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(@goodvichunting)
Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 326
Topic starter  

Okay, so to my great surprise, I discovered that typing a lot isn't while playing the guitar is likely to cause carpal tunnel syndrome. I wanna know if you guys worry about it while practicing? Are there any proven ways/excercises to keep this filthy beats away.

I do take breaks between my practice but I wonder if that would be enough.

Latest addition: Cover of "Don't Panic" by Coldplay
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=502670


   
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(@yoyo286)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1681
 

Eh... probably nothings gonna stop that unless you take breaks every minute or so... life is short, so enjoy it by playing guitar! :)

Playing guitar is kind of like sunbathing... you know it might cause cancer(or in this case carpal tunnel) but you do it anyway.

8)

Stairway to Freebird!


   
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(@olive)
Estimable Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 126
 

Good posture is the key. Take a look at these articles for some pointers:

https://www.guitarnoise.com/article.php?id=217
http://www.cyberfret.com/first-fret/left-hand-position/index.php

Also, stretch and warmup before playing. Do simple chromatics up and down the fretboard and strum through a few simple chords.

"My ex-boyfriend can't tell me I've sold out, because he's in a cult, and he's not allowed to talk to me." --Dar Williams


   
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(@paul-donnelly)
Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 1066
 

Use good typing posture as well. Get your keyboard as close as possible to your lap, float your hands so that your wrists don't bend, and try to keep your elbows at 90 degree angles. I find that curling my fingers a little like a pianist helps me keep my wrists straight.


   
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(@quarterfront)
Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 225
 

I've been playing guitar for right at six months. I started on my 40th birthday and practice a lot, generally at least a couple hours a day and often more. During the first couple months I would occasionally get tingles in my thumb, index and middle fingers but nothing that wouldn't go away after a few minutes. Then after playing for about two months, one day I worked for a number of hours on a song that I really wanted to get nailed that had several barre chords (as it happens it was the Guitar Noise lesson on Julia). And it was winter and the house was kind of chilly. And I'd been practicing a lot for a couple days before hand, too, as I was in some down time from work. Next morning I found that if I bent my wrist over just a little my thumb, index and middle would go numb after about 10 seconds. Bad stuff.

I rested for a couple days, thought it was gone, tried to play, boom, three minutes and it's back. Incredible frustration ensued.... A month of my guitar locked in a closet and a lot of Ibuprophen finally cured it.

It wasn't full blown CTS, but it was the light version. Tendonitis in the wrist narrows the carpal tunnel, pinches the nerves causing tingling and numbness and the constriction tends to irritate the tendons, causing the tendonitis to linger. Add to this that tendons aren't the kind of tissue that gets much blood flow, so they don't heal fast and you kind of get the picture - once you get CTS it's hard to get rid of. Worst case scenario, the pinching of the nerves becomes chronic instead of intermittant, the nerves die and you have permanent nerve damage.

Happily, it hasn't come back (knocking wood here) and I'm back to practicing daily and as much as I can. But I've learned a thing or two and what I've learned is pretty obvious.

1) Stretch before practicing.
2) Check your posture. Keep your joints, as much as possible, in the middle of their range.
3) Don't practice the same thing over and over and over again for hours on end.
4) Take breaks.
5) Every few minutes take your hands off the guitar and shake 'em out to stay loose.
6) Learn to feel when you're holding some tension somewhere and figure out how to relax it.
7) If it hurts don't do it - learn to recognize the difference between the kind of discomfort that you have to work through when developing muscles and the kind of pain that's a warning and when you feel even a little warning take a break.
8) For all the little motion you make with your hands you need to make a roughly equal amount of big motion. Guitar playing is all little motion. So get in the habit of rolling your wrists and wriggling your fingers every so often (okay, not so much in public).

Don't let it stop you from playing - nip it in the bud.


   
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(@kingpatzer)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171
 

what most people call CTS isn't.

CTS happens when the median nerve is pinched between underlying tissue and the transverse carpel ligament. While repetative motion is often blamed for CTS in most cases it is not mere repetative motion by itself that is the culprit, but repetative stress combined with some form of general connective tissue disorder and/or an endocrine problem.

IF you have CTS your hand is numb. Not in pain, numb. You have soft tissue compression of a major nerve to your hand. The numbness generally is very troubling, and can wake you up at night. And not your whole hand, either, but your palm, thumb, index, middle and lateral half of the ring finger.

You'll characteristically have a tingling sensation that radiates from the nerve.

The symptomes get markedly worse by wrist flexion.

It's treated with anti-inflammatories and steroids, splinting the wrist and if there is marked weakening of the wrist, surgery.

MOST people complaining about pain from playing the guitar do not have CTS, they have simple tendonitis, usually brought on by failing to warm up properly, playing too long at one sitting before they're used to it, and poor hand positioning on the neck.

For these folks, it's take some ibuprofen 3 times a day and refrain from playing until the pain is gone. Once the pain is gone, make sure that you warm up properly, including stretching the hand, prior to playing, and watch your posture and hand positioning.

All that said, I'm not a physician, and this isn't medical advice :)

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
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(@maxrumble)
Honorable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 441
 

I agree with kingpatzer. I spoke with my doctor about CT because I had a lot of pain in my wrists on day after several hours of barre chord practicing. Luckily I had a medical scheduled otherwise I probably would have self diagnosed. He basically told me the same thing that Kingpatzer wrote.

He also told me that most people are not suseptible to CT and will never develope it, but he still recommeded breaks and stretching.

What I had was tendonitis.

Cheers,

Max


   
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(@goodvichunting)
Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 326
Topic starter  

Thanks for all your informative responses.

Latest addition: Cover of "Don't Panic" by Coldplay
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=502670


   
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(@quarterfront)
Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 225
 

kingpatzer and MaxRumble are right about people mis-self-diagnosing CTS on the basis of pain. People with serious CTS do get really excruciating pain, but like king said, CTS is about the nerve being trapped and when that happens there's numbness; the pain part tends to come later in the game.

One of the standard tests for CTS is to bend your wrist as far forward as it will go (i.e. reach out like for a handshake, then, keeping your forearm stationary, bend your fingers toward your belly). Holding your hand in this position you time how long it takes before your thumb, index and middle fingers start to tingle and go numb.


   
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(@goodvichunting)
Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 326
Topic starter  

http://ergocise.com/wrists.html

Latest addition: Cover of "Don't Panic" by Coldplay
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=502670


   
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