#1

The Pain Thread! (If you've ever experienced playing-related pain, THIS is for you!)

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:45 am
by Adam • 157 Posts

Hello Everyone!

Most of us who play guitar have experienced some type of playing-related pain at one point in our development. Sure, not every ache and burning sensation turns out to be serious, but I am going to share my personal experience that will definitely open some eyes, hopefully benefit others, and also hopefully encourage others to share their experiences, as well!

I will start off by stating that, in my opinion, any type of recurring pain is cause to stop and evaluate some things. Ideally, the solution may require something as simple as a slight adjustment of technique. On the other hand, it's far better to seek professional advice, as opposed to just guessing and rolling the dice in hopes of a quick fix. Here's my story:

In early 2015, I developed a slight pain and tingling sensation in my right index finger (my picking hand). I ignored it for weeks, until eventually I literally woke up one morning with a shooting pain down my entire right arm and my right index finger completely numb. The sensation in the entire arm would come and go, but the index finger was numb 24-hours-a-day. Even still, I waited a couple of more WEEKS until I finally mentioned this to Pebber.

His advice? STOP PLAYING IMMEDIATELY, AND SEEK OUT A CHIROPRACTOR WHO DOES KINESIOLOGY MUSCLE TESTING AND ACUPUNCTURE. I found such a chiropractor, and within minutes of my very first visit, I was informed that the reason for the pain, tingling, and numbness in my right index finger originated from a disc at the base of my neck, behind my right shoulder! It was this cluster of nerves which were affecting my entire right arm, all the way to the tip of my index finger. I completely stopped playing; never even picked up a guitar, and it took about 4 months of weekly treatment (chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture) before I was able to start playing even the most basic picking and warm-up exercises again. This may seem like a long time to some folks, but it was the BEST advice and one of the BEST decisions I've ever made in my life.

Pebber knows probably hundreds of musicians who have had similar issues, and he is full of cautionary tales about what can happen when seemingly minor pain goes undiagnosed and untreated. He knows guys who have ruined their entire professional careers, because they did not bother to take the time to address such issues, or because they tried to start playing again way too soon!

Obviously, I am not trying to alarm anyone. I am just advising anyone experiencing recurring pain to please go get it checked out professionally.

On a final note: If for some reason you end up seeing a doctor who immediately starts talking "surgery," I would seriously advise you to seek an alternative treatment. Pebber and I have known guitarists who were diagnosed with something like "carpal tunnel syndrome" and told they must have surgery. Yet, these same guitarists sought alternative solutions and were eventually completely cured WITHOUT having to go under the knife.

Again, I hope my experience helps some of you, and I look forward to reading about your experiences!

STAY HEALTHY! PRACTICE WELL!


Last edited Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:45 am | Scroll up

#2

RE: The Pain Thread! (If you've ever experienced playing-related pain, THIS is for you!)

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:03 pm
by shotimac • 17 Posts

Hi Everyone!!

I am new to guitar (3months) i practice about 3 to 6hrs everyday. Yesterday while practicing, my right hand felt tired and uncomfortable. So i decided to stop and give it a rest. I am really worried because everytime i pinch a PUNCHER with my thumb, index and middle finger and hold the position for about 5to10 seconds, my forearm would start to shake and i feel a little bit of tingling sensation on my wrist. Is there something wrong with my arm? Or its just fatigue? Should i go see a chiropractor? :(
I did the same thing with my left hand and it was okay. I did not feel anything.

Thank you very much!

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#3

RE: The Pain Thread! (If you've ever experienced playing-related pain, THIS is for you!)

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:45 pm
by shotimac • 17 Posts

My RIGHT hand is my PICKING hand.

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#4

RE: The Pain Thread! (If you've ever experienced playing-related pain, THIS is for you!)

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun Feb 07, 2016 12:04 am
by deltadiscos • 301 Posts

Sounds like fatigue rest it and work just your left for a while.
If it still feels wrong after resting seek medical advice. Good luck buddy.


