Almost two years of chronic severe tendonitis pain from playing guitar

by Matthew Webster

I got back into playing guitar after a 8 year break. I did not quit playing 8 years ago because of pain, I was just working on a career.

So, long story short.. I got a career, bought some VERY expensive guitars that I could never afford before. Started of right where I left off.. playing 4-6 hours a day, re-learning scales, arpegios, all that fun stuff.

All of a sudden I woke up one day to a very painful hand. I couldn't even hold a mouse (pc).

So I laid off for a few days. It felt OK, so I started back. BAM! pain in both hands, base of thumb, fingers, hand, wrists, forearms. elbows. I went to doctors who said it was carpal tunnel.

Had a EMG that was negative. So they guessed it was tendonitis.. NSAIDs (naproxen) twice a day @ 500mg. Then Darvocet. Then 5mg hydrocodone, 7.5mg, 10mg.

Excruciating Physical therapy for 4-6 months. Went to a different doctor. Had an MRI on just my left hand (I play left handed, so this would be my picking hand) and I had a torn ligament at the base of my thumb. Most likely from the physical therapy.

Wore a cast for three weeks. It was fixed, now back to the rest.

Then my shoulders started hurting from over-use by trying not to use my hands/arms. Doctor tried telling me i had Chronic Pain Syndrome.

Had my gallbladder taken out due to rib pain at the same time. Now my ribs and shoulders don't hurt. And after all this time the pain in my hands and arms finally went away. All of it!

So Tuesday (three days ago) I played my guitar for the 1st time in 6 months, only for 15 minutes.

All the pain in my hands, fingers, wrists, and forearms is back! WTH! This is very discouraging to say the least. Do you know how much a lefty PRS costs? to not be able to play it. I just don't know what to do now.


Joshua Answers:

Holy shit what??

I'm going to say that again.

Holy shit what???

Matthew, your story has earned my first bad word added to a response on my website.

They took your gall bladder out?????

That's F'ing crazy. That's kind of like "Let's cut his leg off to see if it helps
his arms feel better."

Your doctors officially get this month's 'YOUR DOCTOR'S SMOKING CRACK' award.

Plus the Darvacet and hydrocodone before that....because they guessed that you had

Technically, you did have Chronic Pain Syndrome. Which is a label for a collection of symptoms, which basically means 'You hurt and we have no idea why or how to fix it.'

Grrrr, sometimes I get mad at doctors. Well, everytime they mess someone up unnecessarily I get mad about that. Taking out someone's gallbladder without any good reason to is unfortunately a common occurrence.

So, what's going on with all this pain? I need more information, but my first response is nutritional deficiency.

Magnesium, for sure. You need it. See: Magnesium for Tendonitis

The fact that you're fine one day and in extreme and lasting pain the next points to a few things, again nutritional deficiency being a primary player.

Magneisum, Vitamin D, B12, probably B6. You're body just can't work correctly with deficiencies in these.

I highly recommend my The Tennis Elbow Treatment That Works DVD and companion ebook that comes with.

You need to understand the dynamic, the nutrition, why pain stays and how to get rid of it.

Another 8 years of rest isn't going to fix anything. And of course the shoulders started to hurt as your body compensated.

You are hurting for a reason(s). The trick is to adequately address said reason(s). Otherwise, it will be a lot of effort with little to no result.

Even that torn ligament happened for a predictable, reliable set of factors. Knowing what they are and how to deal with them is the KEY to getting better.

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 Almost two years of chronic severe tendonitis pain from playing guitar

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Dec 23, 2011
Response to 3 questions
by: Matthew Webster

1.) 50% vitamin d levels. Good vitamin d levels are between 50 and 80 I believe. Mine was at 12. It is now above 50.

2.) symptoms. I have severe burning in back at t4 and t8, between shoulder blades, on shoulder blades, shoulders, down arms.. Sometimes when it is really bad the pain gets referred through to my chest. It was only in my arms, wrists , hands for about 1.5 yrs, now the arms aren't too much of a problem.

3.) Self care activities. I take vitamin c and d. I take pain pills I go to pt twice a week which pretty much makes me hurt everyday. I drink plenty of water.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Matthew.

Vit D level over 50. Good.

Aside from nutrition and getting your body full of Magnesium, I'm guessing that if you were to have someone take a picture of you standing sideways, I would see 'forward neck', hunched forward shoulders, and a certain roundedness of the back.

I'd be very surprised if I didn't see that. Email me a picture.

If your posture happens to be perfect, then that will be an entirely different conversation. Email me a side view picture, head to knee.

