2 Hours of Acoustic Guitar soloing left my hand in pain!

by Jessica

About 4 1/2 months ago, I was recording acoustic guitar solos. I was playing high up on the fret board where the action is not so good, so I was straining to nail the notes - take after take trying to get the perfect solo (lots of quick notes & movement in my fingers).

A few weeks earlier, I had also switched from light to medium gauge strings. After 2 hours I noticed the back of my hand, wrist and fingers were incredibly tight & sore - so I stopped playing.

The week following, my pain progressively became significant. My entire left hand from wrist to fingers (glove-like) was aching. It was not swollen, but it felt like my hand was bloated and thicker than usual (but not visually).

It was tight and seemed life-less. Simple tasks were painful, like washing my hands, gripping my steering wheel, washing my hair, etc. SO I went to an orthopedic hand doc, who gave me a cortisone shot at the base of my thumb/where the wrist meets.

That did NOT help.

A couple weeks after that, I saw a different doc who sent me to physical therapy - a month's worth showed no progress, so the therapist sent me back to my doc. THAT doc said she had NO idea what the problem was and has referred me to a another "specialist". I haven't met with him yet...

I have played guitar for 16 years and have never experienced a problem like this. But I have a feeling that switching the strings to a heavier gauge, horrible posture, and tensing my entire body while recording was the perfect combo to cause injury.

I also chose to play through the pain, not smart!

Wrist braces caused pain. Anti-inflammatory meds did nothing. The only relief I have found is a heating pad - I literally keep a heating pad wrapped around my hand all day at my desk at work. I've also noticed I keep going to massage my forearm and hand which is temporary relief.

I don't know if this is tendonitis. But wow, I'm open to ANY suggestions. I read about the ice dipping - is there any risk in ice dipping if i DON'T have tendonitis?

Has this happened to any other guitarists out

PS. I had my vitamin levels checked, Vitamin D was extremely low. So I'm on that regiment now with hopes that will help my healing process.

Thanks for giving me a forum to express my situation! Nobody I talk to seems to take my injury seriously...


Joshua Answers:

Hi Jessica.

1. How low was your Vit D? Let's make sure you're on the right track. If you're on the usual 50k i.u.'s of prescription D from the doctor, that's not the right track.

2. Whether we say you have Tendonitis or not, you DEFINITELY have a Tendonitis dyanmic.

See: What Is Tendonitis?

Which means you have had a Pain Causing Dynamic for a good long while, and the playing you describe took you over a certain threshold. Now you're body's stuck in a Process of Inflammation, or at least, in a pain dynamic.

3. There is no downside to Ice Dipping. Were I you I would go after that with a vengeance. For the next several days, ice dip as many times as possible in water as cold as possible.

That may do the trick, depending. Check back in and let me know the results. Potentially if you need the whole meal deal you'll be interested in my Reversing Guitar Tendonitis program.

4. Heat helps because it brings new blood to the area. That's a good sign.

And it's a good sign that self massage helps temporarily.

Go after that Ice Dip, as described on the How To Reduce Inflammation page.

More questions, more answers.

And let me know about the Vit D.

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 2 Hours of Acoustic Guitar soloing left my hand in pain!

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Aug 26, 2015
Middle of Palm and finger pain came on suddenly from playing guitar
by: Donald

I am experiencing pain in the middle of my fretting hand palm, middle finger with stiffness in the finger.

Stretching my fingers straight or backwards makes the pain more acute in the fingers .

It came on very suddenly one day and has been continuing sine then. Rest, ice, Motrin, massage has helped but need to type half a day every day -- but with an ergonomic keyboard.

Pressing on the wrist seems to isolate the pain.

I have been playing acoustic for 3 years and posture and sitting position has not been ideal and probably help the onset. Just trying to get relief from the constant pain.

Sep 01, 2014
Forearm and pectoral are sore from playing guitar
by: Chad

I haven't played guitar in a while so now that I've been practicing but not too much my forearm and left pectoral are sore.

Should I stop or keep going because my skills are starting to return slowly. Any advice will be appreciated. Thanks.



Joshua Comments:

Hi Chad.

Are you just sore like working out in a gym for the first time in a long time sore?

Or are you in 'pain' and fear injury?

If you're just a little sore, you could take a day or two off if you wanted, sure.

Make sure that you understand the Pain Causing Dynamic.

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