You think you practice enough.......YOU DON'T!............PRACTICE MORE! Darryn U.K
One note can say a million words........It can also take a million notes to say one word
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#5

RE: The Pain Thread! (If you've ever experienced playing-related pain, THIS is for you!)

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:56 pm
by aethermachine • 33 Posts

I had the same type of injury, though it was work related. Numbness and tingling all over my left arm, weakness in that arm, terrible pain in my shoulder and back. Ended up having to get a surgical fusion done, was not fun. To the poster with the shaking forearm, this is most likely fatigue, especially if you are just starting out. You'd be surprised how much physical strength you need to develop in your hands and forearms before you can really grip hard and fret properly for long periods of times. I have a hand exerciser thingy, whatever the hell they are called, its like a spring, wrestlers and lifters use them to strengthen their hands. Don't over do it though, its easy to injure yourself. Like Adam mentioned, if the pain becomes continuous and serious, don't take chances, get some medical advice from a doctor. Pace yourself!

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#6

RE: The Pain Thread! (If you've ever experienced playing-related pain, THIS is for you!)

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Feb 18, 2016 1:02 pm
by MatGeorge • 90 Posts

,,, i know this isnt really "pain" related like a muscle pain,,,, but this cut i got right at the joint of my index (picking hand) finger has totally messed me up... can;t even keep my picking steady for 4 notes per beat.... and playing heavy on thicker strings causes pain after a bit... yeah Toni Iommi can play with his tips cut off.. but im not him .. just hoping this goes away,, this happend a couple months ago too. Quite a piss off after putting in a lot of effort and then just losing so much progress..


Last edited Thu Feb 18, 2016 1:04 pm | Scroll up

#7

RE: The Pain Thread! (If you've ever experienced playing-related pain, THIS is for you!)

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:56 am
by aethermachine • 33 Posts

I know what you mean, I've cut my fingers before and it makes playing impossible until it heals, and the more you play with it the longer it takes to heal! Right now I'm realizing I need some lighter gauge strings for bending, because I've been practicing bending for quite some time now and I have the strength to do it but I constantly tear into my calluses from bending so much, I ordered a few different packs.

I've pretty much always used slinky's, and I tried a pack of those new slinky's with a cobalt alloy, and man those things are ridiculous to bend as I am now figuring out. They do have some amazing tone and sustain, but damn.

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#8

RE: The Pain Thread! (If you've ever experienced playing-related pain, THIS is for you!)

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:29 pm
by Jeffrey • 5 Posts

@shotimac

As with all new things in life we tend to go in head first, overwhelmed by our new found hobby and willing to do it all to get to a descent level we injure and burn out.

The best way to learn something new is to ease into it. An arm not conditioned to play music now has to work for around 3-6 hours and you expect it to be fine? Sure some of us could do it but the majority wont. Fatigue is a good indicator, you overloaded the system now its time to recover and prevent getting an injury which takes longer to heal from.

At minimum cut your practice time in half, split your daily session and dont do them in one sitting and than slowly build up again. Make sure you get a solid stretch on the forearms and working out can do wonders by keeping the body balanced.

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#9

RE: The Pain Thread! (If you've ever experienced playing-related pain, THIS is for you!)

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:27 pm
by Adam • 157 Posts

Hello Everyone! Just a little feedback, based on some of the initial posts, here...

Quote: shotimac wrote in post #2
I am really worried because everytime i pinch a PUNCHER with my thumb, index and middle finger and hold the position for about 5to10 seconds, my forearm would start to shake and i feel a little bit of tingling sensation on my wrist. Is there something wrong with my arm? Or its just fatigue? Should i go see a chiropractor?
First of all shotimac, I sincerely hope you are feeling better, my friend! Secondly: Ergonomics, Ergonomics, Ergonomics! I suggest you check out Pebber's free YouTube video on stretching, and incorporate before and after your practice sessions. When in doubt, SHAKE IT OUT,,,meaning that if you feel any type of tingling, numbness, tightness, just shake it out and relax for a minute, or 2. If symptoms persist, stop playing for the day. If symptoms persist daily, give yourself a break and put the guitar down for at least a week (easier said, than done, yes I know). If symptoms worsen or persist for extended periods of time, then I would suggest checking out a chiro who does acupuncture. No harm in getting a licensed professional to take a look.

Quote: aethermachine wrote in post #5
I had the same type of injury, though it was work related. Numbness and tingling all over my left arm, weakness in that arm, terrible pain in my shoulder and back. Ended up having to get a surgical fusion done, was not fun. To the poster with the shaking forearm, this is most likely fatigue, especially if you are just starting out. You'd be surprised how much physical strength you need to develop in your hands and forearms before you can really grip hard and fret properly for long periods of times. I have a hand exerciser thingy, whatever the hell they are called, its like a spring, wrestlers and lifters use them to strengthen their hands. Don't over do it though, its easy to injure yourself. Like Adam mentioned, if the pain becomes continuous and serious, don't take chances, get some medical advice from a doctor. Pace yourself!
Wow...aethermachine, I think we can all learn something valuable from your post! I also hope that you are doing well and practicing pain free!

Quote: MatGeorge wrote in post #6
this cut i got right at the joint of my index (picking hand) finger has totally messed me up... can;t even keep my picking steady for 4 notes per beat.... and playing heavy on thicker strings causes pain after a bit... Quite a piss off after putting in a lot of effort and then just losing so much progress..
That does sound painful, MatGeorge, but I hope you have healed well! I believe that our friend, aethermachine, in the quote that I am about to post below makes a WONDERFUL point regarding string gauges and types. In the meantime, I empathize with the frustration of "losing progress," but take it from one who speaks from personal experience: NOTHING is worse than trying to come back too quickly, only to have symptoms worsen! Pebber has some excellent cautionary tales about GREAT guitarists (we're talking L.A. session-quality dudes) who have lost it all after trying to come back too quickly. Patience and rest are their own rewards!

Quote: aethermachine wrote in post #7
Right now I'm realizing I need some lighter gauge strings for bending, because I've been practicing bending for quite some time now and I have the strength to do it but I constantly tear into my calluses from bending so much, I ordered a few different packs. I've pretty much always used slinky's, and I tried a pack of those new slinky's with a cobalt alloy, and man those things are ridiculous to bend as I am now figuring out. They do have some amazing tone and sustain, but damn.
EXCELLENT points regarding string gauges & types! Another tool I have in my arsenal of guitar goodies is a product called "Fast Fret." It's a mild lubricant that can work wonders for overall playability and comfort. I'm a huge fan of Slinky's, too!

Well, so far this is turning out to be a VERY beneficial thread. Remember, it is perfectly acceptable (and highly recommended) that we "listen" to our bodies. Rest when needed, and seek out a licensed professional to confirm any lagging doubts or nagging symptoms.

BE GOOD TO YOURSELVES!

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#10

RE: The Pain Thread! (If you've ever experienced playing-related pain, THIS is for you!)

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Apr 06, 2016 12:05 pm
by Farelli • 184 Posts

Coming late to this as I've been away a while.

I have a persistent left shoulder pain that happens from sitting at a desk all day, and also from driving nearly 4 hours a day. (If you're thinking about a desk job, find another way.) I do a lot of yoga and/or exercise and it mostly helps that out.

Be careful with your hands!!!! Guitarists take extra-special care of their guitar, but that is just an instrument which can be replaced. You have only two hands. I do things all the time to keep blood circulation going to my hands. Proper exercise, especially walking, will help this. Without a good cardio-pulmonary system, our healing time from stress is increased. And we can get severe muscle fatigue from practicing the guitar. (A healthy diet will be key, as well.)

About two weeks ago I got a paper cut from a cardboard box on the underside of my last joint on my left hand first finger (barre finger). I started using neosporin daily and covering it with a bandage. With that one I was able to still play, though it was awkward. After 7 days I no longer needed a bandage.

I have also cut a finger on my right hand before, and used it as an opportunity to work on other fingers that I don't normally work.

Hand stretches and exercises are extremely important. We desperately need these appendages, even if we aren't musicians.

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