Guitar Player, Tendonitis on the triceps side of the arm

by Charan


First of all thanks so much for the information on this site. It's been really helpful.

I have tendonitis in several places on both arms, but moreso on the right arm (I'm right handed). I have mild golfer's elbow, mild tennis elbow and quite painful triceps tendonitis on the inner side of each elbow.

I must have got this problem through overuse: I was playing guitar for 4+ hours a day, doing weights (with FAR too much weight on tricep exercises) and also doing martial arts three times a week.

I've had this for about 4 months. Resting it for that time hasn't really made any difference.

I've been dipping it in ice for over a week now, and although it has been somewhat helpful, I tried playing my guitar for 30 minutes and the pain came right back and stayed for a couple of days afterwards.

I've started added stretching and self massage which seems to have a good short term effect, but I haven't been doing it for long enough to see if it's going to help in the long run. My triceps does feel tight, which makes sense from your description of the tendonitis dynamic.

Anyway, do you have any advice for my type of tendonitis? Would any of your DVDs help with this problem? I can't seem to find any information on triceps tendonitis on the internet, and my doctor just told me to rest and use ibuprofen gel.

I really want to be able to play guitar again, please help!


Joshua Answers:

Ahhh, doctors....

Rest and Ibuprofen just aren't going to help you, period. I think you've figured this out by now.

The good news about Triceps Tendonitis is that it's just regular Tendonitis, but in a specific location, and maybe with a couple minor characteristics unique to the structure/area.

The point is, you have pain in a variety of areas, and you are a guitar player.

I keep getting questions from guitar players, I really do need to make a video and dvd for you guys, as the forearm pain from guitar is a bit deeper and tougher to deal with than normal computer related Tennis Elbow and Golfers Elbow.

prob, you'll just need to work smarter to get out of pain and stay out of pain, I can help you with that.

If I were you, I would get 'The Tennis Elbow Treatment That Works'.

It has the bases of what you need, can be applied to your entire arm, will help shift various of the reasons that got you where you are at, and will show you how to reverse your Pain Causing Dynamic.

And we will use it as a base of info to work from, I'll need to add in a couple things for you specific to your guitar playing pain.

I would also increase your Magnesium for Tendonitis intake, as described on my Kerri's Magnesium Dosage page.

And, of course, my favorite suggestion for nutrition for healing and avoiding Tendonitis related issues, Bone Broth as the best Tendon Supplements.

So, some questions:

1. How exactly have you been icing? How long, and if you have been ice dipping, are you getting up over the elbow to get the Triceps tendonitis? (I assume that you mean at the elbow, as opposed to up at the shoulder)

2. How old are you?

3. What martial art?

4. Weightlifting wise, do you do that for fun, for health, or to add muscle? Mostly I'm looking for what kind of weightlifter you are for an idea of how you use your body.

5. Quickly describe how your are stretching and massaging too.

It looks like you're on the right track, doing most of the right things. Now it's just a matter of fine tuning what you are doing for maximum results and least amount of time and effort.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Aug 02, 2009
PART 2 - Guitar Player, Tendonitis on the triceps side of the arm
by: Charan


Thanks so much for the quick reply! I will order the tennis elbow DVD after I've this reply. I think a guitar DVD is a good idea - it would also be useful if you could put some preventative exercises on the DVD such as warm ups and stretches to use before we start practice.

Here are the answers to your question:

1. I have been ice dipping. For an hour in the morning, and an hour in the evening I've been dipping every ten minutes or so for ten seconds each time. I dip right over the elbow. up to about mid-way up the triceps muscles.

2. I'm 25

3. I'm glad you asked, because this is something I forgot to mention. I do Jeet Kune Do, but we do a lot of Filipino arts that includes Kali/Escrima. This is a stick based martial art, and at the same time I was playing 4 hours of guitar and doing weights, we were concentrating on stick fighting. We were also doing sparring with sticks and I took quite a few blows to the triceps... which can't have been good for them! But for about 4 months I've hardly touched my sticks. On the few occasions when I have, I'd had pain and weakness, especially in my right arm.

4. I was doing weightlifting for general strength more than adding muscle. I was using free weights rather than machines, so bad form may have played a part in my injury. I haven't picked up weights, or done any upper body training since I've had this tendonitis.

5. The only stretch I know for the triceps is holding the arm up and reaching down between the shoulder blades.

For massaging I'm doing the "hammertime" massage you've described on this site, and also using my thumb to firmly press and rub around the elbow joint, and up the triceps towards the shoulder.

Thanks again for all your help!

Aug 03, 2009
PART 3 - Guitar Player, Tendonitis on the triceps side of the arm
by: Charan

I have one more question... I don't want to aggravate the problem anymore, but you recommend getting back to using the tendon.

When should/can I go back to playing guitar? What signs should I look out for? And should I start with a very small amount (e.g., 10 minutes per day) and work up?

Thanks again,


Joshua Comments:

Good questions.

I would do a little bit of guitar every day. It gets you good information: how long, how sore, how much icing does it take to counter, like that.

Rest is fine, but immobilization is BAD. Keep things moving. If you play guitar, afterwards, play guitar the opposite direction.


Which means, instead of curling/moving the wrist and fingers inward, curl/move them the opposite direction for a bit.

