Thumb Tendonitis and/or Guitar Tendonitis, Debilitating is the word.
The twitches/pain spot for my thumb tendonitis.
Hi Mister Joshua,
Congratulations for this website. I know how long and how much work it took to get it done.
So, I have a tendonitis due to guitar playing in my left forearm (I play notes/chords with the left hand). I've seen a fellow physiotherapist for 7 months now with minimal results so she finally sent me to an Orthopedic Surgeon.
He says I have Tendonitis in one or both of the thumb tendons. His solution : 2 years break OR Cortisone shots. If it does not help, Surgery.
Far from interesting.
The pain is equal to the amount of guitar I play.
If I stop playing, the pain goes away within 2-3 days (the shrinking does not go away).
The pain is rarely present when my arm is at rest. Twitches/pain in my tendons (in a very specific spot (see attached picture)) mainly occurs when I use my thumb and index to pinch things but also occurs when I play piano, type on keyboard, play games with joy stick (anything that involves the thumb).
I have random mild pain in all the muscle (from the elbow to the thumb) but it’s way less than the twitches/pain in the spot. Also everything in my left arms seems to be shrinked. I can't stretch it as far as my right arm.
I guess this is caused by two traumas I foolishly inflicted to me:
Two years ago I had a show to do in a short period of time and had to practice too much on acoustic guitar. I also had to play while standing up which was new to me. I ended doing the show on ibuprofen to lower the buzz I had in my thumb, index, middle and the half of the ring finger. I also experience major pain (like electric shock) accompanied by a click in the wrist when playing barre chords.
The arm shrinkage appeared then too.
I stopped playing right after the show and went to physiotherapy, exercises, ultra sound.. EMG (which revealed no problem). That really looked like Carpal tunnel syndrome but I was told it was only over use. It repaired but my hand/wrist/forearm never came back as strong as before.
I stopped 9 month (just playing once in a while ) and switched to electric guitar (less strength required) and started a course in which I had to learn scales and solos. A new pain appeared in my forearm (thumb muscles) as I was practicing 1 hour a day. Also I learned later that during that period I stretched too much because I misunderstood my physio's directions. I did not do enough warm ups too... One night, I played piano too hard with my left hand (thumb and pinky playing an octave to be precise). That is when my current pain spot appeared.
I continued playing for a while and eventually almost stopped for 6 months (just playing once in a while, until pain was almost gone..) and then started seeing my current physiotherapist.
By the way, I work as a computer technician……
So here are my questions (finally);
Which of your DVD should I buy? You seem to be directing guitarists to the Tennis elbow treatment.. Does the one for guitarist contain all the info found in the elbow + the ones required for guitarists? Why is it cheaper?
What if the tendon/muscle is injured? Does your DVD will help me repair that?
Does the problem reside in the way I play? Position / too much muscle tension? I would REALLY like to know what move I do that is actually CAUSING it in the first place!!! Nobody seems able to answer that. As for cortisone shots and surgery, won't the DVD "patch" the problem and as soon as I go back to playing the wrong way... It will come back? I mean, how does the DVD solve the very source of the problem?
I have a show in 4 month. I started practicing more since January because of that and the problem is just worsening. Should I continue playing or cancel the show while I start on your DVD? How long does it takes to be cured?
Thank you very, very much for your help!
Lots of questions, GREAT! Thanks for the all the details and picture too, very helpful.
I'll try to stay in order here...
1. 2 years break?!? Wow. That is a prescription based on nothing but hope. Meaning, he hopes that'll do it.
It's predictable that if you take 2 years off, when you get back to playing, this same pain will be there sooner than later.
Corticosteroid Injection? Granted I'm biased because I work with all the people that shots didn't work for, but while it may decrease your pain, it's unlikely to 'cure' you.
Surgery? That last in line on the list of 'standard of care' methods. What -exactly- would they cut on to fix this, I wonder?
2. Re: Twitching. This could be spasm from a Trigger Point (meaning a small set of muscle fibers stuck in spasm and creating lots of irritant/waste product).
My first suggestion for spasm and twitch is to supplement with Magnesium for Tendonitis.
That page will explain that, make sure to follow the 'magnesium dosage' link at the bottom.
3. Re: Elbow to thumb pain: Overall, you're looking at a Pain Causing Dynamic affecting the entire area. Meaning, progressive mechanism of Process of Inflammation, tightness, and pain.
(CONTINUED IN PART 2)
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Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert