Wrist Tendonitis from guitar playing / weight lifting

by Nick

Hi, my name is Nick and I am 20 years old living in Richmond, Virginia.

When I was in high school I had wrist tendonitis as a result of playing the marching band (clarinet), but I was prescribed to wear a wrist-splint and the pain went away eventually and suprisingly did not come back. It was not as intense as others have described, just inconvenient as I had to play the instrument.

Now that I've returned from my freshmen year of college, I have started (about a month ago) a strict workout routine of 5-6 days of a cardio a week and 2-3 days of endurance lifting. I know what I'm doing when it comes to lifting, as I've had lots of demonstration and help with it to make sure I'm doing it right.

I also started playing guitar (electric) again, as I did not have it in college with me.

But recently, I suppose form playing guitar and lifting, I've developed tendonitis, in both wrists. The worst time I feel the pain is when, for example, lifting a weight to put it on the bar such as bench or any machine, and when I release the weight its a sharp pain in my wrists, and sometimes even further down my forearm.

At this point I have been looking online and found your site, which seems to have LOTS of great information, especially compared to other sites which simply define tendonitis.

So my question to you is, what can I do to help permanently get rid of this tendonitis, and will I have to stop lifting and playing guitar completely for a while (which would suck to be honest)?

I read about icing and basically staying off it, but what steps should someone in my position take to essentially 'cure' it and prevent it from ever coming back?

- thanks in advance,


Joshua Answers:

Hey Nick. Thanks for the good description of what is going on.

1. That sounds like a classic case of the onset of Tendonitis. It shows up, it hurts, it goes away, a person does some activity and it comes back.

You already had a Tendonitis dynamic in place before you got back into lifting and playing guitar. You just pushed it along it's predictable path of progression.

2. I hope you didn't read about 'staying off it' on my site. I'm not a fan of rest or staying off a Tendonitis 'injury', except for the very short term, like 3 days, while a person actively starts to get rid of the problem.

3. You -may- have the wear and tear damage
kind of Wrist Tendonitis. I suspect, however, that you just have the too-tight-muscles-and-connective-tissue kind of pain dynamic.

You use your muscles. They get tight. Connective tissue shrink wraps. You use your muscles more. The nervous gets all sorts of 'too tight and we're going to get hurt' information from the tissue, and tightens down even more to protect you, which includes kicking in a Process of Inflammation.

4. As far as a cure, first things first (which may or may not be the wrist tendonitis cure for you).

Do the Ice Dipping as described on the How To Reduce Inflammation.

The more you do, the faster your pain will go away.

Also, do the 'Hammer Time' activity (really need a better name for that....) on one of the Tennis Elbow pages. I'm going to make you look for it because it will be beneficial for you to look through those pages, as guitar players tend to get a Tennis Elbow dynamic, but on the opposite side of the forearm (which is Golfer's Elbow.)

5. In other words, you have Inflammation, and your muscles and connective tissue are too tight.

This equals pain.

Easy to reverse, and in the short term you can stay as active as you want -if- you counter that with an appropriate amount of self care.

I say it makes it easier if you go light for 3-5 days, Ice Dip it hard, and then begin to up your activity level and see how X amount of Ice Dipping interacts with Y amount of activity.

Make sense?

6. Absolutely, positively, start making and eating Bone Broth as the best Tendon Supplement.

I can't emphasize this enough for you.

7. If you ice heavily, and Hammer Time for 1-2 weeks, your pain will be greatly reduce and/or gone, then we can start looking to see if you have any actual tendon tendonitis damage.

Ask questions. I'm happy to answer

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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Apr 07, 2016
Haven't been able to play guitar for 11 yrs
by: Steve Arsenault

I have been to over 30 doctors and still nobody has a clue to what is wrong with my hand..

Some of the best Doctors in Boston have tested and told me they don't think I have Carpal T or Tendonitis..

But my latest doctor thinks I wore out my Tendons in my hand..

I was doing a lot of studio work and I use to play 8-12 hrs a day.. And I do really heavy vibratos and used to grip the guitar neck really hard..

