Is GUITAR Tendonitis the same as PIANO Tendonitis?

by Rhys Smith
(Perth, WA, Australia)

I am a professional pianist, and have recently experienced the symptoms you describe on your website... in BOTH my wrists/forearms.

About 6 months ago, I developed RSI in only my left hand as I was completing my final piano exams as part of my studies at WAAPA (West Australian Academy of Performing Arts).

After finishing all my exams, I abstained from regular piano practice for about a month or so. As discussed in your website, we humans tend to think that if we take time off from whatever activity caused us the symptoms, then it'll heal with time.

So, 7 months later into my professional music career and now I have tendonitis symptoms in both wrists/forearms. I noticed the onset of pain/muscle tightness in a short space of time - and this is why I'm convinced I've got an injury (RSI).

Days leading up to the injury, I started practicing a technical piano exercise that involved stretching the hands, however, NOT maintaining a state of relaxation in the muscles of the forearms.

In addition to increasing my dietary protein intake, magnesium, Vitamin B6, and Omega 3 (Krill Oil), I have been trying to treat my tendonitis by using both the "Ice Dipping" and the "Dixie Cup Ice Massage" methods separately and have found that I haven't completely reversed my problem yet. I have been doing this for a few weeks now.

I have also tried to limit my piano practice/performance during this period, so that when I am better again, I can return to practicing/playing piano 5 hours a day, as my profession demands.

What are your thoughts/suggestions?

Rhys Smith


Joshua Answers:

Hi Rhys.

Basically, yes, guitar tendonitis is the same as piano tendonitis, with slight variation.

Tendonitis is tendonitis, with some variation for specifics of different body parts/different repetitive action.

As you've learned,
Rest doesn't fix Tendonitis.

And being a piano player, it's not particularly surprising that you have Wrist Tendonitis Symptoms.

A little nutritional deficiency, a little repetitive movement, hello Tendonitis!

It sounds like you already know how Tendonitis works. If not, see: See: What Is Tendonitis

Ice Dipping, as seen on the How To Reduce Inflammation page, doesn't fix anything per se, it just lowers pain levels and inflammation levels (and that does all sorts of great things).

Ultimately, my thoughts are that you need to do more self care. It's kind of like a tug of war...negative factors pulling in one direction, you adding positive factors to pull in the other direction.

If you don't do enough, and enough of the RIGHT stuff, then negative factors win at whatever level they're winning (mild, moderate, severe symptoms).

If you have the wrist tendonitis or guitar tendonitis ebooks, use the contact form and I'll help you fine tune what you're doing for better results.

Congratulations on advancing to professional level in your field. That's awesome.

Now, good news/bad news, you need to master how to keep your body/machine/instrument in good working shape.

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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Feb 16, 2016
Ongoing wrist and hand pain from guitar and piano
by: Nick

Hi my name is nick. I started playing guitar about 2 years ago and fell in love with it.

I played everyday for hours and never really had any major pain in my wrists or hands.

Then I started playing piano too and after about 2 months my right forearm, wrist, and hand started hurting.

It took about four or five months for me to be able to play guitar without pain again and I also started plying piano again. My hands felt good for a few months, but then the pain came back again.

Now it has been about 4 months since they started hurting and I hardly ever play guitar anymore because my hands hurt afterward every time and I always feel like I am making the problem worse. After playing guitar, my hand and forearm often feels cold and then starts aching later.

If I don't play guitar my hands feel better but they still hurt a little especially when I type.

Does this sound like tendinitis to you? I would really appreciate your help, playing music became my passion a couple years ago and it's demoralizing and frustrating to not be able to do it anymore.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Nick.

Unfortunately you didn't leave your email nor check the notifications box.

Let me know if you find this so we can continue.

Jan 07, 2013
Pain in my hands when I play guitar, It may be tendinitis
by: Chris

Hi, so for a while now I've had pain in my hands when I use them for anything, but particularly when I play guitar. For about two months now it's felt sore and stiff and my hand has felt clumsy afterwards.

I'd like to have a career in music so this is really messing me up. I'm really worried that any playing I'm doing is causing more damage.

Does this sound like tendinitis?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Chris.

It definitely sounds like a Pain Causing Dynamic to me.

Tendonitis is a progressive dynamic of factors increasing negatively (more tightness, more inflammation, more pain, etc).

You probably don't have damage, but it's 100% certain that you have tightness, inflammation, etc.)

See: What Is Tendonitis

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