Dec 22, 2011
Update From Matthew
by: Anonymous

Well, most of my hand/wrist/arm pain is gone, as most of my pain is now in my shoulders and back. Something along the lines of t4 syndrome. I'm a lot better, but not well. Still on pain killers. And the pain from pt is taking its toll. I keep having to remind myself just how bad it used to be.


Joshua Comments:

Well, 'better' is worth something.

And just so as we're on the same page, you didn't answer #1 or #3, and #2 could use some fleshing out.

You don't have to of course, but without it there's not much for me to give as a response.

Dec 22, 2011
Reply to Matthew
by: The Tendonitis Expert

Hey Matthew.

It looks like I didn't respond to your last post....

1. What does 50% vitamin D level mean, exactly? Are you now between 50-80 ng/ml?

2. Update me on your symptoms.

3. Update me on your self care activities.

Dec 22, 2011
Straighten Your Wrist While Playing Guitar
by: Nicky

I'm a guitar player at the Musicians Institute in HollyWood CA. I play 6-8 hours a day and can not afford to take time off. My wrist started to develop a slight pain about 2 months ago.

I asked some instructors about it and I started taking an anti-inflammatory and rubbing icy hot on my wrist as well as fixing my technique. This involved practicing with a lighter touch and straightening out my wrist when i play so its not being stressed.

To do this you have to bring your guitar neck closer to your face or raise your guitar strap.

Jul 24, 2011
Joshua Replies - Matthew - Almost two years of chronic severe tendonitis pain from playing guitar
by: The Tendonitis Expert


Joshua Comments:

Poor nutrition, and low nutrition, takes it's toll over time. Including gallstones and intense pain/muscle pain.

And, I'm still not a fan of removing the gall bladder. Still, what's done is done.

Your docs gave you painkillers, but didn't address the CAUSE of your pain.

You MUST keep on the nutrition. That's primary.

My ebook/DVD products may sound a lot like PT, but aren't. PT for the most part doesn't look for the cause of your pain/problem, don't talk about nutritional factors at all, etc.

And while some things may be similar, it's important to use the RIGHT tool, the RIGHT variation, to actually find the source of the problem and get the job done.

I'm sure I could come up with a computer analogy......

Jul 17, 2011
Reply from Matthew Webster
by: Anonymous

Sorry bout that, I just kinda threw the gallbladder removal in there. Well, during the tendonitis in arms, then shoulders really hurting from overuse (i was literally steering my car with my shoulder as to not use my hand muscles), all of a sudden I had serious pain in my right rib cage, my abdomen, my upper middle back, and when that all got bad it would hurt on my left rib cage. So they did a CT scan, and I had "Quite a few gallstones". SO I had the gallbladder out. It was obviousely the problem, because the rib, abdomen, back pain is all gone.

Now the Reason they gave me hydrocodone and such is that this pain was not like the normal little pain, it has lasted almost two years, and it hurt severely. COnstand sharp throbbing pain, in my elbows, forarms, wrists, hands and all of the fingers. When I went to PT, my arms and fingers bruised, and swelled up so bad that I have not worn my watch or wedding ring for a year.
I did not mention the doc did test my vit D levels. I was at a staggering 12%!!!
So we got my vit D levels now up to 50%.
Just last week the pain in my fingers, hands, wrists and elbow all went away. Slowly over 6 months, no gutiar at all! So I picked up the guitar, for abou 10-15 minutes. Not really playing, just warm up stuff. and I noticed it all tightened up, so I stopped. And since then the fingers all hurt right before, and after each joint, not in the joint. My thumbs both hurt really bad at the base where it meets the wrist, my wrists hurt, forearms, and elbows at the top part. Now in the beginning of this my elbows hurt at the ulner and radial nerves, but not this time, this time it is on top, I think it is called tennis elbow. Shoulders don't hurt much right now. I am taking vit D3, Vit B6, Magnesium, and omega 3s. My diet my whole life has pretty much consisted of hamburgers and fries. I drink alot of water. I eat alot better since all of this. Good meats, milk, water, veggies, etc. I pretty much have cut out fast foods. I don't really know how much of these vitamins I need to take or how long to take them.
You said the tennis elbow ebook? is that like the guitar tendonitis book? I got that one, whick sounds alot like the PT I had, but with alot of icing. It all hurts alot now from doing day 1.
I am 35 years old. 5'9" 170Lb.
My job is IT consulting. SOunds like alot of PC work, but really, I am not on the computer much. I drive around all day going to clients offices, spend anywhere from 10Min. to 1Hr. on the computer. SO probably 4 Hrs a day all spread out. Have been doing IT consulting for around 10 years.

Thanks in advance


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