Also, in the context of 'movement is life', keep your arm moving, smoothly, easily, without strain. That's a little vague, but play with it.

You are doing all the right kinds of things, now it's just a matter of fine tuning.

Ultimately, keeping at it is the key. It's not fun or sexy, but it's the path to results.

Jul 16, 2011
by: Anonymous

No offense.. But so far, in my 1.5 years googleing this issue. I've not heard one success story. Not one person chime in and say "hey, I can play just as much as I used to". Does this actually happen?

I just bought your ebook, and I went through 6 months or so of pt, so it looks to me that you are showing us how to do pt on ourselves. the only difference is that you are telling us to ice every ten minutes for an hour. Those six months i spent in pt were the worst pain i have been in.

took 6 months just to get to a point without pain. took 15 minutes of guitar playing to hurt again, and one day on your ice/pt regimen to be in as much pain as i was in pt. So, does anyone actually get healed?



Joshua Comments:

Hi Matthew.

No offense taken. I have no issue with questions or challenges. It's all part of the process.

So. Even if you did find hundreds of testimonials on the internet saying "I'm fixed, whee!", it wouldn't actually make any difference for YOU.

It only matters if any particular process works for -you-. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

It's probably a bad business decision, but I avoid the topic of using testimonials to create 'credibility'. In all my years I've only asked for testimonials once. Probably I should have more of them here on my site, but my personal philosophy is that they don't matter for YOU.

Ultimately, you have to take a chance and try something new. And people find me after their doctors and PT's fail them.

Healing from pain requires that you look for answers until you find them.

You went to PT for 6 months and it didn't help you.

PT didn't explain why you have pain.
PT didn't explain why you still have pain.
PT didn't explain why they failed to fix you, nor will they admit that they failed.

I do challenge you to ACTUALLY read the ebook you got from me. If you think I said to ice for ten minutes every hour (I definitely did not say that), if you think that there's 'no difference' and that I'm having you do the same thing PT had you do, if you think that there's no difference between the content of the ebook and what PT had you do, then you HAVE NOT READ THE EBOOK.

There's a reason that you hurt just as bad after one day on my regimen (I wonder what exactly you did....?). Tendonitis is a predictable dynamic. OF COURSE you have just as much pain as you had. No mystery there.

You have to reverse that Tendonitis dynamic and fix the CAUSE of the problem if you ever want your pain to go away.

Put your PT experience in the past where it belongs and start over with the Reversing Guitar Tendonitis ebook.

There likely will be some pain along the way as you stir the pot and make changes. It's just a measure of the health of the ecology of your arm.

Jul 23, 2011
Yup. T4 Syndrome
by: Matthew webster

There seems to be a breakthrough here. The reason i have had this pain in my arms, elbows, forearms, wrists and hands is not tendonitis. I just got diagnosed yesterday with t4 syndrome. Sometimes called upper thoracic syndrome.


Joshua Comments:

Yeah, tendonitis -symptoms- can come from a variety of directions.

For instance, Vitamin D deficiency can also be responsible for the symptoms you describe.

Did your diagnosis differentiate between Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and T4 syndrome? One is a function of spinal alignment (there's more to it than that, or couse), and one is not.

Jul 23, 2011
Thoracic Vs T4
by: Anonymous

Well, the initial conversation over the phone with said "Diagnosee" thought it might be Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, but after all test it came out to be T4.



Joshua Comments:

Well, ultimately, it all comes down to the Downward Spiral - muscles get tight, connective tissue shrinkwraps, muscles get tighter, etc.

The tighter things get, the less well the body works and the more tension (pulling in all directions and then the body has to compensate for that with more muscle tightness) that gets created.

The thing to watch out for with 'syndromes' is that they're just labels for a collection of symptoms.

If it's Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, that just means the front area (neck, shoulder, chest) is all pulled forward and tight, thus compressing various structures.

If it's T4, then the same dynamic is in place, PLUS there's some specific out-of-whackness in the spine that is/may be causing some neurological pain/symptoms down the arm.

Chiropractic may help with the spinal aspect, but the tightness dynamic will pull it back, so you have to open the front up to get any lasting results.

You may or may not still have issue in the forearms.

Essentially you have to chip away at the factors that cause pain and see what gets left.

(And do the nutrition from the ebook!)

Sep 19, 2011
Pre-action thanks! - Guitar Player, Tendonitis on the triceps side of the arm
by: Max Earth

Just read these pages, having just figured-out I've guitar-player's tendinitis. A relief in one way - it ain't bone cancer, etc.

Real sad about the neg effects on spending my later years just whiling-away my days playing the axe(s), though!

My Dad, now 90, was a "Deep Tissue Massage (or "Rolfing") therapist" in his day, as well as an Acupuncturist - I was his guinea-pig for both! (Ouch! But GOOD!) So your later comments about tight muscle 'sacks' etc ring bells, and I see a worthy way to ease the stress. Very painful treatment 1st time or 2, but hugely beneficial over the long term, with occasional follow-up sessions.

But for now, thanks for your advice(s) Joshua!
I might let you know how I go, Bro'!

But I gotto be able to play the guito, though! Y'know?


Joshua Comments:

Yeah, I do know!

Let me know how it goes.

Make sure to utilize Magnesium for Tendonitis.

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