer Use
by: Anonymous

Hey Joshua.

Things seem to be getting better, extra slowly but surely.

I have been keeping a journal of everything I do and every pain/ache/burn/or sting I feel. It has been 33 Days since my last major attack (where the pain lasted a majority of the day.) and 19 days since i have experienced any actual pain.

I have been experiencing some stinging on and off. The last worst day was may 6th, Where I experienced 3 hours of stinging. Mostly its been 1-2 seconds here and there at most and it gets a little better every day and then when it peaks the next time its been a little less pain and shorter total duration than the time before.

I can open my hands all the way again with no tightness. And except for my peak bad days I can turn my wrist up/down/and sideways without feeling any pain or much tightness.

When I try to stretch my arm straight out and also move my wrist up or down I do feel a big stretch trying that. I have been doing some light rehab weight exercises.

The journal has really helped me stay positive especially during times I feel some stinging because I get discouraged easily and have felt many times like I would be handicapped like this the rest of my life, and the journal has helped me keep things in perspective and see when I do make some progress.

I have been also doing a massive amount of ice dipping 4 hours a day 45-60 dips. I am gonna keep that number up until either my hands/arms stop stinging/aching altogether or time restraints coming up in a couple weeks force me to halve them.

How much longer do you think it will take for me to be healed from this?


Joshua Comments:

Hey, thanks for the update.

It sounds like, as you say, it's getting better and better. Faster is better than slower, of course....

You're doing a lot of ice dipping, great.

And I wonder if we don't need to fine tune your self-massage. I bet that there's a couple little areas that if you specifically open them up, that will go a long way.

1. Where is the stinging? Deep, or superficial like on the skin?

2. Any muscle fatigue?

May 11, 2010
by: Anonymous

1. The stinging usually occurs in one or 2 of my fingers and/or thumb, excluding the pinky.
I think when I do feel the stinging its deep.

2. Yes I do feel muscle fatigue but I think its usually during/after doing some activity. (I have been extremely limiting and being very careful on how much I do.)

Regarding the massaging, I have been mostly focusing on the inner elbow part of my forearm on both my arms becuase 1 that seems to be the only place that feels tight at the touch and 2 that's where this nightmare began.
Sidenote: On the bad days, I sometimes feel worse after massaging. Like the stinging doesn't start until after.

Thanks Joshua

May 18, 2010
by: Anonymous

Hopefully I'm not jinxing myself here but The last day of stinging was the 10th, for the past 8 days I have instead been experiencing, whatever is less than a sting: a pinching I suppose.

***Knock on Wood*** I think it is sometimes deep and sometimes on the surface.

Muscle fatigue, I think yes, mostly during/after an activity. ie computer, ect.


Joshua Comments:

Muscle fatigue can come from the muscle being tight for TOO LONG. And connective tissue shrinkwraps and makes the muscle STUCK tight.

It can take some time of consistent work to start loosening those structures up.

So it makes sense that as you keep at it, it will get better and better.

Sometimes it happens fast, sometimes slow, it just all depends on the person and many other factors.

Keep at it!

Jun 08, 2010
by: Anonymous

Unfortunately the stinging came back for 4 days (short 2 second each day) left for 9 more, then came back so far for only 2 days, (2 seconds one day then on + off for an hour the next) I have noticed that when I get an ache or burning in my arm or wrist it goes away soon after I massage my elbow area but I cannot seem to find a spot that does that for the stinging in my index. Any suggestion on where to focus my massaging?


Joshua Comments:

1. Describe the stinging more. And where exactly do you feel it?

2. That's still progress, with pain/symptoms down to just a couple seconds and going away.

3. Still, as you alluded to, it's now about finding the last vestiges of problem and digging them out. Back to question #1.

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