Now if I play I lose dexterity and it hurts and I have numbness.. I heard of a famous movie producer who hung out of a window for 3 hrs because his hotel was on fire.. And his hand was frozen into a claw shape.. I wish there was someone who could help me!!!!!....


Joshua Comments:

Hi Steve.

Unfortunately, those doctors don't have the educatation to understand the tendonitis dynamic/how the body functions.

It's all about the a href="https://www.tendonitisexpert.com/pain-causing-dynamic.html">Pain Causing Dynamic

What does 'your tendons wore out' even mean? Did the doctor say how/why exactly that happened? Presumably he didn't tell you how to fix it...

That producer guy's hand froze up for a few reasons (again, see the pain causing dynamic page).

It's not rocket science, your scenario is reversible (if it's tendonitis-related).

The question is, are those doctors correct? Is it not Tendonitis?

1 Why do the doctors think it isn't tendonitis? What do they think is the cause (presuming they offered anything other than shrugging their shoulders and sending you on your way).

2. List yours symptoms

3. Do you have any other health issues going on?

May 09, 2014
Tendonitis or CTS from Playing Guitar and Lifting Weights
by: Jacob

Hi. I've been noticing a weird tightening, tingly feeling on the nerves of my forearm. This occurs when I play my guitar repeatedly.

I also sometimes feel a shooting pain down my arm, it feels like its in my veins (This doesn't happen often). I'm not sure if this might be cts or tendonitis. I'm also not sure if my guitar playing is causing it, or how I've been lifting weights improperly lately ( not letting muscles rest and having an improper grip on the weight).

Do you have any idea what this might be and what I should do about it?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Jacob.

Oh, I have LOTS of ideas what it might be. Mostly centered around the Pain Causing Dynamic (tightness, inflammation, etc)

Read this thread (and follow the links in it to learn more about it), and see this one too: Guitar Tendonitis Or It Hurts When I Play Guitar

Feb 25, 2013
17 years old, playing since 13, guitar tendonitis for 11 months
by: Jaques

Hi i have had guitar tendonitis for about 11 months. I'm 17 years old and i have been playing since i was 13.It has gotten a lot better but still hurts.

I used to play for hours but i have not been playing much.I have been to a doctor a lot the only treatments i have not done is surgery, injections, and whatever a prolotherapist does.so far the only thing that has worked is ice dipping witch i learned about from you.

So what my question is to you is what should i do i hear about how some tendonitis does not heal.

My dad has had tendonitis in his thumb for about 11 years.but i heard that thumb tendons do not grow back?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Jaques.

What do you mean 'tendons do not grow back'? Have you had a cut tear to your tendons?

As your dad's example show, the tendonitis dynamic doesn't just go away. But it's not because of the tendons. Tendonitis is not actually a tendon problem. Tendonitis is a progressive dynamic of a number of variables all working together to cause tendon pain.

Unfortunately, all you'll get from doctors is techniques that don't work. They are doomed to fail because they are the wrong tools for the job.

You've gotten onto the ice dipping, good. Keep that up, and make sure the water is arctic cold, and that you dib from fingertip to elbow. Get it all.

Now, check out: Magnesium For Tendonitis

Also, see: Almost Two Years Of Chronic Severe Tendonitis Pain From Playing Guitar

Sep 16, 2009
Wrist pain from guitar playing
by: Eddie


I've been suffering from aching pain in the pinky side of my left wrist, and no matter how much I try to relax my hand when I'm playing, it's still persisting. I'm a pretty active guitarist in a metal band, so this issue is posing a serious problem for me. Do you have any advice on why I'm getting this particular pain, and what I can do to cure it?



Joshua Answers:

Well, right of I'd say that you either have tightness and constriction up at the elbow, and/or tightness and constriction down deep in the pinky side of the wrist, which steps on the hose of the nerve.

Plus inflammation and pain, which makes everything tight, plus all the repetitive use fo the forearm muscles.

My first advice is to read through the other guitar related threads on the Ask The Tendonitis Expert page, and the Inflammation page on the nav bar to the left.

If that doesn't answer all your questions, start a new thread, give me your history and symptoms etc, and we'll work to make all your symptoms go away from there.

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